Comcast, the Philadelphia-based media company, has begun offering HBO as a part of one of its basic TV and Internet packages.
Starting this month, consumers can sign up for a Comcast plan called Internet Plus, which includes Wi-Fi at a rate of 25 megabits-per-second; access to stations such as Fox, NBC, and CBS; and a subscription to HBO. The cost in most parts of the US will be $39.99 a month, although DSL Reports, which broke the whole story, says that some regions will see a monthly price of $49.99.
Either way, the deal looks like a pretty good one, especially for users who can do without the glut of basic cable channels – Comedy Central, ESPN, MSNBC among them.
"What’s notable about Comcast’s Internet Plus promo is that it leads with broadband as the primary service and touts any-screen access to TV shows – a pitch intended to prevent broadband-only subs from cutting the TV cord," notes Todd Spangler of Variety.
Perhaps the best part of an HBO subscription, of course, is free rein to watch videos on the much-beloved HBO Go mobile app, which conveniently houses thousands of hours of HBO programming, from "Game of Thrones" to "Boardwalk Empire." HBO has been pretty leery of unbundling the app – i.e. offering it as a standalone product.
Does the Comcast offer mean that HBO is inching closer to selling independent HBO Go subscriptions? Don't bet on it, writes Joan E. Solsman of CNET.
"For one, Comcast is a cable company, and cable companies are holding formation against becoming purveyors of Internet-delivered TV service," she writes. "After making decades of big investments in their distribution infrastructure, cable companies want people to be watching video by paying for a video service. Though they're happy to provide video on multiple platforms, they're toeing the line that subscribers must be paying for their TV service to get it."