Amazon has reached an agreement with HBO to allow Amazon?s Prime Instant Video service to stream original HBO content. According to Gigaom, ?This is the first time that HBO has included its shows in an outside subscription streaming service.? ?The agreement lets Amazon stream all episodes of classic series such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood and Six Feet Under. Amazon will also have access to past seasons of some of HBO?s current series along with many HBO original movies, mini-series, comedy specials and other programming.

This announcement is most significant since it?s the first time HBO has opened its vaults to an outside company. For Amazon, it?s an extra perk for its Amazon Prime customers.?

Amazon will not have access to popular current shows such as Game of Thrones, or at least the most recent seasons of the current shows. Entertainment Weekly estimates that, ?On average, the deal covers content that is at least three years old.? This deal doesn?t affect HBO?s popular HBO Go app, which will still give users access to a vast trove of HBO shows, movies, specials and documentaries.

Forbes reports that HBO only offered the library to Amazon, not Netflix. One reason may be that Amazon, unlike Netflix, has its own set-top box, the brand new Amazon Fire TV. You can expect to see the HBO Go app pop up on Amazon Fire TV in the future. A second reason is that, while Amazon is producing its own original series, HBO sees Netflix as a more direct threat.?

Pat Welsh