HBO's biggest problem with Thrones piracy is video quality? Really?

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Apr 1, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

The piracy debate surrounding Game of Thrones continues, and now HBO has chimed in on what has become one of the most widely pirated shows on the ‘net.

Their take? It’s bad, yeah, but one of their biggest concerns is that the show will look crummy when illegally downloaded or ripped. Huh?

As you might remember, Thrones director David Petrarca made waves a few months ago by saying all the piracy helped build some buzz for the series, and now an HBO rep has opened up about a very interesting angle when it comes to illegally downloading content.

Usually, it’s not in the highest definition, and HBO programming president Michael Lombardo says he worries the potentially shoddy transfer rate could actually hurt the reputation of the show. They spend a lot of money to make it look good, and they want all those dollars to translate in high definition.

Here’s what Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly:

“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.

One of my worries is about the copies [downloaders are] seeing. The production values of this show are so incredible. So I’m hoping that in the purloined different generation of cuts that the show is holding up.”

After seeing some of the grainy episode rips that pop up online, Lombardo has a pretty good point, and the show should definitely be seen as it was meant to be seen. It’s lush and gorgeous, and loses some of its awesomeness when cut down to a low-quality stream.

Of course, Lombardo goes on to say how piracy is evil and they encourage everyone to watch the show legally, but it’s interesting to see the various effects of piracy on a show this successful. As a point of reference, the season finale last year was downloaded 4.3 million times, which is astronomical for a TV show. 

Do you think Lombardo has a point? How do you watch Thrones?

(Via Entertainment Weekly)