HBO News

HBO one step closer to offering streaming-only access?

With a dearth of Game of Thrones news, I thought this recent development in the world of cable news was worth a post. Many here have complained about HBO GO being restricted to HBO subscribers only. And while that is still the case, this new cable/internet package being offered by Comcast seems to hint at a future where an internet subscription and an HBO GO streaming subscription may be packaged together.

The package offered by Comcast is called “Internet Plus” and it offers 25 Mbps internet as well as 45 basic cable channels and, most importantly, HBO. The cost? $39.95 a month.

The Verge writes:

The package is essentially what many cord cutters, and Game of Thrones fans, have been asking for: a way to legally watch their favorite shows online over a speedy internet connection, without paying for expensive, full-scale TV packages that they never watch. To get a sense of how little the basic TV service adds to the cost of Internet Plus, one needs only to look at Comcast’s other $39.99 package. That deal is made up of the same 25 Mbps internet connection paired with telephone service — with no television or streaming video options at all.

Some caveats apply: it appears that this is a temporary deal available only to new subscribers. And after one year the cost jumps up to $69.95 a month. Still, it is likely the cheapest legal way to watch Game of Thrones as it airs. And it is one step closer to that elusive HBO GO-only subscription.

Winter Is Coming: This would actually be a great deal for me, as I’m currently paying around $50 a month for just the internet. Unfortunately, I don’t have Comcast in my area. Hopefully something similar will come to a cable provider near me in time for Thrones. Would this deal be of interest to you if you could get it? Or do you want something even cheaper?


  • This is a great deal but I’m already comfortable paying $80 a month for comcast HD cable + internet which includes HBO. For those looking for a deal though, I would jump on this

  • I have this package, and all seemed well until I realized that Comcast blocks HBO Go access on Roku devices, which is how I watch the majority of my TV (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix). Only way to access it is via the HBO Go website which is a pain in the ass for my setup. Comcast sucks.

  • I’m in the same boat as you Winter, no Comcast in my region. I would jump on this deal because the cost would be pretty much the same as what I pay now. Maybe if this works with Comcast other cable providers will jump on it. Fingers crossed….

  • Hmmm… Me who thinks Comcast is the greatest evil in the world might just buy this. But only if they got rid of the “temporary deal” aspect.

  • I know HBO was supposedly also talking to Time Warner Cable. I’ve never heard a fee of less than $69.95 discussed as a possibility ongoing so I would assume this is a loss leader to get people in.
    Still $70 bucks to get high speed internet and the regular channels (and some live ones for sports…although some like MLB don’t support it)
    I doubt we’ll see an ala carte option anytime soon.

  • Some international perspective: Streaming HBO from equals about USD 12/month in Sweden. Not sure if we have the entire HBO catalog yet though. We get the new GoT episodes the day after it airs in the US (airs like 4am local time anyway).

  • That’s great but honestly it seems like forever since we have had any new filming news, we’ll I guess it could be worse at least I did not have to wait since the first book came out, like pre show fans I don’t know how you did that. Let spring or Winds of Winter please hurry up and come

  • Why doesn’t HBO do a deal like that in Europe? It would exponentially decrease piracy, since in the states you can get HBO but over here you either wait 6 months to watch GOT or download it the morning after. Believe me, the choice is easy.

  • We pay 50 or more each month for 30mbps Internet. We really have no interest in any cable package, but we would definitely do this, even at at ~75 price point. No clue if it’s available in our area, but hopefully competitors start something similar

  • I’d do this deal in a heartbeat if I could get Comcast in my area. Unfortunately, I’m just out of their service range and have Verizon or Cox instead. I have Verizon FiOS at the moment, and while the super-fast internet speed is nice, I barely watch any of the channels provided with my cable service other than HBO.

  • Just to point out, though, this is a Comcast deal, not a change in strategy for HBO. At best, this might signal cable providers making HBO more accessible for less in order to entice back cord cutters at a cost they might be able to swallow.

    It’s not really a step toward HBO providing a standalone streaming service.

  • Ray Feighery,
    Comcast and most other video service providers still flail behind the desires of consumers. Binge-watching is a thing. I’ve done it since Buffy, continued through 24, Lost, etc. and might do so with GOT. People with enough willpower exercise the ala carte option already through purchasing the DVDs and using Netflix and whatnot (and pirating, you naughty monkeys). Until such a time as people dump Comcast, et al en masse, not much is going to change and you’ll end up paying more for perceived convenience.

    Rise up. Power to the people. Cut the coax. Strike! Strike! Strike!

  • I’m with Comcast and have 50 mbps internet, the next tier above basic cable, and HBO for $70 a month. I was internet only until they called me up with this deal. It’s just for a year, but it will get me through next season. Then I’ll cancel cable again unless they have some other option. If HBO does actually offer streaming-only access at some point, I will drop cable and never look back.

  • Here’s the scenario that I (and many others) want:
    1) Select a custom baseline set of channels to watch & DVR
    Examples: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, FX, CNN, ESPN, Discovery & A&E
    2) Select a defined set of shows you want to watch & DVR on non-baseline channels.
    Examples: GoT (HBO), BE (HBO), The Client List (Lifetime…guilty pleasure)
    3) Be able to sample any non-baseline series before you commit.
    4) Be able to view prior seasons or any prior episode of selected shows
    5) Be able to edit #1 & #2 online throughout the year
    6) Be able to select broadband speed and burst/escalation scenario
    7) Watch shows from a variety of home and mobile devices
    8) Bill monthly to credit card on file (get air miles!) and be able to monitor charges throughout the month

    That would be a true a-la-carte experience and hopefully where the industry is headed. Freedom, dammit!

  • Don’t anyone feel bad for not having Comcast/Xfinity in your area. They suck! Worst customer service ever! Some of the people are nice, but often they just transfer you around to many different people and they try to upsell you after you’ve been on the line three hours and just want to rip your hair out.

    Anyways, it would be nice if the premium channels just offered you access direct from the source without having to go through any horrible evil cable companies. I wonder if the deals they make with the cable providers forbid this? I bet a lot of people would be willing to buy season passes to shows they like and skip cable all together.

    I don’t want to start pirating because it isn’t ethical, but these companies make it hard to resist sometimes don’t they?

    On an unrelated note, the Dancing With the Stars take on the GoT theme song should be posted in GotLaughs. It was kind of ridiculous.

  • Oh, and apparently ESPN charges so much that it makes up half the price of a cable bill. You should really get the option to opt out of it. There are occasionally college basketball games or college gymnastics I like to watch, but that’s it. I could definitely do without ESPN as most of the sports I watch are on broadcast networks or the Big Ten network.

  • OT: Okay boys and girls, we all knew it was going to happen, no point in fighting it. A trailer for “Game of Bones”, the porn parody for Game of Thrones, is out. I would call it SFW, but your boss might disagree . ;-) The trailer is kind of funny, but the thing that got me smiling was the first comment.

    I’m pretty sure that book readers will search for inconsistencies in this….

  • WeirwoodTreeHugger: Oh, and apparently ESPN charges so much that it makes up half the price of a cable bill.

    I’ve complained about this here before. ESPN is the biggest cost by far in the basic cable package, primarily due to the huge payments it makes to MLB, NFL, etc. It’s owned by ABC, which is hugely defensive about how “everyone wants ESPN” and no one wants a package or a la carte options without it. Be sure ABC is fighting tooth and nail against a la carte packaging and of course its partners, major league sports, are right there in the trenches with it.

    Although everyone thinks male viewers will pay for ESPN if they are given a choice, I wonder how many realize the ESPN channels alone eat up $75 of their yearly bill. (Most other channels cost 80 cents a month each.)

    If this topic interests you:

  • HBO offers streaming only in Sweden with HBONordic. It’s only 12US$/month. Although we get GoT 24 hours after the US:(

    So it’s not unreasonable that this sort of arrangement will sometime find its way onto the American market as well.

  • Wow, that’s bloody awesome, would perfect for my needs, depending on whether it includes the cable channels that have shows I watch (e.g. AMC, FX, FOOD) as well as HBO. I don’t give a rats ass about ESPN, honestly I hope they leave that out.

    PS3 support would be sweet as well (I use my PS3 for my current TV sources: Amazon Prime and Hulu). I prefer to watch on the big screen.

    However, I currently have FioS (Verizon)! We switched because Comcast was going to charge us $60 just for internet, and it’s slower, but I will definitely be giving Verizon a call asking why they don’t have this yet and threatening to leave for Comcast (I’m not on contract so I’m free to leave whenever).

  • DH87,

    I’d drop ESPN in a hot second. My girlfriend watches more football than I do, and the games she wants to see are either on one of the networks or nowhere on our package. It’s useless to me.

  • Abyss,

    This sketch could have been funnier, lol. I witnessed the preview, with close up
    of the modified ” Iron Throne”, on the Chris Hardwick show. That was indeed
    humorous .

  • well, I can access Homeland on Itunes as sooon as it has aired in the US and I’m in Germany.
    So why can’t HBO do that?

  • a little question, why are we having news like this but none about Emilia and her aneurysm?

    just wondering….

  • Victor,

    I did a quick search on this and as I see it its nothing more than a rumor at this point. All they have to back that up are “sources”. Let’s wait if they can back it up with someone legit and maybe then its worth a post…

  • I’m in Australia – we get the whole season on iTunes for A$33, drops about 12 hours after it airs in the US. Can buy past seasons for the same price.

    Season 1 was nigh on impossible to watch legally here, but it’s now cheap, easy and quick…

  • Delta1212:

    I’d drop ESPN in a hot second. My girlfriend watches more football than I do, and the games she wants to see are either on one of the networks or nowhere on our package. It’s useless to me.

    Well, the good news is that technology-based cord cutters are forcing all of the major content providers to reevaluate how to handle them and the cost-based cord cutters, who have increased every year since the 2008 recession. Congress has gotten involved in the a la carte pricing issue for the reasons I’ve cited before but it will be years if ever before federal action is taken.

  • Cable is a goddamn rip off. Too damn expensive! Luckily my dad has hbo and i have axcess to his hbogo password.

  • Victor: a little question, why are we having news like this but none about Emilia and her aneurysm?

    Perhaps because, although there have been a number of reprints of what seems to be a single original report, there has been no response from Emilia or her publicist. If it’s untrue, it most probably would have been denied right away. If it’s true, they are treating it as personal matter, since she has been able to continue filming in the subsequent months.

  • Cox in San Diego recently started offering an internet + HBO package. Previously you could only get HBO after first subscribing to a host of other channels. I never watch anything other than HBO, so was able to save a bunch of money by switching to the new package.

  • Getting Google Fiber installed this month which has me pretty excited. The only bad thing is Time Warner played hardball w/ them and HBO alone is going to cost me $20 a month. At least everything else is reasonably priced.

  • Make this available to the PS3 and PS4(and X-Box One+PC for other people) and I will buy it DAY ONE. I am a cord cutter and I WILL NOT pay the cable companies for 1,000 channels of utter crap I will never watch just to have HBO and HBO Go. Nope, never, not in one million years.

    Death to cable companies!

    Now if HBO goes the way of Netflix I am on board so fast. I would pay $19,99 a month for full access to all HBO programming from streaming. Maybe even $24.99 a month. But it has to have the release for shows like Game of Throes to be the same release as on TV.

    This way I do not have to download the shows at first and then buy then later on Blu-Ray disc. Come on HBO! See the future for what it is. STREAMING MEDIA.

  • Ugh. Comcast. I pay $166/month – and that is for cable tv only. No internet. The “digital preferred” package was originally only $39.99/mo… then it jumped to $59.99/mo… now it’s jumped to $83.90! This package offers almost all the cable channels – I am an avid SEC football fan, so having the ESPN channels is kindof a “necessity.” Then there is an additional $10.00 charge for HBO (which is still a promotional rate) – which is the only “movie” channel I subscribe to. Then you have to pay for each box rental (which, if you want a HD/DVR box, it’s $17.95/box/mo – and I have one in the main living room and one in the master bedroom). Tack on the taxes, and boom. Insanely expensive bill.

  • Cersei’s Lament,

    I feel your pain, I pay for a limited Comcast HD cable package, with a few premium
    channels included, a whopping $ 191.00 US. Imagine if I’d chosen all
    premium channels ! Not unusual for NCal to pay $ 400 + . Satellite does not work
    in my area, and without a network established, I would not be able to even watch the
    local news channel, set in the same city that I reside. Too much natural interference
    with the frequencies.

    As of this year, A T& T have made U-Verse available to a select few addresses in
    my neighbourhood, but with very mixed results. To think that I did without any cable
    connection, just 7 years ago, being too busy to entertain television, Now it’s as if I’m
    being punished for not following the sipping the opium laced koolaide earlier, as
    the earlier masses did. *>*

  • There is an interesting article in today’s BBC online magazine, about Broadband
    pricing throughout the world, that everyone here should read. It’s authored
    by Tom Geoghegan, and dated 27 October. I’m inept at posting links, sorry.

  • Can you keep a secret?

    I already get HBOGo as streaming only. And for free, no less. Here is how. Had in the past the Comcast Triple Play, with an HBO subscription as well. In July, I decided to drop TV and Phone, and keep the internet only. Well, after a few weeks, a friend of mine called me and said he had finished using my HBOGO access to catch up on GoT. Curious, I went to my PC, and logged in to HBOGo using my current Comcast information. Sure enough, I had, and still have full access. I checked my bill, and all I am being charged for is my internet access and my modem rental.

    Hope this is helpful for anyone.