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HBO Goes Cellular With Cingular

HBO has become the latest network to throw its confidence behind viewers’ desire to watch television programming on cellphone screens. The pay-cable network will put clips from its series, specials and sports programming on a new on-demand streaming video service being launched early next year by Cingular Wireless for high-speed phones.
HBO will also produce exclusive mobile content for the service from Cingular, the only wireless provider HBO will work with.

Cingular Video, a customizable service with news, sports, weather and entertainment content for 3G phones, will carry two HBO-branded services, HBO Mobile and HBO Family Mobile. The former will carry select episodes, scenes and bonus material from HBO series, comedy specials and boxing, as well as additional content created for cellphones. The latter will carry educational entertainment content including HBO Family shows Crashbox and Frog Blues.

As part of its new service, Cingular will expand its offering of ringtones, graphics, messaging and games to include HBO content. Starting Dec. 15, customers of the service can read messages about The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm; download ringtones from The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Rome, Deadwood and Six Feet Under; get graphics from episodes of those shows, as well as Curb and Entourage; and play games such as trivia from The Sopranos and a magic eight ball from Sex and the City.

Lest parents be skittish about their kids dialing up language only appropriate for pay cable, Cingular recently launched a parental-control feature which can be used to block inappropriate purchases. Cingular reaches 52.3 million U.S. subscribers.