HBO GO to launch cable-free streaming service


HBO’s popular programming can now be viewed without a cable TV subscription.

HBO’s popular programming can now be viewed without a cable TV subscription.

Time Warner chief executive Jeff Bewkes announced at a conference in September that the popular streaming app HBO GO is no longer exclusive to cable subscribers.

Other cable companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are jumping on the bandwagon as well. By allowing their customers to purchase a broadband internet bundle, these companies will provide access to HBO and HBO GO without requiring that customers subscribe to any cable TV service.

So what does this mean for University of San Diego students? With most students using laptops, tablets or smartphones, the transition is more than welcome. Sophomore Stavros Markakis believes HBO GO will become more popular than the other internet streaming services.

“HBO GO is going to have more to offer than Netflix and will surpass it in no time,” Markakis said.

HBO is extremely well known for its hit shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Sex and the City” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Like a Netflix original series, HBO GO features original shows with entire series available at the touch of a button. HBO GO’s edge would be episodes from a current season becoming available the day after airing in case you missed it.
With this transition, consumers now have the potential to binge watch all their favorite HBO movies and shows without owning an actual cable box. However, pricing could be an issue. These cable companies have to make up for lost subscribers as more and more of these “TV-free” options become available.

According to the Huffington post, AT&T is offering a $39 a month broadband internet, HBO, HBO GO and Amazon Prime subscription for a year bundle. However, there’s an additional $99 installation fee, an extra $10 a month charge for HD and a $180 early termination fee if the customer decides to opt out before the year has ended. But, consumers like senior Hannah Bucklin seem more willing to pay for this version of HBO as an online service.

“Since so many young consumers do not want to bother with getting cable and have access to movies and TV on their phones, it makes sense that HBO GO is offering this new monthly package deal,” Bucklin said.

Online streaming is the new platform for TV. The stand-alone packages offered by companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and now HBO GO appeal to a new wave of young consumers aged 18-25 accustomed to instant and ad-free viewing.

CEO and chairman of HBO, Richard Plepler, spoke on Oct. 15 about how the new approach will reach the millions of broadband-only homes. The app is promised to crash less and bring more of the original HBO content consumers have come to love over the course of the company’s existence.

“There is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO,” Plepler said. “So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners.”

Sophomore Alexa Lang agrees that HBO is going to appeal to the younger demographic, but it’s not quite on the same level yet as the other streaming companies yet.

“I think it’s awesome that TV providers are finally catching up with the times and changing to appeal to our generation,” Lang said. “But they still have further to go if they want to compete on the same level with something as popular as Netflix.”

As USD students graduate and move away from their parents’ cable subscriptions and have to get their own, they may find simply streaming from HBO GO a more satisfying and easier financial decision. Then they could watch the entire series of “Game of Thrones” in one weekend in HD quality on their iPad from the comfort of their bed.