Cutting The Cable Cord

HBO cuts the cord: Is this the beginning of the end of cable TV as we know it?

HBO cuts the cord: Is this the end of cable TV as we know it?

HBO Go logo on black
HBO has decided to offer programming directly to viewers by making its HBO Go a stand-alone product. HBOGo.com
Game of Thrones wallpaper
One of HBO's most popular series, Game of Thrones. Fullyavinit.com
News_Netflix_logo_March 2011
Netflix already offers a streaming service separate from cable subscriptions. Courtesy photo
HBO Go logo on black
Game of Thrones wallpaper
News_Netflix_logo_March 2011

HBO took a shot across the bow of the cable TV industry by announcing it plans to offer a streaming service separate from cable subscriptions, effectively cutting the cord as a stand-alone product.

Consumers of the boob tube have long complained about being forced to purchase channels they weren’t interested in to get the channels they want. Not interested in sports? Too bad because you are still going to get ESPN, one of the most expensive channels out there.

 Soon after the HBO announcement, CBS joined in, announcing a stand-alone online streaming service called CBS All Access 

In a rare display of bipartisanship, Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) attempted to introduce legislation that would have allowed consumers more choices, but that effort stalled out.

Now HBO has decided to join companies like Netflix and Amazon by offering programming directly to viewers. There are 80 million households in the U.S. that currently do not get HBO and the cable channel is counting on many of them wanting their programs without having to get a slew of channels they’re not interested in.

Soon after the HBO announcement, CBS joined in, announcing a stand-alone online streaming service called CBS All Access. The service will charge $5.99 a month for full seasons of the network’s current daytime and primetime shows, as well as thousands of episodes from such classics as Hogan's Heroes and Friends.

Currently it is estimated that 45 percent of Americans stream television shows at least once a month and that number is certain to grow. Is this the start of the demise of cable television? It may be too soon to tell, but when a broadcast outlet like HBO breaks away from the pack, you can be sure cable executives will be tuned in.