HBO without cable TV? Here's the secret
Want to cut the cord but don't want to miss out on 'Game of Thrones' or 'True Detective'? Some providers offer an Internet and HBO plan -- if you know how to ask.
So you're thinking about cutting the cord on cable TV, but worry you'll miss HBO? There's a way to get what you want.
HBO won't sell access to its online streaming service HBO Go directly to consumers. (ESPN, another often-cited reason for why people stick with cable, has the same policy.) To get a login, you must go to a cable TV company, which usually tries to upsell you on a pricey package that includes lots of channels you don't want.
Frustrated, some would-be customers just cut cable and "borrow" an HBO Go login from a friend. (An HBO spokesman says those logins are "limited to those residing in the home.")
But in recent months, many big cable companies have wised up that they might lose a slowly growing niche of cable-cutting customers. Several of them now will sell a package that include just Internet, HBO (and HBO Go) and the most basic of TV. You're not exactly without cable TV, but you're with much, much less of it.
It's like ordering off the secret menu at In-and-Out Burger -- you have to know what to ask for:
- Comcast (CMCSA): "Internet Plus"
- Time Warner Cable (TWC): "Starter TV+HBO and an Internet plan"
- Verizon (VZ) FiOS: "50/25 Mbps + Local News and Sports + HBO (or Showtime)"
- AT&T (T) U-Verse: "HBO Internet Plus"
I called up some of the biggest cable companies, and representatives from four of them talked about the packages they offer.
This worked for my family with Comcast. We called their hotline and said we wanted to "downgrade" service. After we said the magic words "Internet Plus," we were able to switch from a triple-play package costing $212 per month to "Internet plus" with broadband, about 10 cable channels and HBO (with HBO Go) for about $75 per month. Keep in mind, this eliminates landline phone service through the cable company.
A warning anytime you try to downgrade or cut off service: Cable companies sometimes can unfortunately make things confusing, or even confrontational, with their customers.
They could at any time change the names of these special options, or ditch them completely. Either move would be the wrong choice. If they do, or hassle you to keep higher-paying services, just keep saying: "I want Internet and HBO."
Let me know how it goes for you in the comments.
More from The Wall Street Journal
Here in Central N.Y. you get Marvelous choices of cable providers.......
Time Warner..........or Time Warner............or Time Warner.........or even Time Warner.........
NOPE.......NO "Monopolies" here..............
I chose door #5......"No Cable" and my BIG MIDDLE FINGER to Time Warner & the FCC!!!!!!!!
Even better, dewed rinse cowboy,
TAKE AWAY THEIR MONOPOLIES. Let them compete, if they can, with everybody.
There is no such thing as a "needed" monopoly in this day and age. Anybody telling you different, has a vested interest in preserving the monopoly, or is just plain ignorant of economics. Same thing with the electric and gas companies. If they say that a monopoly is "needed" to "serve the consumer better, and keep prices low," then they're selling YOU a gold brick.
my wife and I just moved a couple of months ago and when we left our old place we cut off Dish. Can't have a satellite at our new place and Time Warner was our only TV option. For "Standard" TV which was 200 channels and Internet it was going to be $175.00. I do not like TW anyway plus of those 200 channels 25 are Spanish, 17 of them shopping channel and almost every HD channel ad a duplicate SD channel. Of all of it there were probably maybe, just maybe 10-12 channels I ever watched but only li 5 or 6 regularly. So I did some research, dusted off my Xbox 360, ordered AT&T High Speed for $35.00, downloaded Netflix and even Amazon Prime and bought a decent HD off air Antenna. With the antenna I get like 25 channels and the series on Netflix are awesome plus I get to watch any favorite series a few days after the air on Network. Then there is the library of movies, I used to have HBO and Showtime ad realized that a lot of the movies they were showing were just old movies ad I watched because I was paying for them.
Now we pay just about $50.00 a month, I miss History Channel but not that much and I spend less time mindless staring at something I really do not want to watch but was all the Cable company had to offer.
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