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AppleTV and HBO (no)GO

Last night, I finally got the opportunity to try HBO GO on my iOS5 iPad2. It didn’t go so well…

Running HBO GO on previous versions of iOS’s Airplay gave you just the sound when trying to view your shows, streaming from the iPad to the AppleTV. It was a disappointment because it was one of the selling points of the AppleTV, as far as I was concerned. My idea was to subscribe to HBO, install HBO GO (giving me legitimate access to the HBO catalog of content), and then stream the shows from my iPad to the TV. I pay for the content so how could that not work? Right?

We waited for a while last night, as AppleTV updated to the new OS. I fired up HBO GO when the update was complete and got a message stating that the “HDMI converter was invalid”. For those of you used to dealing with content providers who hate providing their content to people who pay them for it, you are probably already aware this is code for “we don’t allow this.”

Thanks HBO. Here’s a question for you: don’t you realize this type of content “protection” only makes it harder for legitimate users to use your stuff? If you allow people to use your content (which they pay for) on all of their devices (which they pay for), they’ll be less apt to steal it via bittorrent and other means.

Meanwhile, the pirates are streaming your shows to their PS3s, their hacked AppleTVs, their XBMC boxes and can watch it in high quality, on demand, day or night. It’s users like me, who are trying to play by the rules, who are out in the cold.