Cord-cutters, binge-watchers and TV fans rejoice! Television watching changed in a big way last week that may have a profound impact on how you view your favorite shows. Someday soon you may have total control over which networks you subscribe to, with direct access to the TV networks you want to watch.
Last week two major networks announced stand-alone subscription options for viewers, cutting out the middle man of cable and satellite providers. HBO and CBS revealed plans for subscription packages that give access to their libraries for a monthly fee. Cord-cutters, who have given up on cable and satellite providers, now will have access to many more shows
Currently in the US you must have a cable or satellite TV provider and an HBO subscription to watch HBO and access HBO GO, the company’s app and streaming service. Seeking to expand its viewership, HBO will be offering direct access to viewers without the need for a cable or satellite provider.
HBO first introduced direct access to its content in Norway, much to the envy of viewers in other countries who wanted the same ability to watch HBO shows without the need for cable and satellite providers. HBO Nordic now also serves Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
Amazon has been offering limited HBO access through its Prime video service with shows such as The Sopranos and The Wire, but shows such as Game of Thrones and True Detective are not included.
Richard Piepler, Chairman and CEO of HBO, last week addressed the 10 million US households who have high-speed Internet service but no cable or satellite TV service and announced:
“That 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. 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. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”
Further details about this “over-the-top” service weren’t provided, but pricing for the service probably wouldn’t be less than the $15/month HBO charges to its cable and satellite subscribers. While this fee would make it more expensive than other streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, HBO’s catalog of premium original content may justify its price tag.
HBO also has exclusive rights to many recent hit movies, including half of the top 25 movies released in the past 12 months, while Netflix has only three.
Over-the-top does seem to imply that the service would offer more than the existing HBO GO. Will the new stand-alone service offer content not available to cable/satellite providers? We’ll know more when HBO gives us further details closer to launch.
If you’re a fan of hit CBS TV shows such as Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother, How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory, then you may be a fan of CBS All Access, the company’s new stand-alone subscription services. CBS was more specific than HBO when it announced its All Access pass last week. Priced at $5.95/month, the subscription is available now via CBS.com and the CBS app and includes:
- Live stream CBS feeds
- Next-day access to full episodes of CBS shows
- On-demand access to a library of 6500 CBS shows
Note that Live streaming is only available in some US cities. Certain shows, such as NFL football games, will not be included in All Access.
Unlike HBO, viewers can watch CBS shows free via over-the-air broadcasts without the need for a cable or satellite subscription. But access to the CBS show library and live-streaming via the website and apps will now be available only with a paid All Access subscription.
CBS All Access is available for $5.99/month with the following deals:
- One week free trial
- 20% off for 6 months using the Promo code 20OFF6M (expires November 15)
The CBS App is available free for:
- iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch
- Android devices
- Kindle Fire and other Android devices
- Windows Phone
- Blackberry devices
Do you like the idea of a stand-alone TV subscription? Will you be giving these services a try? Vote in The Wonder of Tech poll:
Are you excited about this new kind of stand-alone TV subscriptions? Will you be signing up for them? Do you think this is the future for TV shows? What over-the-top features would you like to see offered with the HBO stand-alone service? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below!