HBO: Coming to a Fordham Dorm Near You


Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer poses on the HBO red carpet. (via Flickr)


Fordham’s TV-watching residents got a sweet surprise this academic year. Last November, residents received an email stating that, through a special promotion, the previously premium HBO cable add-on package would now be provided for free on all dorm TVs in both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center residence halls. Students were informed that their televisions could now tune into the HBO, HBO 2, HBO Signature, and HBO Family channels.

However, there are some downsides to the promotion: first, that it is only temporary, with free access to the channels ending at the end of the academic year. Second, unlike subscribing to HBO from a typical residence, HBO packages at Fordham do not come with a free subscription to the network’s online streaming service, HBO GO.

That last missing feature may just be the downfall of this promotion. In the last 5 years, “cutting the cord”, or foregoing cable in favor of streaming subscription services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, has become a popular trend amongst millennials; The New York Times recently reported that nearly one fifth of young adults have completely cut the cord. And while Fordham residents are not able to opt out of paying for cable (at best, they can just not bring a TV to school and ignore that extra fine in their room and board bill), chances are most prefer to binge-watch their favorite new show from the comfort of their own beds.

Another problem with the promotion? Bad timing. As of right now, none of the network’s biggest shows is in season: comedies like “Veep” and “Girls” do not premiere until late February. HBO’s most popular show, “Game of Thrones” (which has set international records in illegal downloads) does not premiere until April. Even the network’s weekly comedy news show, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” is on hiatus until later this month. So even students who are HBO fans, like  Elana Burk, FCLC’17, do not feel the need to watch the network on their dorm TVs. Burk, who became a fan of “Game of Thrones” in high school, has used an HBO Go account to keep up with the show in college but has found it frustrating to do so because of unreliable wi-fi. And while she has not tuned in to HBO on the dorm TVs just yet, she believes she will for the upcoming season six premiere. “I’ll probably start using [the channels] when the shows I watch come back…‘Game of Thrones’ is a show that deserves to be seen on the big screen,” she said.

A student who has been watching HBO on her dorm TV is Chelsea Landman, FCLC ‘16. Landman is a communications intern at the PBS children’s program “Sesame Street”, which is now produced in partnership with HBO. Landman enjoys keeping up with the episodes she has worked on when they air on the network Saturday mornings, saying “It’s fun to watch episodes where I was on set when they filmed.” But for fellow Fordham residents looking for a fun childhood throwback marathon now that the dorm TVs get HBO, Landman warns that things might not look the same as they did 18 years ago: “the season you’re seeing on HBO right now is very different, because of the new set…[for example], The Grouch still has his trash can, but he also has a compost bin, and a recycle bin.”

But for fans of HBO’s more adult content, the network itself has not had much to offer outside of the movies that it airs. For Mackenzie Harte, FCLC ‘17, that might have been enough ––had he known about the promotion in the first place. “Now that you mention it I think I remember hearing something about it,” he said when asked about the new TV feature. “But, yeah, I didn’t know about it.” After musing on this new information, Harte’s final thoughts seem to sum up the majority of residents’ feelings on the promotion quite well: “I hope to [watch HBO shows when they premiere in the Spring]…I think it’s a good bonus. I wish they would offer it again next year.”