updated 02:41 pm EDT, Fri October 25, 2013
Package geared for streaming content
Comcast is reportedly preparing a new offering that essentially unbundles HBO service from a traditional cable TV package. In a promotion spotted by GigaOM, the company is enabling customers to purchase basic Internet service with local TV channels and HBO content for $40 per month.
The package fetches a $10 premium over Comcast's basic 12 Mbps Internet service. Both are limited promotions, however, with the HBO discount expiring after 12 months and subsequently jumping to $70 per month.
HBO has typically resisted any move toward unbundled service or access through third-party streaming services such as Netflix, forcing viewers to buy HBO access through a traditional cable or satellite bundle in order to gain streaming access via HBO Go. The restrictive strategy has been credited with helping push HBO's Game of Thrones series to the top of the pirated-download charts.
Aside from the new Comcast option, HBO also recently began offering some of its popular shows as direct downloads through Google Play. Game of Thrones pricing is similar to the iTunes offerings, which have been available for several years, with most episodes available to purchase for $3 and entire seasons sold for $29.
HBO CEO Richard Pieplier early this year suggested the company was open to allowing HBO Go access to be added to Internet service packages for an additional $10 to $15. Equivalent offerings from other cable providers, such as HBO's parent company Time Warner, have yet to be announced.