HBO puts shows on cell phones
The new service is announced at the latest PTC convention
Home Box Office has launched a new service with S.K. Telecom in Korea that allows viewers to watch full-length episodes of previously-aired HBO productions on their cell phones, taking the mobile-video concept to another level and offering a preview of what's coming to the United States.
Stanley Fertig, senior vice president of HBO International, introduced the idea to members of the Pacific Telecommunications Council at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa yesterday.
About 1,000 people from 60 countries have converged for the meeting, which runs through tomorrow.
Now in its 29th year in Honolulu, the conference brings together representatives from companies with interests in telecommunications, undersea cables, satellites, Internet protocol and media.
About 75 presidents and CEOs registered, along with 500 senior vice presidents. Many conduct business before and after the conference.
For the new service in Korea, viewers pay a flat rate of approximately $2 per month to select from a library of HBO shows (no feature films yet), which are available just as they aired, with legible subtitles and chapters for quick return to a particular place.
"You should, as a consumer, be able to watch whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want," said Fertig. "We feel we're on the right track for providing mobile television on Web phones, and we feel very strongly that it has to be on demand, and we have to make it as easy and seamless as possible."
Examples include "Sex and the City" and "Six Feet Under," which are both out of production. There's no limit on the number of times a viewer can watch an episode.
While this service has not yet reached the United States, Fertig said that Cingular already offers some HBO content. There's an "Entourage" rooftop golf game, text message updates from the "Sopranos," as well as screensavers and popular scenes from other shows.
So what does this mean for the future?
"Look at the iPhone," he said. "It already has a bigger screen. Where your phone stops and where your TV screen starts may not be so clear."