HBO to let subscribers download TV shows, movies

Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:46am EST
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By Gina Keating

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc pay TV channel HBO will launch a service on Tuesday to let subscribers download movies and television shows over the Web, joining a crowded market for video on the Internet.

The service, HBO on Broadband, will make its debut with a much larger library than its cable-based on-demand service in a stab at satisfying increasingly mobile and choosy viewers.

It will roll out to Time Warner Cable high-speed Internet customers in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a free add-on to HBO and HBO on Demand, HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson said.

The company has no timeline for when it will be available to all U.S. subscribers, Cusson said.

HBO is entering movie downloads as older services that sell movies on the Web are reassessing their business models.

Apple Inc this month added online movie rental to its iTunes store to bolster movie sales, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which launched a movie download site in 2007 to great fanfare, quietly shut it last month for lack of sales.

But DVD rental company Netflix Inc offers customers unlimited viewing of movies online as part of its subscriptions, in a move to keep customers loyal.

HBO has positioned its site as a way to keep subscribers who watch more content online, just as it gave more flexibility to time-shifting viewers with the creation in 2000 of HBO on Demand.   Continued...

<p>Cast members Robert Iler, Michael Imperioli, Steve Schirripa, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler (L-R) arrive for the premiere of the 6th season of the HBO hit TV series "The Sopranos" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York March 7, 2006. REUTERS/Robert Caplin</p>