updated 10:56 am EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
Service might still be tied to Internet service
HBO may be relenting on its position towards allowing HBO outside of cable TV subscription packages, Reuters reports. CEO Richard Plepler says that the company is considering allowing access to HBO GO, its digital streaming option, via bundles with broadband Internet subscriptions. That would likely add about $10 to $15 to a person's Internet bill. "We would have to make the math work," says Plepler.
For many people the option would be preferable to the cable route, where adding HBO can push bills well over $100 a month, especially since ŕ-la-carte channel subscriptions aren't an option. Most ISP bills by contrast are closer to $30-60, on top of which HBO would be a relatively trivial expense. It would however be more expensive than services like Netflix, which starts at just $8 a month and provides access to much more than one channel's content.
HBO GO apps are available on a number of platforms, including iOS, Android, Roku, Samsung TVs, the Xbox 360, and the Kindle Fire. Allowing access without a cable subscription could potentially be risky for HBO, since the network's current distribution scheme generates billions of dollars, and neither HBO nor cable companies would want to risk undermining it. At the same time, shows like Game of Thrones are heavily pirated, since many people don't want to pay for expensive cable bundles, or increasingly, any cable at all.