This Internet/HBO Bundle Is the Closest Thing You’re Going to Get to Standalone HBO GoBy: Josh Wolford - October 25, 2013
People want to pay for HBO Go, this is an established fact. Many people, however, don’t want to pay for the expensive cable packages that are required to access HBO Go. All they want is a standalone HBO Go service that works like Netflix – one in which they could pay a set monthly fee and access all of HBO’s content. But apart from Scandinavia, HBO isn’t interested in offering such a service. It’s quite the bummer.
But maybe, just maybe, a glimmer of hope?
It appears that there is now a way to get access to HBO Go without paying for a $100-$150 premium cable package. Comcast is now bundling HBO with its “Internet Plus” package, which offers limited basic cable and high-speed internet for less than $50 per month.
DSL Reports first broke the news of the deal, and said that sources inside the company planned on launching the “Internet Plus” package some time this month. Lo and behold, it appears to have surfaced on Comcast’s site:
Right now, this is the closest thing that anyone in the US is going to get to a true a la carte access to HBO Go.
Bundling HBO with high-speed internet isn’t coming out of the blue. Earlier this year, HBO CEO Richard Plepler threw cordcutters a bone when he said it was possible that HBO could work with broadband partners to offer HBO content without premium cable subscriptions (read: as part of an internet bundle).
At the time he seemed incredibly skeptical of such a plan, as HBO’s partnership with cable providers is a sound business strategy – at least for now – according to HBO. But what Comcast is offering here is pretty much exactly what Plepler was talking about: HBO bundled with internet access, without the cost of hundreds of cable channels that most people will never watch.
Of course, there are a boatload of caveats to this deal. First off, the offers expires at the end of January – so there’s a chance that this is just a trial (a strong chance). Also, the package rate jumps to $69.95 per month after the first year.
Oh, and it’s a regional offering – meaning it’s not available in all areas and pricing is totally subject to local competition.
But hey, it’s a step in the right direction. What people really want is for HBO to simply offer HBO Go on their own, charge a monthly subscription fee, and let us watch Game of Thrones in peace. For now, that seems like a pipe dream.
Image via HBO, YouTube