T-Mobile just took the cover off of its latest Uncarrier initiative, Binge On, which will allow customers who pay for at least 3GB of data to stream Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, HBO Now, Sling, and other popular video streaming services without it counting against monthly data usage.
If that sounds a bit crazy, then we’re right there with you. T-Mobile has done similar things with music streaming already, but video is a whole different animal altogether.
But unsurprisingly, there is one small catch. T-Mobile will essentially cap the maximum quality of the video streams participating in its plan through what it calls “optimization”. Basically, it’s reducing the amount of bandwidth used for videos, which will result in at least some quality degradation for most modern smartphones.
HBO on Thursday pushed out an update for its HBO Now streaming app, bringing the iOS client to version 1.3. The update is a significant one for folks running iOS 9, particularly those with a late-model iPad, as it adds compatibility with some of the new software’s features.
The most important of those features is Picture in Picture, which allows [newer] iPad owners to watch videos in a small, standalone window while using other apps. Additionally, the update adds support for Spotlight Search, as well as various other bug fixes and improvements.
HBO pushed out an update for its NOW mobile app this morning, brining the iOS client to version 1.2. According to the change log, the release includes performance improvements, and support for push notifications and Chromecast devices.
That latter item is by far the most significant, given that HBO’s streaming service has been exclusive to Apple TV since it launched in April. Now, those with Google’s $30 HDMI dongle can enjoy HBO NOW content on their big screen TVs.
Alongside Tuesday’s launch of HBO’s new standalone streaming service, HBO Now, Fast Company published a wide-ranging interview with the network’s chief executive Richard Plepler. The piece offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Now came about, and more interesting to us, how Apple got involved.
As Plepler tells it, HBO had been working on a streaming service for a few years, with plans to launch in 2016. But due to increasing competition from Netflix, and a looming takeover bid from media mogul Rubert Murdoch, they decided to speed up the timetable. So he gave his old friend Jimmy Iovine a call.
As previously announced at Apple’s March 9 media event, HBO’s online-only subscription services has just launched on Apple’s $69 set-top box, the iPhone, iPad and on the web ahead of the series premiere of its hit show Game of Thrones on April 12.
The video subscription service will be available exclusively on the Apple TV and the iOS platform for a limited time. A free 30-day trial is available if you sign up in April, after which watching HBO NOW will set you back $14.99 each month.