Comcast and Time Warner are close to finalizing a deal to make the HBO Go app available on Xbox, according to several people familiar with the negotiations.
The app, which offers all of the pay cable channel’s shows, movies, and documentaries, will be available to Comcast’s 22.3 million Xfinity subscribers via the Xbox as early as this week, said the people, who were not authorized to discuss the deal publicly.
Netflix’s founder and chief executive, Reed Hastings, drew attention to the void last week when he posted on Facebook “I want my HBO Go.” He added: “When I try to use HBO Go on my Xbox or on my Roku, I find that Comcast is blocking HBO Go.”
Shows on HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, are already available on the Xbox via Comcast’s Xfinity app. But the HBO Go app provides an entire library of shows, movies, comedies and boxing with a splashy HBO branded interface that allows users to flip through images that seamlessly float against a black background.
The majority of HBO Go viewers use the app to watch shows on tablets andcomputers, but a growing number choose to get the on-demand service directly on an Internet-enabled television through a console like Xbox.
“I’m paying you a lot of money for HBO,” Mr. Hastings wrote. “So please let me watch HBO Go on my TV.”
The criticism was partly related to Comcast’s decision to exempt programming streamed via its own Xfinity app on the Xbox from the subscribers’ broadband Internet cap, a benefit not afforded to outside streaming apps like Netflix. (The cable company says it complies with federal rules for an open Internet.)
Lately, Mr. Hastings has emphasized that he wants Netflix to compete directly with HBO as it treads deeper into developing original shows.
A New York Post story compared Hastings’s Facebook rant to “the streaming-video equivalent of a Coca-Cola executive saying they want a Pepsi.” ‘