HBO Live Stream HD
As of July 2015, HBO’s programming is available to approximately 36,493,000 households with at least one television set (31.3% of all cable, satellite and telco customers) in the United States (36,013,000 subscribers or 30.9% of all households with pay television service receive at least HBO’s primary channel), making it the second largest premium channel in the United States (Encore, owned by Starz Inc., reaches 40.54 million pay television households as of July 2015). In addition to its U.S. subscriber base, HBO distributes content in at least 151 countries, with approximately 140 million subscribers worldwide.
HBO subscribers generally pay for an extra tier of service that includes other cable- and satellite-exclusive channels even before paying for the channel itself (though HBO often prices all of its channels together in a single package). However, a regulation imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that cable providers allow subscribers to get just “limited” basic cable (a base programming tier that includes local, and in some areas, out-of-market broadcast stations and public, educational, and government access channels) and premium services such as HBO, without subscribing to expanded service (Comcast is the only major provider to have purposefully offered the network in such a manner utilizing this law, as it offered a bundled cable/Internet package that included limited basic service and HBO from October 2013 to July 2014, or January of the latter year in some markets). Cable providers can require the use of a converter box—usually digital—in order to receive HBO.
HBO also provides its content through digital media; the channel maintains HBO Go, a video on demand streaming service available as a website and slate of mobile apps exclusively to existing subscribers of the linear channel suite and a separate, but similar standalone service, HBO Now, which launched in April 2015 as a subscription streaming platform that does not require a subscription to the HBO television service.
HBO also maintains near-ubiquitous distribution in hotels across the United States through agreements with DirecTV, Echostar, SONIFI Solutions, Satellite Management Services, Inc., Telerent Leasing Corporation, Total Media Concepts and World Cinema as well as cable providers that maintain hospitality service arrangements with individual hotels and local franchises of national hotel/motel chains; although Home Box Office Inc. does not keep tallies of national hotel distribution numbers, LodgeNet (now SONIFI Solutions) estimated in 2008 that HBO was available to 98% of all hotels that at least receive cable or satellite service via the content and connectivity solutions company. Since June 2018, through a content partnership with Enseo, HBO Go is also distributed to some Marriott International hotels around the U.S.; guests staying in Marriott hotels that have access to HBO Go on connected in-room TV sets are not required to sign into the system in order to access content.
Many HBO programs have been syndicated to other networks and broadcast television stations (usually after some editing for running time and/or content that indecency regulations enforced by jurisdictional telecommunications agencies or self-imposed by network Standards and Practices departments may prohibit from airing on broadcast and cable networks), and a number of HBO-produced series and films have been released on DVD. Since HBO’s more successful series (most notably shows such as Sex and the City, The Sopranos, The Wire, Entourage, Six Feet Under, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and True Blood) air on over-the-air broadcasters in other countries (such as in Canada, Australia and much of Europe—including the United Kingdom), HBO’s programming has the potential of being exposed to a higher percentage of the population of those countries compared to the United States.
Because of the cost of HBO (which is the most expensive of the U.S. premium services, costing a monthly fee as of 2015 between $15 and $20 depending on the provider), many Americans only view HBO programs through DVDs or in basic cable or broadcast syndication—months or even years after these programs have first aired on the network—and with editing for both content and to allow advertising, although several series have filmed alternate “clean” scenes intended for syndication runs.