HBO announced yesterday that it would be launching a new Internet streaming service in 2015 that will let you watch its programs without owning a cable subscription. Holy s**t.
Then today, CBS announced a new Internet streaming service that will let you watch its shows, excluding NFL football, without the need for a (pricey) cable subscription.
In 24 hours, the game has been changed. The most critically acclaimed network (HBO) and the most popularly watched network (CBS) are placing their bets on the future of Internet-provided television. And just like that, the cable bundle has been unhinged more in the last 24 hours than in the previous 24 months.
For many citizens, like New Yorkers, who pay an arm and a leg for cable, this news is amazing.
Hulu has become a mega popular way to watch networks like ABC, FOX, NBC, Comedy Central, Animal Planet, ABC News, BET, BBC, Bravo, and E!, to name just a handful. Hulu, especially Hulu Plus, is the gateway to the majority of television without the unpleasant cable bill. There is a small monthly fee for Hulu Plus, but it’s a fraction of the cost of cable.
CBS appears to be part of Hulu, but don’t be fooled. They do not have up-to-date episodes, just older seasons, and only of a small selection of the network’s big hits (i.e. The Good Wife, The Amazing Race). No where to be found are the new Good Wife episodes or any semblance of the channel’s major comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The current biggest comedy on television is missing in action right now if you don’t have a cable provider.
The CBS App the network is currently pushing doesn’t have the most recent episodes of shows either (it’s about a week or two behind). Overall, CBS’s new streaming service will definitely improve the situation for the channel’s fans.
As far as HBO, the network’s excellent HBO GO service is incredible. At your fingertips is the entire history of the network’s shows, every single episode of every show. And the service is incredibly current. If Game of Thrones is airing on 9 pm on a Sunday, HBO GO has that episode available at 9 pm that same night. The app also has a rotating (and awesome!) selection of movies, both HBO Films and otherwise, as well as documentaries and sports programs. But in order to access HBO GO, you have to have a subscription to HBO, which therefore means you have to have cable.
So the news that HBO will be offering a streaming service that doesn’t require a cable subscription is revolutionary as well.
Cable providers shouldn’t have to worry too much. The vast majority of older households happily pay for their cable bills. But younger Americans are different. They are computer savvy and are used to the array of television options available. Some might actually find the mess of options easier to deal with than a cable box and a Time Warner Cable representative.
According to comScore, 24 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds do not have cable subscriptions. The pay-TV business hopes this group will sign up for cable when they become parents i.e. the older demographics.
But between these two new options, along with Hulu and Netflix, the days of needing cable to watch your favorite programs are most likely numbered.