When we reviewed Amazon’s first foray into the set-top box market way back in April, we noted that its Fire TV would benefit from more apps, HBO Go chief among them. Today, Amazon announced that the premium cable-channel’s service is finally available on that platform, and it's temporarily cutting its price tag to celebrate.
“Since launch we’ve increased the number of services available on Amazon Fire TV by more than 4x,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President Amazon Devices in a press release. “We’re thrilled to add HBO GO, the most requested service, to Fire TV in time for the holidays.”
Amazon is marking the announcement by reducing the Fire TV’s selling price to $79, a $20 reduction that will last through December 28.
The move won't come immediately for those in the cheap seats though. Those who purchased Amazon’s less-expensive Fire TV Stick will have to wait until this spring before they can stream HBO hits such as Game of Thrones, True Detective, and Girls.
Why this matters: Amazon’s streaming devices have been generally well received (here’s our review of the Fire TV Stick), but we’ve had the strong impression that Amazon overly favors its Prime Video subscription service at the expense of other offerings.
HBO Go is of considerable interest to the cord-cutter crowd, and it’s been available on the competing Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku for some time.
In finally making it available on its own streaming devices, Amazon wisely included voice-recognition support. So if you’re looking for one of HBO’s more obscure offerings—the weird sketch comedy Little Britain, USA, for instance—you won’t have to tap out the letters on the remote to find it.
I suspect the reason Amazon is delaying HBO Go support on the Fire TV Stick until the spring is that it can’t fill any orders for that product until at least the first of the year, and there's no incentive to push services for a product it can't sell. The company seems to have done a poor job of anticipating demand for the less-expensive streamer and sold its entire inventory shortly after the product began shipping.