Next year, you may be able to watch Game of Thrones as it airs without a cable subscription... and without resorting to less-than-legal avenues. Time Warner, HBO's parent company, has announced plans to offer a standalone HBO streaming service next year. The announcement is actually fairly short and to the point, so I'll reproduce it here it is in its entirety:
Speaking at the Time Warner Inc. Investor Meeting today, Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO, announced that the company will offer a stand-alone HBO streaming service in 2015. Following a portion of his presentation focused on HBO's domestic business, during which he cited significant growth opportunities inside the pay-TV universe, Plepler then turned to the current ten million broadband-only homes, which is projected to grow.
Plepler then added:
"That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.
"So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. 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."
I canceled my own cable subscription a while ago in favor of faster Internet service. Assuming the HBO service works reasonably well, I could see a lot of other folks cutting the cord. More importantly, if HBO's foray into standalone streaming succeeds, it could encourage other networks to follow suit. Cable bundles seem like an awfully outdated concept, and I'd be glad to see them die a quick death.