File:2000px-HBO logo.svg.png

Home Box Office (HBO) is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by Time Warner through its respective flagship company Home Box Office, Inc. Programming featured on the network consists primarily of theatrically released motion pictures and original television series, along with made-for-cable movies and documentaries, boxing matches, and occasional stand-up comedy and concert specials.

HBO is the oldest and longest continuously operating pay television service (basic or premium) in the United States, having been in operation since November 8, 1972. In 2016, HBO had an adjusted operating income of US$1.93 billion, compared to the US$1.88 billion it accrued in 2015.[3] HBO has 49 million subscribers in the United States and 130 million worldwide as of 2016.[4][5] The network provides seven 24-hour multiplex channels, including HBO Comedy, HBO Latino, HBO Signature, and HBO Family. It launched the streaming service HBO Now in April 2015 and has over 2 million subscribers in the United States as of February 2017.


As of July 2015, HBO's programming is available to approximately 36,493,000 households with at least one television set (31.3% of all cable, satellite and telco customers) in the United States (36,013,000 subscribers or 30.9% of all households with pay television service receive at least HBO's primary channel),[7] making it the second largest premium channel in the United States (Encore, owned by Starz Inc., reaches 40.54 million pay television households as of July 2015[7][8]). In addition to its U.S. subscriber base, HBO distributes content in at least 151 countries,[9] with approximately 130 million subscribers worldwide.[5]

HBO subscribers generally pay for an extra tier of service that includes other cable- and satellite-exclusive channels even before paying for the channel itself (though HBO often prices all of its channels together in a single package). However, a law imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that cable providers allow subscribers to get just "limited" basic cable (a base programming tier that includes local, and in some areas, out-of-market broadcast stations and public, educational, and government access channels) and premium services such as HBO, without subscribing to expanded service (Comcast is the only major provider to have purposefully offered the network in such a manner utilizing this law, as it offered a bundled cable/Internet package that included limited basic service and HBO from October 2013 to July 2014, or January of the latter year in some markets).[10][11][12] Cable providers can require the use of a converter box – usually digital – in order to receive HBO.

HBO also provides its content through digital media; the channel maintains HBO Go, a video on demand streaming service available as a website and slate of mobile apps exclusively to existing subscribers of the linear channel suite and a separate, but similar standalone service, HBO Now, which launched in April 2015 as a subscription streaming platform that does not require a subscription to the HBO television service.[13][14]

Many HBO programs have been syndicated to other networks and broadcast television stations (usually after some editing for running time and/or content that indecency regulations enforced by jurisdictional telecommunications agencies or self-imposed by network Standards and Practices departments may prohibit from airing on broadcast and cable networks), and a number of HBO-produced series and films have been released on DVD. Since HBO's more successful series (most notably shows such as Sex and the City, The Sopranos, The Wire, Entourage, Six Feet Under, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and True Blood) air on over-the-air broadcasters in other countries (such as in Canada, Australia and much of Europe – including the United Kingdom), HBO's programming has the potential of being exposed to a higher percentage of the population of those countries compared to the United States.

Because of the cost of HBO (which is the most expensive of the U.S. premium services, costing a monthly fee as of 2015 between $15 and $20 depending on the provider), many Americans only view HBO programs through DVDs or in basic cable or broadcast syndication – months or even years after these programs have first aired on the network – and with editing for both content and to allow advertising, although several series have filmed alternate "clean" scenes intended for syndication runs.[15]

History Edit

Development and launch Edit In 1965, Charles Dolan – who had already done pioneering work in the commercial use of cables and had developed Teleguide, a closed-circuit tourist information television system distributed to hotels in the New York metropolitan area – won a franchise to build a cable television system in the Lower Manhattan section of New York City.[16] The new system, which Dolan named "Sterling Information Services" (later to be known as Sterling Manhattan Cable, and eventually becoming the then Time Warner Cable which merged into Charter Communications in 2016), became the first urban underground cable television system in the United States.[citation needed]

Rather than stringing cable on telephone poles or using microwave antennas to receive the signals, Sterling laid cable beneath the streets. This was partly because the tall buildings in the city blocked television signals and partly because the New York City Council had required that all electrical and telecommunication wiring be laid underground to limit service disruptions during bad weather, an ordinance that was passed after a blizzard in 1888 damaged telephone and telegraph lines in the area.[17] In that same year,[when?] Time-Life, Inc. purchased a 20% stake in Dolan's company.[18][19]

Sterling Manhattan consistently lost money during its first six years of operation, because of the expense of running cable underground and into buildings throughout Manhattan (as much as $300,000 per mile) and a limited subscriber base, 400 of them by 1971. In the summer of 1971, while on a family vacation in France, Charles Dolan began to think of ideas to make Sterling Manhattan profitable. He came up with the concept for a cable-originated television service, called "The Green Channel." Dolan later presented his idea to Time-Life management; though satellite distribution seemed only a distant possibility at the time, he persuaded Time-Life to back him on the project.[17]

To gauge whether consumers would be interested in subscribing to a pay television service, Time-Life sent out a direct-mail research brochure to residents in six U.S. cities. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed (approximately 99%) opposed the idea; 4% of those polled in a second survey, conducted by an independent consultant, said they were "almost certain" to subscribe to such a service. Time-Life later conducted a test in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in which salesmen presented the concept of a pay cable channel to residents by offering free service for the first month and a refundable installation fee; half of residents surveyed in the test expressed interest in purchasing the conceptual service.[17] In a meeting of Dolan and some Time-Life executives who were working on the project, various other names were discussed for the new service. They ultimately settled on calling it "Home Box Office," although the name was originally intended as a working title in order to meet deadlines to publish research brochures for the new service, with the belief that management would come up with a different name later.[17]

Original HBO logo, used from 1972 to 1975. Originally, Home Box Office was to debut on a Service Electric cable television system in Allentown; in order to avoid blackouts for NBA games that it was set to televise (Allentown was within the NBA's designated blackout radius for the Philadelphia 76ers' market area, under rules that the league had in effect at the time to protect ticket sales), Time-Life agreed to an offer by Service Electric president John Walson to launch the channel on its system in Wilkes-Barre (outside of the 76ers' DMA, in northeastern Pennsylvania).[17] Home Box Office launched on November 8, 1972.[20] However, HBO's launch came without fanfare in the press, as it was not covered by any local or national media outlets. In addition, the city manager of Wilkes-Barre declined an offer to attend the launch ceremony, while Time Inc. president and chief executive officer J. Richard Munro was unable to attend as he was stranded in traffic while trying to exit Manhattan on the George Washington Bridge on his way to Wilkes-Barre.[21]

The first program and movie distributed on the channel, the 1971 film Sometimes a Great Notion, starring Paul Newman and Henry Fonda, was transmitted that evening to 325 Service Electric subscribers in Wilkes-Barre (a plaque commemorating this event is located at Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre). Home Box Office distributed its first sports event immediately after the film: an NHL hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks from Madison Square Garden.[22][23] Four months later in February 1973, Home Box Office aired its first television special, the Pennsylvania Polka Festival.[24] Home Box Office would use a network of microwave relay towers to distribute its programming to cable systems throughout its service area.[22][25][26]

Sterling Manhattan Cable continued to lose money because the company had only a small subscriber base of 20,000 customers in Manhattan. Dolan's media partner, Time-Life, Inc., gained control of Sterling when it acquired an additional 60% equity interest, increasing its stake in the company to 80%; Time-Life then decided to close the Sterling Manhattan operation. Time-Life dropped the "Sterling" name and the company was renamed "Manhattan Cable Television" under Time-Life's control in March 1973.[16] Gerald Levin, who had been with Home Box Office since it began operations as its vice president of programming, replaced Dolan as the company's president and chief executive officer.[27]

In September 1973, Time-Life, Inc. completed its acquisition of the pay service. At the time, Home Box Office's future looked dim: it only had 8,000 subscribers across 14 cable systems, all of which were located in Pennsylvania,[21] and it was suffering from a significant subscriber churn rate. HBO would eventually increase its fortunes within two years: by April 1975, the service had around 100,000 subscribers in Pennsylvania and New York state, and had begun to turn a limited profit.[21]

National expansion, innovation and rise to prominence (1975–1993) Edit

The RCA Satcom domestic communication satellite launched on December 13, 1975, spurred the cable television industry to unprecedented heights – with the assistance of HBO. Time-Life executives realized the problems in trying to expand Home Box Office's distribution footprint using microwave towers because of the time and expense that would be incurred in developing such a vast relay infrastructure, and began looking for cost-efficient methods of transmitting the channel nationally. In 1974, they settled on using a geostationary communications satellite to transmit HBO to cable providers throughout the United States. Other television broadcasters at the time were hesitant about uplinking their feeds to satellite due to fears that the satellites may inadvertently shut down or jettison out of their orbit, as well as due to the cost of purchasing downlink receiver dishes, which in 1974, were sold for as much as $75,000. Seeing satellite transmission as the only viable option to expand HBO's reach, Gerald Levin allocated $6.5 million to lease transponder space on the Westar 1 satellite for a five-year term.[21] The Time-Life board subsequently approved the plan to transmit HBO via satellite.[27]

At 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on September 30, 1975, HBO became the first television network to continuously deliver its signal via satellite (as opposed to microwave relay, the industry norm at the time) when it distributed the "Thrilla in Manila" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier; it was beamed to UA Columbia Cablevision's systems in Fort Pierce and Vero Beach, Florida, and American Television and Communications Corporation's Jackson, Mississippi system,[28] as well as those already carrying HBO in the northeastern United States.[21][25][29] Through the use of satellite, the channel began transmitting separate programming feeds for the Eastern and Pacific Time Zones, allowing the same programs that air first in the eastern half of the United States to air at accordant times in the western part of the country.[30] HBO switched its domestic satellite transmissions from Westar 1 to Satcom 1 in February 1976. By 1977, Ted Turner's Atlanta superstation WTCG-TV (soon to become WTBS) and Pat Robertson's CBN Satellite Service (later to become the present-day Freeform) had joined it, pioneering satellite delivery for the cable television industry.[25][31] By 1980, HBO was carried on cable providers in all 50 U.S. states.[21]

First version of HBO's current logo, used from 1975 to 1981; during 1980, HBO used this logo in tandem with the second incarnation of the logo (seen above, in the Infobox) that is still used to this day. HBO distributed its programming for only nine hours each day, from 3:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time, during its first nine years of operation. The network first adopted a 24-hour schedule on weekends in September 1981, running from 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoons until 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday nights/early Monday mornings;[32] this round-the-clock schedule was expanded to weekdays three months later on December 28, 1981 (however, HBO was not the first pay television network to maintain an uninterrupted programming schedule as Showtime and The Movie Channel had both switched to 24-hour daily schedules months earlier). By this time, the full "Home Box Office" name was de-emphasized by the network, in favor of branding solely by the "HBO" initialism (although the full name is still used as the legal corporate name of its parent division under Time Warner,[33] and in on-air use within copyright tags featured during the closing credits of the channel's original programs and a legal disclaimer slide seen daily on its primary and multiplex channels).[citation needed]

In 1983, HBO premiered its first original movie, The Terry Fox Story, a biopic about the Canadian runner who embarked on a cross-country run across Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer research; the film was also the first movie ever produced for pay television. That year also saw the premiere of the first children's program to be distributed on the channel: Fraggle Rock (that series' creator, Jim Henson, had earlier produced the special Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, which won an ACE Award in 1978[24]). HBO continued to air various original programs aimed at children until 2001, when these programs almost completely moved over to HBO Family (which continued to occasionally distribute its own slate of original children's programming until 2003).[34]

HBO became involved in several lawsuits during the 1980s, involving legal statutes imposed by state and city laws that would have resulted in some programs on HBO and other pay television networks being censored by cable systems, if not forcing the pay services to edit inappropriate content from the programming they aired. In January 1986, HBO became the first satellite-delivered television network to encrypt its signal from unauthorized viewing by way of the Videocipher II system; this initially resulted in a mass lodge of complaints from television receive-only (TVRO) satellite users that previously received HBO's programming without a subscription.[30] The objections by TVRO users over having to now pay for HBO as cable subscribers had long done (requiring dish subscribers to purchase an expensive descrambler to unencrypt the signal) came to a head four months later, as HBO became a victim of broadcast signal intrusion when satellite television dealer John R. MacDougall, a Florida man calling himself "Captain Midnight", redirected a receiver dish towards the network's transponder on Galaxy 1 and intercepted its signal during a movie presentation of The Falcon and the Snowman; MacDougall overrode the telecast of the film with a text-based message placed over SMPTE color bars in protest of the channel's decision to scramble its signal for home satellite subscribers. The Federal Communications Commission subsequently prosecuted MacDougall for committing the intrusion.

In 1988, HBO's subscriber base expanded greatly as a result of the Writers Guild of America strike that year, as the channel had new programming in its inventory during a period in which the broadcast networks were only able to air reruns of their shows. In 1989, HBO compared its programming against rival pay television network Showtime, with the slogan "Simply the Best", using the Tina Turner single "The Best" as part of the network's on-air image campaign.[35]

On January 2, 1989, HBO launched Selecciones en Español de HBO y Cinemax ("Spanish Selections from HBO and Cinemax") – an alternate Spanish-language feed of HBO and Cinemax. The service, which initially launched on 20 cable systems in markets with significant populations of Spanish speakers,[36] originally only carried Spanish audio simulcasts of live boxing matches televised by HBO (except for certain events that were already distributed in Spanish on networks such as Galavisión), dubbed versions of recent feature film releases from HBO's movie suppliers and first-run Spanish-language movies (mostly from Mexico, Argentina and Spain), but later added Spanish dubs of films and other programs distributed by HBO. Selecciones – which was offered in tandem with HBO, although it operated as a separate service – utilized the second audio program auxiliary channel to distribute its Spanish audio feeds. Selecciones en Español de HBO y Cinemax became successful to the point that it added 35 additional cable systems to its list of carriers within a few weeks after its debut.[36] Selecciones en Español became HBO en Español on September 27, 1993.[37]

Taking advantage of HBO's successes, Warner Communications (which ironically was part-owner of one of the network's pay-cable competitors, The Movie Channel, from its launch in 1973 until joint venture group Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment sold its stake in the channel to Viacom in 1986) merged with HBO parent Time Inc. in 1989 to create Time Warner, which as of 2016, remains the parent company of the network.[38] In 1991, HBO and Cinemax became the first premium services to offer multiplexed channels to cable customers with the launches of HBO2, HBO3 and Cinemax 2 on three cable systems in Wisconsin, Kansas and Texas.[39] In 1993, HBO became the world's first digitally transmitted television service.[40] The move proved successful, eventually resulting in HBO and Cinemax starting up additional multiplex channels of both services – starting with the December 1996 launch of HBO Family and concluding with the launch of four Cinemax channels in 2001: WMax (now MovieMax), @Max (now Cinemáx), OuterMax and 5StarMax.

Rising prominence of original programming (1993–present) Edit

HBO headquarters in New York City, April 2017 During the 1990s, HBO began to experience increasing success with its original series such as Tales from the Crypt, Dream On, Tracey Takes On..., Mr. Show with Bob and David and Arliss. One such program, The Larry Sanders Show, arguably became HBO's flagship series during that decade and although it was not commercially as successful as programs that aired on the Big Three networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) and Fox, the show did enjoy a cult status and critical acclaim, and received nominations and wins for many major television awards (including Primetime Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards).[41] The series ranked #38 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time (becoming the only HBO comedy series to make the list)[42] and was also included in Time's list of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time".[43] The Larry Sanders Show was also ranked by various critics and fans as one of the best TV comedies of the 1990s.[44]

The original programs that HBO has developed since the early 1990s have earned the channel numerous nominations for and wins of Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.[45] One aspect as to the perceived higher quality of these shows is due to both the quality of the writing on the programs and the fact that as a subscription-only service, HBO does not carry "normal" commercials; instead the network runs promotions for upcoming HBO programs and behind-the-scenes featurettes between programs. This relieves HBO from some pressures to tone down controversial aspects of its programs, and allows for more explicit content to be incorporated into its shows that would not be allowed to air on broadcast television or basic cable, such as profanity, strong/graphic violence, nudity and graphic sex scenes.

Beginning with the 1997 launch of its first one-hour dramatic narrative series Oz, HBO started a trend that became commonplace with premium cable services. Although critically acclaimed, it was not until The Sopranos premiered in 1999, that the network achieved both mass critical and Emmy success. The Sopranos – centering on mob patriarch Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his family – received 111 Emmy nominations during its six-season run, resulting in 21 wins, two of them for Outstanding Drama Series.

1998 saw the debut of From the Earth to the Moon, a 12-part miniseries that was produced by Tom Hanks, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and based on the Andrew Chaikin book A Man on the Moon. Costing $68 million to produce, it traced the U.S. space program from the U.S./U.S.S.R. space race through the final moon landing, Apollo 17. From the Earth to the Moon won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries, and helped spur other HBO miniseries based on historical events such as 61*, Band of Brothers, John Adams and The Pacific. That year also saw the debut of the comedy series Sex and the City, which was based on the book series of the same name by Candace Bushnell; over the course of its six-season run, the show – centering on the friendship and romances of four New York City women[46] – received 54 Emmy nominations, winning seven, including one win for Outstanding Comedy Series.

In 1999, HBO became the first U.S. cable channel to operate a high-definition simulcast feed.[47] In July 2001, HBO launched HBO on Demand, the first premium subscription video-on-demand enhancement in the United States, to Time Warner Cable subscribers in Columbia, South Carolina.[48]

In 2001, HBO debuted Six Feet Under and in 2002 The Wire, which, although not surpassing The Sopranos in viewership success, matched its critical acclaim and further cemented HBO's reputation as a network that produced quality programming.[citation needed] HBO experienced another success among viewers in 2008, with the debut of True Blood, a vampire drama based on a series of gothic novels by Charlaine Harris. The network saw three more hit series in the 2010s with Game of Thrones, based on George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, which earned both critical and viewer praise; Girls, a comedy series created by series star Lena Dunham; and True Detective, an anthology-style series – structured to feature a different cast and setting within each season's storyline – which initially saw established film actors Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in its lead roles.[49]

On October 22, 2016, AT&T reached a deal to buy Time Warner for $108.7 billion. If approved by federal regulators, the merger would bring Time Warner's properties, including HBO, under the same umbrella as AT&T's telecommunication holdings, including satellite provider DirecTV.[54][55] On February 15, 2017, Time Warner shareholders approved the merger,[56] which is still pending regulatory approval. On February 28, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that his agency will not review the deal, leaving the review to the US Department of Justice.[57] On March 15, 2017, the merger, which is still pending approval from U.S. regulators, was approved by the European Commission.[58] On August 22, 2017, the merger was approved by Mexican authorities.[59] On September 5, 2017, the merger was approved by Chilean authorities.[60] US is the last country needed for its approval as Brazil approved the merger.[61] On October 23, 2017, the deadline was extended for a short period of time to finalize the deal. The original deadline was on Oct. 22.[62]

On August 17, 2017, HBO, HBO Now, and the Game of Thrones' social media accounts got hacked by OurMine. The hacker group also had access to scripts for HBO shows.[63]

Channels Edit

Background Edit In 1991, HBO and Cinemax became the first premium services to offer multiplexed services to cable customers as companions to the main network, offering additional channels of the two services to three TeleCable-operated systems in Overland Park, Kansas, Racine, Wisconsin and the Dallas suburbs of Richardson and Plano, Texas.[64] The first two multiplex channels – HBO2 and HBO3 – launched as part of this test by the TeleCable systems. The following year, research from ACNielsen revealed that multiplex delivery of HBO and Cinemax had a positive impact on subscriber usage and attitudes, including aiding in the retention of pay cable subscriptions by its subscribers.[65]

The HBO multiplex would later expand in December 1996, with the launch of HBO Family, focusing on family-oriented feature films and television series aimed at younger children.[66] The HBO multiplex channels became collectively marketed under the brand name "HBO The Works" in April 1998 (the Cinemax channels concurrently began to be marketed as "MultiMax"), coinciding with the name change of HBO2 as HBO Plus (the channel would ultimately restore the HBO2 name in September 2002), and the rebranding and format change of HBO3 as HBO Signature (a network aimed at women). In May 1999, two more channels launched: HBO Comedy (featuring comedic films and series, along with stand-up comedy specials) and HBO Zone (a network aimed at young adults).[67] Just over a year later in October 2000, the Spanish language network HBO Latino debuted, featuring a mix of dubbed simulcasts of the main HBO channel's programming and Spanish programs that are exclusive to the channel.

"HBO The Works" continued in use as the brand for the HBO multiplex until 2004. Individually, the HBO multiplex channel suite has no "official" marketed name as of 2016, although HBO and Cinemax's respective multiplex packages are marketed collectively as the "HBO/MAX Pak".[68] HBO Family and HBO Latino had the distinction of being the only multiplex channels of HBO that have their own websites, as all of the others were integrated within the main HBO site; the separate sites and sections for both channels were eliminated in 2010, around the time the HBO Go service was launched.

List of channels Depending on the service provider, HBO provides up to thirteen multiplex channels – seven 24-hour multiplex channels, all of which are simulcast in both standard definition and high definition – as well as a subscription video-on-demand service (HBO On Demand). Off-the-air maintenance periods of a half-hour up to two hours occur during overnight periods at scattered times on each channel once each month.

HBO broadcasts its primary and multiplex channels on both Eastern and Pacific Time Zone schedules. The respective coastal feeds of each channel are usually packaged together (though most cable providers only offer the east and west coast feeds of the main HBO channel, as well as HBO2 in some cases), resulting in the difference in local airtimes for a particular movie or program between two geographic locations being three hours at most. The premium film service Cinemax, which is also owned by Time Warner through Home Box Office Inc., operates as a separate service from HBO; although HBO is very frequently sold together in a package with Cinemax, subscribers to one of the services do not necessarily have to subscribe to the other.

Channel Description and programming
The flagship service; HBO airs popular feature films; first-run films; original series and made-for-cable movies; boxing events; sports, stand-up comedy and occasional concert specials; and documentaries. The channel also typically debuts new movies on a weekly basis – with feature films debuting on HBO within a lag of between eight months to one year on average from their initial theatrical release – on Saturday nights (usually around 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time; the Pacific Time Zone broadcast of the premiered film airs later in the evening when a live special – most commonly, a telecast of HBO World Championship Boxing or HBO Boxing After Dark – is scheduled to air that particular Saturday, with the special being shown after the movie on the Eastern Time Zone feed). The main HBO channel mainly airs R-rated films only after 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, but does air certain TV-MA rated programs during the daytime hours.
A secondary channel that features a separate schedule of theatrical and original made-for-cable movies, series and specials, as well as same-week rebroadcasts of newer films, boxing events and episodes of HBO original series aired recently on the primary channel. Unlike the main HBO channel, HBO2 broadcasts R-rated films during the daytime hours. Launched on August 1, 1991, the channel was renamed HBO Plus on April 1, 1998, but reverted to the original "HBO2" name in September 2002. In Latin America, a regional version of HBO2 rebroadcasts movies previously aired on the main HBO Latin America channel, and HBO Plus functions as a separate channel.
HBO Comedy
Launched on May 6, 1999,[1] HBO Comedy features comedic films, as well as rebroadcasts of HBO's original comedy series and stand-up specials; the channel broadcasts R-rated films during the daytime hours, but only airs adult comedy specials at night.
HBO Family
Launched in December 1996,[2] HBO Family (also as Kids Preschool) is a preschool network of the HBO lineup aimed at children, as well as feature films intended for a broader family audience. It airs a block of series aimed at preschoolers, "HBO Family Jam", each morning from 6:00 to 11:00 a.m. and weekday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time; films and family-oriented original specials fill out the remainder of the channel's daily schedule.[3][4] All films broadcast on HBO Family are rated G, PG or PG-13 (or the equivalent TV-G, TV-PG or TV-14); R-rated films and TV-MA rated programs are not broadcast on the channel. Prior to El Perro y El Gato’s migration of first-run episodes to the channel in January 2023, children's programs formerly ran on the main HBO channel in the form of a daily morning block, with specials airing during the late afternoon/early evening hours; these programs migrated entirely to HBO Family by the early 2000s.

HBO Family is HBO's third (and only successful) venture at a family-oriented pay service: two similarly formatted standalone mini-pay services that were launched by the network, Take 2 in 1979 and Festival in 1987, both ceased operations after short existences. Despite being a premium service, cable providers have occasionally used HBO Family to temporarily replace television stations that were dropped due to carriage disputes with providers such as during Hearst Television's 2012 dispute with Time Warner Cable that resulted in TWC's associated Bright House Networks system substituting independent station WMOR-TV with the channel in Tampa, Florida,[5] and a dispute between Cox Communications and LIN TV in which HBO Family temporarily replaced Fox affiliate WVBT from Cox's Hampton Roads, Virginia system from January to February 2000.[6]

HBO Latino
Launched on October 31, 2000 (although originally slated to debut on September 18 of that year),[7] HBO Latino is a channel aimed at Hispanic and Latino American audiences that largely serves as a Spanish language simulcast of the primary HBO channel, with the exception of some limited program substitutions and different network promotions featured in-between programs (HBO and its other multiplex channels also utilize the second audio program function included on many television sets, and cable and satellite receivers to provide alternate Spanish language audio tracks of most programs). The channel's programming includes HBO original productions, Spanish and Portuguese series from HBO Latin America, dubbed versions of Hollywood blockbusters, Spanish-language films and boxing events (including the original boxing series Boxeo De Oro). The channel is the successor to HBO en Español (originally named Selecciones en Español de HBO y Cinemax), which launched in 1989.
HBO Signature
HBO Signature features high quality films, HBO original series and specials. Launched in 1991, the channel was originally known as "HBO 3" until October 1998, when its format was changed from a genericized format similar to HBO and HBO2 to focusing on movies, series and specials targeted at a female audience.[8]
HBO Zone
Launched on May 6, 1999,[1] HBO Zone airs movies and HBO original programs aimed at young adults between the ages of 18 to 34 years old. It is also the only HBO channel that broadcasts softcore pornographic programming, featuring adult-oriented movies similar to those seen on sister network Cinemax's Max After Dark block on most days in late-night.


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