I regularly admit that I do not keep up with television shows, despite the fact that I know there are some great programs I am missing. However, the high cost of cable has never been worth the one or two shows that I attempted to keep up with, so my wife and I pulled the plug about two years ago. With Netflix streaming directly to my Blu-Ray player and easy access to Hulu for television shows, I find that I do not miss cable one bit and the amount of money we have saved has been significant.
However, there is one channel that it pains me a little to be without: HBO. The most respected premium channel is home to an enormous catalog of original series, mini-series, and made for television movies. Curb Your Enthusiasm, my favorite television show, is on HBO. So is True Blood, my biggest guilty pleasure and a perfect Summer time distraction. I have also recently finished the first book in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series and would like to see the much-hyped show Game of Thrones that is based on Martin’s work.
Despite the massive popularity for many of their shows, HBO limits access to those who pay for a full cable subscription plus a premium channel package. In various markets the cost of all that ranges from $70 – $120 per month. With each day more people are dropping their cable subscriptions and my assumption based on anecdotal evidence is that younger people are more apt to go without cable and rely on streaming services. Access to most programs is now available for relatively cheap, but HBO shows are still frustratingly unavailable (as wonderfully demonstrated by this Oatmeal comic).
According to a recent article in Forbes, despite the fact that Game of Thrones has been illegally downloaded over 25 million times just this year, HBO has no plans to make their shows more easily accessible. Co-president Eric Kessler is quoted in the article saying that cable cord cutting has been “minimal” and it is largely due to “macroeconomic” conditions, and not a general embrace of technology and streaming services by the younger generation. It seems like a naive statement, but it does seem to indicate that there will be no legal way to watch HBO unless you have a cable subscription.
Personally, I would gladly pay $15/month for access to HBO especially if I was capable of streaming it directly to my Blu-Ray player. I just do not want to pay $60/month for a needless cable service in order to do it. Some might say it is arrogant for me to demand that HBO should offer their services for the price that I’m willing to pay, but I would have to imagine that many others are in a similar situation. We live in a “Right Now” society and HBO should accommodate in order to keep their services strong and avoid alienating the younger, wireless generation.
That leads us to this week’s poll question. Vote for your answer below and share your reasoning in the comments!