HBO Drops Support for Older Apple TVs

By Chand Bellur

April 8, 2020 at 8:52 p.m. PDT

  • HBO was an early adopter of Apple’s television platform, Apple TV.
  • Both HBO NOW and HBO GO Apple TV channels launched several years ago.
  • Older Apple TV devices don’t support tvOS and can’t run apps.
  • HBO will stop supporting older Apple TV devices incapable of running tvOS.

HBO’s Early Partnership with Apple

Apple TV first debuted over a decade ago. More of a DVR than a streaming device, the first generation Apple TV was way ahead of its time.

As streaming prevailed, Apple pivoted to simple, inexpensive devices with limited storage. Instead of tvOS, second and third-generation Apple TVs ran a minimal operating system without an App Store. Independent developers couldn’t distribute apps. Apple managed this process carefully with its partners.

HBO partnered with Apple shortly after the second-generation device launched. In 2011, Apple collaborated with HBO to launch the HBO GO Apple TV channel. Although the service required a cable subscription, it was a step in the right direction. Offering on-demand access to virtually all HBO content, the service provided hours of entertainment to premium cable subscribers.

2015 saw HBO embark on a bold move. They enabled HBO fans to finally cut the cord and subscribe to the premium channel without a cable subscription. Both first and second-generation Apple TV models featured HBO NOW.

HBO Ending Support for Older Apple TVs

Obsolescence is a core truth of technology. Shiny new devices eventually become useless garbage. Although second and third-generation Apple TVs still have some use, the absence of HBO NOW and HBO GO signal their ultimate demise.

Today, HBO rang the death knell for second and third-generation Apple TVs. Coming April 30, both HBO NOW and HBO GO will no longer be available on older Apple TV models.

HBO contends that discontinuing support for older Apple TV models will improve streaming for all customers:

“In order to provide the best streaming experience, we need to make some changes to our supported devices list. Starting on April 30, 2020, HBO NOW will no longer be available on the Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation).”

The move will also simplify development efforts for HBO. The company will no longer have to support software development for older Apple TVs.

Beam HBO NOW and HBO GO to Older Apple TVs

Older Apple TVs still have some use. AirPlay is Apple’s long-standing media-beaming technology. It enables Apple devices to beam content to speakers, audio receivers, Apple TVs and other devices.

If you have an older Apple TV, you can still watch HBO NOW and HBO GO on the big screen. Just use AirPlay to beam content onto Apple TV. HBO’s website offers complete information on using AirPlay.

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