Another brick in the paywall of HBO television series fell today, giving more people access to shows like "Game of Thrones" and "True Blood" — even if you don't have HBO or any cable TV subscription. The seven most popular HBO series are now available for individual a la carte purchase on Google Play, with individual shows available for $1.99 or $2.99 per episode, and full seasons ranging in price from $14.99 to $28.99.
These are not the very latest episodes — for instance, you won't find last night's brand new "Boardwalk Empire" episode available for download. The shows available on Google Play are one season behind the current or most recent season for each show. This is all stuff that's already been released on DVD. But it marks another significant baby step for cable TV networks making their premium shows available to cord-cutters and folks who no longer subscribe to cable TV.
The news that HBO shows are available on Google Play was announced in a Google Play tweet Monday morning. "@HBO is now on Google Play US," the tweet read, "Watch Game of Thrones, True Blood & The Newsroom today, with many more coming soon."
The HBO shows currently available on Google Play are "Game of Thrones," "True Blood," "Boardwalk Empire," "The Newsroom," "Veep," "Girls" and "The Wire."
So apparently "East Bound and Down" episodes are not f***-ing out on Google Play as of yet.
It is true that these same HBO series episodes are also available for individual purchase on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video, at the same prices. To be perfectly honest, I did not realize that until this morning.
Still, none of these HBO shows are available on Netflix. The only HBO original content available on Netflix are some old George Carlin comedy specials. HBO is determined to compete against Netflix with their online streaming offering HBOGo, which requires a cable subscription to access.
All three platforms on which these HBO series are available for one-off purchase — iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Instant Video — episodes are $1.99 for 30-minute shows like "Veep" and "Girls," and $2.99 for episodes of hour-long shows like "Game of Thrones" and "True Blood." Full seasons of the half-hour shows are $18.99, full seasons of the hour-long shows are $28.99. In each case, buyers can purchase the HD versions for $1 more per episode.
Unfortunately, though, these HBO shows are only available to download in the US. International viewers operate on different series release and availability schedules.