PlayStation 3 Customer Support

Comcast vanReutersHBO subscribers can now use their PlayStation 4s to access HBO Go — but not if you’re a Comcast customer.

According to TechDirt, Comcast is refusing to grant this connection between the PlayStation 4 and the HBO Go app, even though every other internet service provider — including Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and AT&T — allows it.

As TechDirt points out, HBO Go falls under the “TV Everywhere” initiative, where cable and broadband providers let you access most cable content online, so long as you’re a cable customer. Like most other content that falls under this initiative, HBO Go requires you quickly authenticate your cable account before you can access the content, which you’ve already paid for, on another internet-connected device like an Apple TV or Roku.

But, even though HBO Go has been available on PlayStation 3 for over a year — and now it’s available on PlayStation 4, as of this week — Comcast customers still can’t activate the app on those platforms. Here’s Comcast’s explanation for why it takes them so long to set up this simple authentication system:

Comcast vanWith every new website, device or player we authenticate, we need to work through technical integration and customer service which takes time and resources. Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize as we partner with various players.

And here’s TechDirt’s likely explanation for why this is happening to Sony:

Since every other ISP (including AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable) didn't have a problem supporting the app, you have to assume Comcast specifically isn't getting something from Sony or HBO it would like (read: enough money to make them feel comfortable about potentially cannibalizing traditional TV/HBO viewers). Comcast's basically using the TV Anywhere authentication mechanism - as opposed to outright blocking or throttling - to prohibit its customers from accessing content in a way Comcast doesn't approve of.

We’ve reached out to Comcast and the FCC for comment, and we’ll update this story when we learn more.

In its complaint, Roku argued that companies like Comcast should be disallowed “from favoring certain content and platforms over others through the use of discriminatory authentication, ” since those distributors “may agree to authenticate an app on some platforms but not others, or discourage consumers from using third-party over-the-top IP applications in the first place by requiring third-party providers to unlock multiple apps individually.”

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