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HBO in Hotel Rooms: A Fundamental Human Right

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Think Pieces | June 24, 2015 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Think Pieces | June 24, 2015 |

I went to a conference for several days last week, which is one of the wonderful things about my particular day job. A lot of people loathe conferences, but me? I get to go spend several days in a decent hotel, in the middle of a downtown I’ve never been to before, talking until all hours of the night with people from all over the world who are passionate about exactly the same things I am. Plus it’s an excuse to wear a suit, and I love to wear a suit.

But the hotel this time was tragically short of HBO. Lousy coffee is fine. Inexplicable clockwork mechanisms for showers, I get. The bland burger that is the standby of three-fourths of hotel bars? Sure, used to it. But no HBO? Like 95% of the value of a hotel room is the free HBO. And no, it wasn’t one of that fraction of hotels that tries to sneak Showtime by you and pretend it’s the same thing.

Staying in a hotel is synonymous with free HBO, even in the worst hotel rooms in this great nation. And you don’t realize just how true that is until you’re forced to do without, like some peasant of a forgotten age, toiling in muddy fields with nothing but networks to watch, as if you’re in your own home or something equally mundane.

Elizabeth Gilbert should write a novel about my suffering.

But Netflix? You’re piling up the new shows, adding both the critical acclaim and the subscriber base to back it. But there’s that one final frontier that you must span. You must conquer the great American hotel room, that last bastion of HBO supremacy.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.