What to Read Next

HBO Shows Will Soon Stream on Amazon, in Blow to Netflix

Jason O. Gilbert
Technology Editor
April 23, 2014
HBO Shows Will Soon Stream on Amazon, in Blow to Netflix

Soon you’ll be able to get Tony Soprano with one click.

In a surprise move on Wednesday morning, Amazon announced that it had acquired the rights to stream HBO shows like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under as part of its Amazon Prime Instant Video subscription service, a huge acquisition in its ongoing battle against Netflix.

The agreement will make HBO shows available to stream to non-HBO subscribers for the first time ever. 

Netflix has long coveted the rights to HBO shows, with CEO Reed Hastings proclaiming in 2011 that the one show he’d love to have on Netflix is The Wire. Since then, Hastings has all but declared open war on HBO, saying that his company’s goal is “to become HBO faster than HBO can become” Netflix. 

Amazon, and Jeff Bezos, are now making HBO a little more like Netflix: The Wire, Deadwood, Rome, Flight of the Conchords, and other shows will be available in their entirety on Amazon Prime Instant Video, for your binge-watching pleasure. Newer shows, like True Detective and Girls, will be available three years after airing. If you want to keep current on those shows, you still have to pay for HBO on cable. 

You can view a full rundown of the deal here, in Amazon’s official announcement. According to Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman, HBO shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City, and Entourage are not part of the agreement due to syndication deals. Game of Thrones is also not included, as it is too valuable to the network, per Peter Kafka at tech site Re/code

Amazon Prime Instant Video works similar to Netflix: Subscribers to Amazon Prime, the popular delivery service, get Amazon Instant Video for free as part of their $99/year membership. That gives you access to the Prime Instant streaming library, where you can watch as many select programs as you want, as many times as you want, for no additional cost. Recently, Amazon has been ramping up its content selection, adding several big studios and commissioning original shows, just like Netflix has with House of Cards.

HBO shows will begin to appear on Amazon Prime Instant Video on May 21. 

Follow me on Twitter here or email me here