Comcast Takes First Step Toward Unbundling HBO

Comcast, through their cable/broadband service Xfinity, announced pricing for a special bundle featuring their high-speed Internet service along with local channels, the Streampix streaming service and— drumroll please —HBO, all for the reasonable price of $39.99 for 12 months.

 

As is typical of cable companies, this is a limited time deal (once that 12 months is up you’ll be paying near $70 a month… ouch!) with restrictions and the typical nickel and dime fees that apply, but all-in-all this is a big step for a cable provider, choosing to take a premium channel and offer it in a smaller package for those whose primary needs are broadband Internet service.  Time Warner’s CEO, Jeff Bewkes, notorious for hating on Netflix and other streaming services, long maintained that HBO was a premium brand intended to be bundled with cable service only, but recently he’s made remarks that indicated he’d be open to having HBO bundled with Internet service only, but had no firm plans in place to do so with any cable provider.

 Depending on the popularity of Comcasts’ offer, it remains to be seen if other cable companies that offer broadband Internet will follow suit (if only Charter Communications, my local cable monopoly, would do this, I’d consider going back to cable).

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