For those who have been sneaking around watching your favorite HBO programs despite the fact that you don’t have cable, you will finally have the opportunity to legitimately watch “Game of Thrones” and all the network has to offer without needing a devilish cable subscription.
Today, HBO announced that they are finally cutting the cord and will be offering a standalone streaming service for their programming starting sometime in 2015. This undoubtedly comes from the pressure HBO is feeling from Netflix as the streaming service continues to grow, not to mention the fact that cable providers are becoming more of a nuisance for customers to deal with.
For those of you who are sharing HBO Go passwords with friends, this likely won’t effect you much, but there are still plenty of people who have a low-end cable subscription just so they can pay for and watch HBO whenever and wherever they want. When HBO offers this new standalone service, there will likely be plenty of people cutting the cord themselves and telling cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner to HBO Go f*ck themselves.
Announcing the news, HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler told investors:
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. So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.
Basically, this is the way of the future, and HBO needs to stay hip and keep their viewers as they adapt to changing technology and distribution models. However, right now it’s not entirely clear how this standalone streaming service will be offered as there are a few potential ways this might happen.
One model would have HBO’s streaming service sold through broadband service providers, which means you might still have to deal with Time Warner or Comcast, even though you don’t have to buy cable from them anymore. Another would have HBO coming through new partners like Amazon (which made a deal in April for part of HBO’s library), Google, or Microsoft. But the third model sounds like the best idea, and that’s to have HBO take on the Netflix model and just offer the service themselves without a middle man.
Again, it’s not clear when in 2015 this standalone streaming service from HBO will be available, but just the fact that it’s actually happening will be good news for everyone who like quality television. Well, it’s not TV, it’s HBO…but you get it.
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