HBO Go to hit Microsoft's Xbox game console April 1

Gaming consoles remain the Gold Standard when it comes to connected devices, some 36.7 million are expected to be in U.S. homes by 2016, and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s latest addition to its stash, HBO Go, should only add to its luster.

During an HBO event in San Francisco, Eric Kessler, co-president of the content provider, said the TV Everywhere play would be available on the popular device in time for the HBO hit Game of Thrones.

The Xbox is the latest in a string of connected devices that have brought HBO content to authenticated users through the online portal. HBO Go is available on devices like Roku boxes, computers and some connected TVs.

Microsoft has gathered an impressive array of OTT programming for its gaming console. Users can access Hulu Plus, Netflix, YouTube, Best Buy's Cinema Now, Epix, ESPN Vudu and Crackle, among other sites.

It also works with Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV and Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Xfinity.

Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO's parent, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), earlier this month urged pay-TV operators to allow subscribers to access HBO Go through connected devices, saying that "by authenticating TV Everywhere with whatever network you like, on all devices and platforms, cable operators would be making the video subscription they sell to consumers even more valuable. They would therefore make it much less likely that a consumer would cut the cord."

NPD In-Stat in January rolled out some research that said 2011 was a banner year for connected devices, and it's likely to just be lighting the candle on a boom that the research company expects to see deliver a compound annual growth rate of 52.6 percent through 2016.

In December, Strategy Analytics said about 8 percent of U.S. households had installed a connected device, a number it expected to double. NPD, meanwhile, said it expects the installed base of connected devices to grow from 256.8 million units in 2011 to 1.34 billion units in 2016. Video game consoles will lead the pack with 36.7 million units in 2016. There's a lot of room left there for Roku, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) TV, connected TVs and a host of other devices that we'll likely be seeing in coming months.

For more:
- see this article
- see this FierceCable article

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