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HBO Finally Offering Standalone Streaming Service Next Year

During a Time Warner Inc. investor meeting on Wednesday, Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO of Home Box Office (HBO), revealed that HBO plans to offer a standalone streaming service in the United States sometime during 2015. This will be unlike HBO Go, which requires the customer to subscribe to HBO via their cable TV service.

During his presentation, Plepler pointed out that there are "significant growth opportunities" within the Pay-TV arena, and that the broadband-only market of ten million subscribers will grow over the next several years as customers begin to cut cable TV. He said this group is an extremely large and growing "opportunity" that shouldn't be untapped.

"So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States," Plepler said. "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."

HBO has already taken one small step to meet consumer demand with its HBO Go service. But what will be interesting to see is how consumers react to a full-fledged standalone service costing a possible $20. To compete with Netflix, the company may need to dip down into the sub-$10 price point while possibly adding more content. The thing to keep in mind is that HBO really can't be a Netflix competitor because the former company doesn't offer TV shows and movies from other networks.

Will consumers buy into a standalone HBO streaming service? More importantly, will other Pay TV channels like Showtime and Starz launch a similar service? That will be interesting to see. As it stands now, HBO's pricing model will be key in determining if such an offering will catch on. We're hoping that the HBO service will cost less than Netflix per month.

So what will happen with HBO on cable? There's good reason to believe that Time Warner Inc., HBO's parent company, won't let go of the pay-TV service that easily. Subscribers will undoubtedly still have access, and possibly at a discount if they want access to the standalone service. Then again, customers have access to HBO Go as well, so cable subscribers may not need the standalone service after all.

What do you think about the HBO stand-alone streaming service?

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  • gggplaya
    They can compete with netflix because HBO has actual modern movies and really awesome shows. The movies on netflix are mostly B movies or dated. They occasionally have a few blockbuster hits.
    Reply
  • allawash
    They made no mention as to how much this service might cost, I would assume cable companies won't drop the price for the channel/hbogo feature any less that it already is (seems like 10 - 12 dollars a month) and I don't think they have enough new content for standalone users to pay more than what the cable/satellite companies are charging per month. Once you've watched all the old shows and exhausted the new content, I'm thinking many people will cancel just like they do on cable when the show they are interested in ends. I think this is why Netflix and Amazon are trying to bring in more in house produced shows and movies, to keep people from cancelling out of boredom.
    Reply
  • ldun
    What would make sense is if HBO teamed up with Showtime and Starz to offer a service allowing access to stream all shows/movies from those networks. That way in stead of possibly having 3 "small" competitors to netflix, they could offer one larger services.
    Reply
  • lpedraja2002
    They can compete with netflix because HBO has actual modern movies and really awesome shows. The movies on netflix are mostly B movies or dated. They occasionally have a few blockbuster hits.

    You clearly have no idea how the licensing works.

    What would make sense is if HBO teamed up with Showtime and Starz to offer a service allowing access to stream all shows/movies from those networks. That way in stead of possibly having 3 "small" competitors to netflix, they could offer one larger services.

    This would be great for the consumer but I don't think it will happen within our lifetime. Their goal is to probably start ahead on the market to gain as much market share as possible. What will save HBO if they go full on ahead with this is the price. They can't charge much more than $10 a month since they have Netflix on one side and people with Amazon Instant Video can see the HBO collection, so unless they're waiting till 2015 for the licensing to end with Amazon I don't know what they plan to do to reel-in subscribers from those services.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    Once HBO does this, other channels will follow. No longer will we have to pay for crap channels we'll never watch included with some package in order to minimize the cable expense.

    With regard to "cable cutting", the initial investment in your own hardware can be off-putting for some:

    Basic non-amped Indoor HD Over-the-Air (OTA) Antenna would suffice for most
    Docsis 3.0 Cable modem
    Router and switches as necessary
    OTA DVR (ie TabloTV)
    Roku/Apple/Google TV devices and/or smart tvs

    But these are one-time purchases instead of paying the cable company to lease their equipment every month. Upgrade as necessary when technological advances dictate it.

    I've found a basic 30Mbps connection will easily accommodate 3 HD video streams+gaming.

    Services to consider are Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime. All about $9 each, but you can watch these on any TV, PC or device in your house. These will give you a lot of content to watch in addition to the OTA. I suppose I'll pick up HBO Go now for the Game of Thrones season.

    Also, I used to provider hop as better cable deals were offered by different providers. It makes it really easy to switch providers when only one cable has to be swapped out.

    Many people won't even require the OTA equipment as you can pretty much watch any show the next day on Hulu plus, but I do like to watch the occasional football game. It takes a few months to start realizing the savings, but after a that, it's money in your pocket.

    Why do you think the cable companies don't want net neutrality? They fear losing their grasp on everything they want to charge us for. More and more people are dropping cable.
    Reply
  • sicom
    I would pay $10-20 a month while Game of Thrones is airing. Then ditch the service, because that's the only thing I care about.
    Reply
  • ram1009
    I don't see any conflict between HBO streaming service and Netflix. I will buy both if the price is right as they have different content. Right now I have DISH and pay $26 monthly for HBO + Showtime including access to HBO GO. Unfortunately HBO GO is only available to me via broadband to any of my networked computers so I can't watch HBO GO on my TV even though I have a WD streaming box. I believe the key to the new streaming service is availability to stream directly to any TV. I would probably even pay a little more for the luxury of watching what I want on my schedule rather than HBO's schedule. The other services will do whatever HBO is successful at.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    14387043 said:
    I would pay $10-20 a month while Game of Thrones is airing. Then ditch the service, because that's the only thing I care about.

    I would pay it per episode. There's nothing else on that stinking channel most of the time.
    Reply
  • wiyosaya
    14386681 said:
    Once HBO does this, other channels will follow. No longer will we have to pay for crap channels we'll never watch included with some package in order to minimize the cable expense.

    With regard to "cable cutting", the initial investment in your own hardware can be off-putting for some:

    Basic non-amped Indoor HD Over-the-Air (OTA) Antenna would suffice for most
    Docsis 3.0 Cable modem
    Router and switches as necessary
    OTA DVR (ie TabloTV)
    Roku/Apple/Google TV devices and/or smart tvs

    But these are one-time purchases instead of paying the cable company to lease their equipment every month. Upgrade as necessary when technological advances dictate it.

    I've found a basic 30Mbps connection will easily accommodate 3 HD video streams+gaming.

    Services to consider are Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime. All about $9 each, but you can watch these on any TV, PC or device in your house. These will give you a lot of content to watch in addition to the OTA. I suppose I'll pick up HBO Go now for the Game of Thrones season.

    Also, I used to provider hop as better cable deals were offered by different providers. It makes it really easy to switch providers when only one cable has to be swapped out.

    Many people won't even require the OTA equipment as you can pretty much watch any show the next day on Hulu plus, but I do like to watch the occasional football game. It takes a few months to start realizing the savings, but after a that, it's money in your pocket.

    Why do you think the cable companies don't want net neutrality? They fear losing their grasp on everything they want to charge us for. More and more people are dropping cable.
    The OTA antenna is going to be highly dependent on location. In some locations with the right geography, 70+ stations are possible. In mine where I am in a valley, I get two stations still on VHF perfectly, while the three other main local stations on UHF are dependent on weather conditions which do make them unwatchable at times. That is with a small-ish directional and amplified Winegard antenna in my attic. I get a few low-power stations in my area, one that serves religious interests, one that serves up ION and another that is more independent with a total of about 28 channels that come in well enough to watch.

    As for me, OTA is a no-brainer compared to Hulu because I can skip commercials; I time shift everything.

    I know it is not for everyone, but I went with MediaPortal, Hulu+ (free via Bing Points), Netflix, and Amazon Prime plus a $0.99/episode for a show my wife watches through iTunes. Outlay in equipment/software including a new HTPC build and 2, HDHomerun Prime tuners was about $1,800. Considering I am now paying $16/mo for just TV down from $88/mo, I'll pay that off in about another 17 months.

    I have absolutely no interest in HBO's service at any price. For their original programming, even if I were interested, I would stick with Amazon Prime.

    Reply
  • ubercake
    CBS announced an upcoming streaming service today. Current CBS shows and old CBS shows $5.99/mo. This is interesting to see a public broadcast network getting in on it:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/cbs-offer-stand-alone-subscription-130026588.html
    Reply