HBO GO, Boardwalk Empire

HBO to bring HBO Go to PS3, PS4; password sharing is officially OK

Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 will soon add the HBO Go app, allowing their users access to the digital world of HBO content.

HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced that HBO and PlayStation have partnered to offer the popular HBO GO app—at least according to Sony, which noted Plepler’s plans on its PlayStation blog.

Sony said that the app would first arrive on the PlayStation 3, then the PlayStation 4. But when? There’s no indication whether it will be weeks, months, or days.

“Keep checking back here for more updates on when the HBO GO app will be available to download on PS3 and PS4,” said Phil Rosenberg, the enigmatic senior vice president of business development for Sony Computer Entertainment America, in the post.

Want to share passwords? It’s cool

HBO’s Go app is available to the more than 30 million HBO subscribers within the United States as a free bonus. As long as you (or someone you know) subscribes to the service, users then have free access to the stable of HBO series and programming, as well as a rotating lineup of movies. The leeway HBO affords its digital customers has led to covert (and not so covert) sharing of passwords, enough that it’s gone mainstream: once CollegeHumor satirizes it or The New York Times covers it, you know it’s generally accepted.

And just for the record: HBO doesn’t care.

“It’s not that we’re unmindful of it, it just has no impact on the business,” HBO chief executive Richard Plepler told BuzzFeed. It is, he said, a “terrific marketing vehicle for the next generation of viewers.”

“We’re in the business of creating addicts,” he said.

How it works

So how to go about doing it? As the Consumerist points out, sharing your username and password usually means sharing the same username and password you use for your cable or satellite subscription, which allows HBO to check up on you without managing the subscription information itself.

But handing out that information also imposes a level of trust on those who share the information. One way around this many be to create a “dummy” account attached to the cable subscription, in much the same way some credit-card providers can create “throwaway’ account numbers for one-time transactions.

Nevertheless, HBO still doesn’t appear ready to bring a la carte HBO to the United States, as it has done in some Nordic countries. Until then, your best strategies are either mooching off your family, threatening to leave your cable or satellite provider unless they give you free HBO or Showtime, or simply putting in an hour or two at the local burger joint to fund the subscription.

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