HBO Without Cable: It’s Planning a Stand-Alone Service

Photo (cc) by JasonParis

If you love HBO but you’re not a fan of cable, this news will make you giddy. The premium cable network plans to offer a stand-alone online service next year, and you don’t have to be a cable TV or satellite customer to subscribe.

This move will further push HBO into a head-to-head rivalry with Netflix. According to The New York Times, on the heels of HBO’s announcement, Netflix revealed that it was experiencing sluggish subscriber growth. The streaming service predicted adding 1.3 million subscribers last quarter, but fell short at just 1 million.

The two companies are battling for a new generation of viewers who increasingly pay only for Internet access. Instead of subscribing to cable or satellite television, this growing audience watches television shows and movies via streaming options like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube – and now, potentially, HBO.

While many HBO-lovers have dreamed about a standalone service for years, most people assumed it either wouldn’t happen or it was years off. Time said the thought was “HBO had more to lose by ticking off cable providers than it had to gain from broadband content delivery.”

How times have changed. More than 10 million Americans now have broadband-only service. According to Time, HBO CEO Richard Plepler said:

That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO. … There are 80 million homes that do not have HBO, and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.

The price of the new HBO service, what content will be available and other details haven’t been worked out yet, the Times said.

If HBO is able to show that you can offer a cable-free package and continue to thrive, maybe others (like live sports) will follow suit. Time said the future of television could be a combination of Internet, over-the-air HD, and whatever other options (HBO, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix) you want. Time said:

That cord-cutting, a la carte paradise isn’t here yet. But HBO may just have released the dragon.

HBO is the primary reason I still have cable. As soon as this is an option, I’m cutting my cable. I’ll save money and still be able to watch the shows I love on HBO. It’s a win-win.

Want to learn how to cut the cable? Watch the video below, or read You Can Stop Paying for Cable TV Now.

What do you think of HBO’s announcement? Will it change how you watch television? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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