HBO could change the whole television landscape with a new streaming service.
Ever keen to get involved in forward-thinking, innovative television, HBO has announced it will launch a streaming video service in 2015 that will not require users to have a cable or satellite subscription. Essentially, it will give Netflix customers - who pay for relatively expensive subscriptions - food for thought. HBO's move could change the whole cable television landscape.
Game of Thrones has been a huge hit for HBO
"This is an enormous breakthrough; consumers will be able to get to pick what they want and they will finally have content companies selling directly to them," said Gene Kimmelman, president public interest group Public Knowledge. "The question is, 'Who is next'? That's trickier because this speaks to the power of HBO's brand to be able to break from the cable bundle."
Announcing the service, HBO chief executive Richard Plepler said the service will be available to U.S subscribers from next year, as well as consumers in two other countries before expanding to its entire international footprint. Plepler said the company was targeting the 10 million homes in the U.S.that have high-speed Internet but don't subscribe to cable or satellite television.
"It's time to remove the barriers to those that want HBO," he said.
Of course the big question now is now much HBO will charge for the online service. As the Washington Post's Cecilia Kang notes - set the price too low and many consumers will drop their cable subscriptions, set it too high and viewers used to the $10 monthly charge from Netflix won't be interested.