While it was initially announced in March 2011, customers have been dutifully waiting for HBO to release its popular HBO GO app for Samsung connected devices including its Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. Samsung announced the availability of HBO GO on select models of its Smart TVs via its Google+ page this evening. The app first became available in the Samsung TV app store yesterday, February 15th. It’s still unclear which particular Smart TVs are supported but I’ll assume the 2011 models are included. As I learn more specifics on the Smart TV models and when it’s coming to Blu-ray players, I will update this story (updated below!). When HBO announced in September 2011 that they were going to launch on the Roku first, there were some doubts about the Samsung version of the app coming at all. However at the time, HBO assured us it was still coming.
While select high-end Samsung Smart TVs (and other connected devices) have been able to access HBO GO via their Flash-enabled web-browsers, it was a sub-par experience. As an app, HBO GO is easier to navigate and also offers 720P HD video (at least on the Roku and confirmed on the Samsung now too). In addition, HBO announced this past January that Dolby Digital Plus is also coming to the service but they have not provided any dates as of yet. Stay tuned.
Update: From HBO’s support site: HBO GO is supported on all Roku devices plus Samsung 2010 and 2011 Smart TVs with the exception of the following 2011 TV models: PN51D6450DF, PN59D6450DF, PN51D6500DF, PN59D6500DF, PN51D6900DF, PN59D6900DF, PN51D7000FF, PN59D7000FF, PN64D7000FF, UN32D5550RF, and UN40D5550RF (Thanks @rjcc for sharing). Also, some cable providers don’t or won’t support HBO Go on the Roku or Samsung HDTVs. The cable system that support it include AT&T U-Verse TV, Bend Broadband, Blue Ridge Communications, Charter, Cox, DirectTV (not on Roku!), DISH Network, Massillon Cable/CPI, RCN, Suddenlink, Verizon FiOS and WOW! There’s still a few significant hold outs such as Time Warner cable but Cablevision should be supporting it soon.
Update 2: Word from HBO is that HBO and Samsung decided together not to launch the app on the specific skus above since they didn’t provide the “best viewing experience” (maybe those skus didn’t have enough processing power?). HBO is still “evaluating” and working on adding the HBO GO app to select Samsung Blu-ray players this year. Finally, the Samsung HBO GO app will stream in Dolby Digital Plus.