HBO has been an exclusive, subscriber only channel since its inception. It’s cable plus, cable supreme, a channel so elite you need dozens of crap channels just to access it. And that’s worked out swell for HBO and cable companies–that is, until internet piracy became the way of the world. With the rise of internet piracy, and especially hot shows like Game of Thrones, HBO has seen a severe increase in the amount of illegal downloads and streams of their programming. Coupled with the ever rising number of cord cutters (those, like myself, who told the cable companies to fuck off and now get their media through a variety of internet-based means) cable companies are having to get creative in order to keep America suckling at the teet of cable TV.
And while we’re still awaiting HBO to finally cave and begin offering a streaming-only subscription service similar to Netflix and Hulu Plus, they’re not quite ready to leave cable companies completely out of the picture. So here’s the next best thing: Comcast is offering an Internet Plus plan that’ll include 25 Mbps internet, 45 basic cable channels and HBO. The best part? The plan’s only $39.99 a month! That’s less than I pay for internet only through Time Warner!
Verge has the details,
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.
With the access to HBO and an assortment of 45 other cable channels this $40 bucks a month plan might just be sweet enough to bring some of those cord cutters back into the fold. Unfortunately, this plan is only available for new subscribers and after they’ve got you hooked, the price jumps up to $69.95 after a year.
So it ain’t perfect, but is it enough to bring you back to cable? Personally, I’d rather just hold out for HBO to finally figure out some sort of streaming-only plan, but until then if you want your Game of Thrones legally (and without waiting months for DVDs/Blu-rays) this might be your best option. Assuming, of course, Comcast is available where you are.