6. HBO Go Outage Could Have Many Causes
Is it too Tinfoil Hat of me to assume the HBO Go crash was a subtle reminder that HBO would rather you be watching their shows on cable?
— Matt Jordan (@ItsMattJordan) March 10, 2014
Many people trying to access HBO Go tonight are wondering just what exactly has gone wrong on HBO’s end of things. From a technical standpoint, there are many reasons for a streaming video server to become unresponsive. HBO hasn’t revealed many details related to this outage, yet.
However, we do know the causes of some notable streaming video crashes in recent history. In the past, Netflix outages have been caused by accidental data deletion.
After a particularly bad outage in 2012, Netflix posted an interesting technical breakdown of the problem on their blog. It reads, in part:
“Netflix streaming was impacted on Christmas Eve 2012 by problems in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) service that routes network traffic to the Netflix services supporting streaming…
Netflix uses hundreds of ELBs. Each one supports a distinct service or a different version of a service and provides a network address that your Web browser or streaming device calls. Netflix streaming has been implemented on over a thousand different streaming devices over the last few years, and groups of similar devices tend to depend on specific ELBs. Requests from devices are passed by the ELB to the individual servers that run the many parts of the Netflix application. Out of hundreds of ELBs in use by Netflix, a handful failed, losing their ability to pass requests to the servers behind them. None of the other AWS services failed, so our applications continued to respond normally whenever the requests were able to get through.”
UPDATE: The Wire sheds a bit of light on HBO’s situation with “True Detective”:
“The infrastructure that allows HBO GO to function is not HBO’s own. The streaming service, and associated operations like customer service and billing—even authenticating logins—is handled by cable companies like Time Warner and Optimum. So if you’re really mad about the outage, it’s probably not worth writing an angry missive to HBO. You might just want to yell at your cable company. Again. For, like, the thousandth time.”
7. Full Number of Affected HBO Go Users Unknown
HBO GO crashed because of True Detective… I blame The Yellow King and Corcosa.
— Razzle (@MyNameisRazzle2) March 10, 2014
The Hollywood Reporter notes that “True Detective” averages around 10.9 million viewers, so it’s not inconceivable that millions of people have been unable to watch the finale using HBO Go.
Since so many people share HBO Go passwords, it is hard to estimate how many people tried to watch the show online and failed. If social media activity is any indicator, however, it is likely that there are a very large number of angry fans out there.
The Daily Beast has some notes on what percentage of HBO subscribers watch “True Detective”:
“According to the media research and analysis firm SNL Kagan, HBO has a total of approximately 28.7 million subscribers—though the network doesn’t release these statistics—which means that about 38 percent of overall HBO subscribers consume True Detective.”
8. ‘True Detective’ Spoilers Are Out There
I love the variety of error messages HBO Go is giving me the last 15 minutes.
— Nathan Frey (@freyna5) March 10, 2014
Unfortunately for many “True Detective” fans, the HBO Go outage didn’t affect all users. Many HBO Go fans have experienced no problems with the streaming service.
The outage also didn’t prevent social media users and bloggers from talking openly about the finale. As many “True Detective” fans took to Twitter and Facebook to try and discover when the HBO Go outage would end, they inadvertently stumbled upon major spoilers for the finale.
These spoilers, combined with the HBO Go outage, might sour some TV fan’s impressions of the final episode.
9. HBO Go Just Came to Playstation a Few Days Ago
— GameSpot (@gamespot) March 4, 2014
As the tweet above shows, HBO Go launched on the PS3 just a few days ago. It is possible this extra load contributed to the HBO Go crash.
Then again, Comcast customers can’t access HBO Go through the PS3, according to the Verge, so perhaps the new HBO Go channel didn’t contribute that much to the overload.
10. The HBO Go Outage Is a Good Thing
— Jay McCormick (@Jay_M_McCormick) March 10, 2014
While it may be frustrating for “True Detective” fans, this HBO Go outage is likely going to be a good thing for the show. Blogs and social media will be talking about the outage and the “True Detective” finale all day tomorrow, which basically means lots of free press for the show.
All that buzz is likely to intrigue some people who haven’t watched a single episode of “True Detective” to finally start watching the show. Being the “first show to break HBO Go” is kind of a great marketing tagline.
Moreover, all of the social media backlash is likely to prompt HBO to make upgrades to their servers and streaming system, which will ultimately mean a better viewing experience for fans.
Can’t access HBO GO, and need to know what happened in the finale? Click here to read our recap and review.