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Reply from HBO (missing episodes)

Bronze Problem Solver

Reply from HBO (missing episodes)

Regarding currently missing Sopranos episodes, I saw the reply indicating that for X1 boxes, my suggestion does not work. As I said in the initial thread, I suspect it works for non-X1, but with some inconvenience.

I sent an email to today. I basically asked for their take on HBO episodes expiring on Comcast. Granted, HBO Go is what one gets free (as the Internet access backstop) from buying HBO and HBO On Demand via the Comcast cable boxes, but contacting HBO Go is the closest thing advertised. HBO Now is not tied to cable subscriptions so that isn’t the right contact.

HBO Go claims in its web info that all subscribers are entitled to watch every episode of every series, so I asked for their comment on expiration of episodes via cable box. I.e., does that not contradict their policy?

I will share their reply.
Bronze Problem Solver

Email reply from HBO RE: missing episodes

I got a prompt reply from HBO regarding missing episodes. Here it is. Between the lines...


Thank you for
contacting HBO GO Customer Support. I'd be happy to shed some light
on your inquiry about available content.

Yes, as
advertised, HBO GO contains every episode of every season of your
best HBO hit shows. This includes True Blood and Sopranos. By
accessing the HBO GO service, there should be no content missing
from it.

It's important
to remember that I am speaking about the HBO GO streaming service,
which is a free, complimentary service that comes with your paid
HBO subscription through Xfinity. I am not speaking about HBO On
Demand, which you receive from Xfinity.

Every TV
provider has different On Demand service, which they manage. Every
TV provider manages their own On Demand, and that includes Xfinity.
It is their choice whether certain content is available on their On
Demand, and HBO does not manage it.

Therefore, any
question about program availability on the On Demand service can
only be taken up with the individual providers, in your case,
Xfinity. However, the HBO GO service, which is managed by HBO, will
always have all of the Seasons and Episodes of HBO's current hit
series, and this does include the two programs you mentioned in
your e-mail.

If you have
any other questions or concerns, please let us know. We're
available 24/7 to help.


Notice that HBO just said that it is Comcast’s decision to not have particular episodes available, not HBO’s decision (!). This is the opposite of Comcast’s answer, which is that HBO has applied an expiration.

Meanwhile, we users don’t know who is right, or to which party to ultimately appeal. That said, one wouldn’t necessarily assume that this HBO rep understands all details on how Xfinity gets HBO content, to further “manage” it.
Frequent Visitor

Re: Email reply from HBO RE: missing episodes

Every xfinity agent I've talked to has blamed HBO. Interesting.  btw, in order to use HBOGO on my laptop (which is what I use to stream because it's the only device that has an HDMI jack), I have to go through xfinity's website, where they still have a "buy" only option. I'm not satisfied ony being able to view episodes on my phone. I'm contacting xfinity tomorrow and getting to a retention agent, because none of the ground level phone agents knows what's going on. Many of them have actually never heard of the Sopranos. One told me that new episodes will be available three days after they air. I had to kindly tell him the show hasn't aired in 11 years. So, I'm going to call in, say I'm cancelling, get to a retention agent and ask them straight up what the deal is. I'll notify them of your email response from HBO, too. Thank you for sharing. 

Bronze Problem Solver

Re: Email reply from HBO RE: missing episodes

rob916372 - I sent a follow-up to HBO yesterday, asking a few more questions about episode expirations. Hoping to get more from their perspective. Watch this space, hopefully more info to come.
Bronze Problem Solver

Re: Email reply from HBO RE: missing episodes

I had a couple more go-arounds with HBO GO. They didn’t really answer my more pointed questions, nor did they forward those questions to other HBO departments. But I have a few things to pass on from the exercise. Been thinking the past 36 hours how to feed it back. Here goes...


ONE - whenever we see missing episodes from premium network shows, HBO says we need to contact Comcast:

“Again, we appreciate your interest and encourage you to reach out directly to Comcast for any feedback on their website pages and information.”

Vague. But see below...


TWO - It sounds like missing episodes can be due to Comcast not keeping up licensing agreements with the premium channel providers. I’m reading between the lines, only Comcast would know for sure. Here’s what HBO said:

“Some movies or
series may no longer be available on HBO from time to time, as you have noticed. Programming is only available for a limited time due
to licensing agreements with programming providers and this can vary from movies to series and even seasons within a
series. If you feel any missing video is in error, please don't hesitate to reach out to your tv provider or here with us at HBO so that we can further investigate. We'd be glad to check out any issue on a
one-by-one basis as there may be different reasons for unavailable programming.”

OK, so it doesn’t hurt to contact both HBO and Comcast. Might not be licensing. So it’s still an ‘unknown’ to us users when we see episode omissions. They don’t say if it is normal to only see portions of a season. Seems odd to only license some episodes of any given season or to have different licensing expirations for a season.

== > Regardless, it doesn’t sound right for Comcast to answer queries on missing Premium episodes by saying, “sorry it’s expired”. Comcast *can* perhaps validly say that but they should follow-up without further user prompting, or so it seems to me.


Now to end this leaf: On my non-X1 system, I see new items for Sopranos seasons 2 and 3, presumably representing the recently reported missing episodes. They have the same expiration date as the episodes that had already been in place. So did Comcast have to renew licensing? Or is it something else? Maybe we no longer care. Missing episodes remain from the Season 1 listings.

Ditto for Starz’ Camelot series, just to cite another example of missing premium episodes. For either TV or Xfinity app listings, one sees episodes 1/2/3/8/9, missing 4/5/6/7/10. Is this failure to renew a licensing agreement, or something else?

I used to work a software project where we had tons of 3rd party vendor software and thus vast levels of licenses and different flavors of licensing agreements. Had a full-time department of 5 or 6 people to manage those affairs. It can be error-prone and things did occasionally go wrong. So it wouldn’t shock me to learn that occasional problems are due to licensing.

Comcast can no doubt shed further interesting and helpful light on this topic. I leave everyone with this Comcast web link, that raises questions on what the definition of a ‘limit’ is in the context of subscribing to HBO via Comcast:
Frequent Visitor

Re: Email reply from HBO RE: missing episodes

Now  X-1 is offering the same episodes that they're charging for for free through the Amazon Prime App on X-1, which it looks like they've just integrated into the app portal. Now I wonder if Amazon is behind this. Still unable to view for free for Xfinity/HBO customers. 


All episodes do seem to be free on the HBO GO app for Xfinity/HBO customers, however. 


This is stil frustrating. As you've said, both HBO and Xfinity promise "full access" in their ads. It's flat out false advertisement. 

Frequent Visitor

Re: Email reply from HBO RE: missing episodes

Looks like they put all of the season 2 eps and beyond back, but some season 1 eps still buy only. 

Frequent Visitor

Re: Reply from HBO (missing episodes)

Now all of season 1's back, except Pax Soprana, Down Neck, and Boca. Probably just an integration process. An annoying one at that. 

Bronze Problem Solver

Re: Reply from HBO (missing episodes)

Which are episodes 6/7/9 of Sopranos season 1. Those now appear.

Doesn’t sound like a licensing issue. Every time anyone has reported missing episodes from premium channel series, they eventually get restored. So that makes the problem something else. Since Comcast’s web page for HBO says access is unlimited, it seems most likely that there is laxity here on Comcast’s part. Comcast should let customers know what expiration dates for premium channels signify. If they represent soneone’s decision to allow changing promotional material (typically before episode starts) by some date, Comcast needs to do something proactive to try to avoid episode interruptions. After all, policy for premium channels is just different than policy for standard tier channels. I said this same thing differently several weeks back and was told I was muddle-headed, but it seems so obviously to be closer to being sane-headed.

P.S. Starz’ Camelot is still missing a bunch of episodes tho.
Frequent Visitor

Re: Reply from HBO (missing episodes)

All sopranos are back up. Just checked. What's weird is one of their twitter agents told me the episodes were just no longer available, and told me if I didn't like it I could cancel. What a sales pro. Lucky for then the phone agent told me otherwise. Half the employees there don't have a clue
Bronze Problem Solver

Re: Reply from HBO (missing episodes)

rob916372 - I always find it amazing to hear you and others report that Comcast authorities will essentially tell paying premium channel customers ‘tough luck, dude’ in regard to missing episodes. One wonders how many customers Comcast has lost as a result.

It will be fascinating to see who else provides On Demand once cell phone 5G becomes available in a couple years. It’s going to be much more important that Comcast’s On Demand be more reliable if they want to be competive with new On Demand services over 5G.