Tuesday, March 11, 2014

HBO Go crashes under 'True Detective' finale load

As with anything going on in real-time involving servers, there was always a risk that HBO's "True Detective" finale, which aired Sunday, would crash its HBO Go servers. It did, as the network admitted via Twitter on Sunday.

The post said:
Due to overwhelmingly popular demand for #TrueDetective, we've been made aware of an issue affecting some users. Please try again soon.
HBO Go, for those unaware, is an app that lets customers stream video to their smartphones, tablets and computers. It is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and through browsers on your desktop systems.

With no video to watch on their connected devices, folks went to Twitter to laugh and cry about the matter.

Michael Schaffer @michaelschaffer tweeted: "On the plus side, the HBO go outage is helping family togetherness, as people all over call their parents to see if they changed a password."

That is, of course, a good question. Passwords for these sorts of things are often shared between friends and family, and its unclear how many per account were logging in. Netflix, for example, has a plan that allows only four people to stream at once. HBO, though, doesn't care about people sharing their Go password.

In mid-January, HBO CEO Richard Plepler said:
It’s not that we’re unmindful of it, it just has no impact on the business. [It is, in many ways, a] terrific marketing vehicle for the next generation of viewers.
HBO Go requires the viewer to be a subscriber via an HBO cable or satellite service. To use it, you need to login with your cable or satellite provider credentials, in fact. Many have questioned whether HBO would unbundle HBO Go from requiring a cable subscription, particularly given the above password sharing.

However, Plepler said:
HBO Go is value added -- what you want to watch. Right now, that’s the right model for us. Are we always thinking about optionality, of course we are always thinking about optionality ... if the arithmetic changes and made sense in a different way we are not going to be caught without the ability to pivot.

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