One of the benefits of a cable subscription that includes HBO is access to the HBO GO app. The streaming service lets you watch HBO content on your all of your computers and streaming gadgets. At least that's what most people think. But the country's largest Internet service provider, Comcast, is proving that it can block you from streaming the services you pay for on specific gadgets if it wants.
Just ask any Comcast customer who owns a PlayStation 4. The HBO GO app for PlayStation 4 hit the market earlier this month, but it's useless for Comcast Xfinity subscribers. Because of net neutrality rules, Comcast can't use its position as an Internet service provider to refuse to stream video streaming competitors like HBO GO to its customers. But, it can leverage its position as a cable provider to refuse to authenticate services on specific streaming gadgets.
This means that your cable company determines what online video app you can access on any particular device. Most pay-TV providers authenticate these apps as a matter of course—their customers are paying for service, and accessing these apps is part of the service they're paying for. But not Comcast.