HBO Finally Offering Online Streaming Without a Cable Package


Rejoice, all you television-philes. That which we've so long hoped for will soon come to pass: HBO announced today that starting next year, its shows will be available via an online streaming service—no cable subscription necessary.

Entertainment Weekly reports:

Cord-cutting HBO fans have increasingly clamored for the service to be made available without a traditional cable subscription. The network's most popular program in its history, Game of Thrones, has been ranked the most pirated TV show in the world, and one common refrain among illegal downloaders is that there is no way to legally obtain the series in a timely manner without opting into an expensive cable TV package.

HBO launched a streaming app called HBO Go in 2010 to view its current programs, but it's only available to subscribers of its traditional cable service. The network took another step into the streaming world earlier this year by licensing a large portion of its library to Amazon Prime.

Earlier this summer, a Movoto analysis found Game of Thrones is the TV show most frequently illegally downloaded across the country. Even relative to the national average, it was the top torrented show in fifteen states:

Top torrented TV shows according to Movoto

Love TV? Read all about it in this month's magazine, includng Peter Suderman on how murder, treachery, and mayhem made TV a "vast wasteland" no more.

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  1. What the hell is Penny Dreadful?

    1. . . . A period horror show based on the 1800s equivalent of cheap comic-book/paperbacks (know as penny dreadfuls).

      1. And the only reason to watch it . . .…..k=FL0Uf–H

      2. …that isn’t bad but can be confusing as hell sometimes, but at least it stars Eva Green.

        1. I wanted so much to like this show. There are moments of brilliance, but lots of time when nothing is happening interrupted by too much happening too quickly.

          1. I did too, it’s just that they are too willing to be way, way too vague as to what the fuck is going on at any moment. The first time Eva Green gets possessed I was just like “uh, what the hell is going on here?” Of course I was stoned which didn’t help.

            I guess the moral of this story is don’t watch Penny Dreadful while stoned.

            1. It is the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; done better (which isn’t saying a lot).

        2. I watched the pilot the other day and wondered if the rest of the season would be worth it.

          Storywise, I mean. I can see tits anytime.

          1. There are way too many stories being told at the same time. Every classic horror story is in there. Not enough time spent on any one story and constantly shifting between stories.

            If they writers could settle on single story arc for the season, the should could be very good. I was quite disappointed with Season 1. I will give Season 2 a few episodes to make sense or I will give up on it.

        3. Eva Green. Yum.

    2. Did you read about that in one of those dime novels?

  2. Market demand in action. Much better and beneficial than to simply sic the government on the pirating websites and users.

  3. So people can finally start using the internet to watch poorly-written videos of people fucking?

    1. I thought you could already do that?

      1. but this has better acting *sniff*

        1. It’s all about the emotions for the wiminz folk. Or at least that’s what someone told me once.

          1. I don’t believe in keeping a television in the kitchen.

  4. Montana: the most Southern Northern state, I guess.

    1. Vermont or New Hampshire. Same diff.

      1. Ted Turner doesn’t own a compound in Vermont nor New Hampshire.

  5. But will HBO be able to resist going after torrenters now that they have a revenue model for the cableless?

    1. We have to stop the terrorists and the torrenters, for the children.

  6. Ot: Most progressive mayor in one of country’s most progressive cities hires African American woman as press secretary. She sues for $1 million because of discrimination.

    Let me guess… NOW it’s a bullshit lawsuit.

    Rosalind Brazel, 42, was Murray’s first press secretary after he took office in January, but she was replaced in March after a couple of public snafus, including a news release mourning the death of a local figure who hadn’t died.…..ngxml.html


    1. Finally, someone gets it.

    2. Xfinity/Comcast, the local SEattle provider didn’t allow HBO subscribers to use the HBO app on their smart TVs until recently. It’s pimp. I get HD access to all HBO movies now and I don’t have to pay the HD package through my cable provider. I just pay the same ridiculously overpriced fee for the regular service.

      As my father used to say, the prices have merely gone from the outrageous to the ridiculous.

  8. Does anyone know why The Big Bang Theory is so popular?

    I’ve tried to watch it a few times and it is terrible. It’s cause of the blonde chick, right? It has to be. The writing is just awful.

    1. It’s because people have terrible taste. See also How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.

      1. Obviously a sign that the proles have way too much time on their hands.

        1. No, that studio execs have too much time on their hands.

        2. If we lived in a post-capitalist Socialism, no one would have this kind of time.

          1. I wonder if TV sucks in The Culture.

            1. In the Culture, TV watches you!

            2. In The Culture, TV is a fully-immersive f***-party.

    2. Nerds and nerd love became cool. Why I don’t know, because as soon as nerds and geeks went mainstream they lost their nerdhood.

    3. I found the first couple/few seasons entertaining because it did somewhat remind me of my social circle; we’re all huge nerds.

      But I can only handle so much, and it seemed like the characters became caricatures of themselves as the series went on. I haven’t watched it in years, so maybe it got better?

      1. Sitcoms don’t get better, they just suck worse and worse until they become what they are at heart: 30 minutes of canned laughter.

        1. Moments like this are why I sometimes think it was better that Firefly was cut down in its prime.

          How heartbreaking would it be if Joss’d had enough time to piss all over it?

          1. People have raised this issue before, and my take is that I’d rather have gotten several more seasons with at least some great episodes in each one, and unfortunately probably some pretty bad ones, than nothing. It’s not like it was two full seasons and then cancel. It was half of one.

            1. The first 13 episodes of Homicide are the best. Even the good ones afterward pale in comparison.

              In show biz, better to burn out than fade away.

          2. Moments like this are why I sometimes think it was better that Firefly was cut down in its prime.

            How heartbreaking would it be if Joss’d had enough time to piss all over it?

            Think how people think of BSG or Lost.

            1. Shhh! I haven’t finished BSG yet. D:

              But I can see Episiarch’s point above. It really would’ve been nice to get a few more really great episodes out of that show, even if there were some terrible throw-away episodes.

              I mean, what if they really did plan to go to the crappy town where Wash was a hero?

              1. There is no need to watch the last BSG season. Heed my words and spare yourself the pain.

          3. Firefly was cut down WAY before its prime.

            1. FireFly never had or was going to have ‘its prime’. It wasn’t a good show.

              1. Firefly did have it’s prime.

                Serenity was a great movie.

        2. Series are hard to watch, almost no matter how good they are. No one including me has the stamina to sit every week for eight years and watch “my show”.

          That’s why I’m more leaning towards series with a pre-defined story arc like GoT or True Detective.

          I can get into it, love the shit out of it and then when it’s done, it’s done.

          1. I always thought the miniseries or a limited series should become the new thing now. Allow them to think up more unusual premises and not drag out the story. Problem is this means no more syndication dollars.

            1. American Horror Story. Each season is a new arc.

              True Detective is running the same game.

            2. The telenovelas. 🙂

          2. “pre-defined story arc like GoT”

            except it (GoT) hasn’t been defined. Readers know that the fat fuck will die before he finishes it. The finish will suck, when written by HBO comittee.

            But I absolutely agree. Short arc mini-series for the win.

            ‘Luther’ on BBC comes to mind.

            But FUCK HBO for ‘Deadwood’.

            1. Blame HBO for the writers’ strike?

        3. I’m pretty sure sitcoms are at heart old vaudeville routines? The sitcom did grow out of that form and the live audience (or laugh track if they are not available) is an artifact of that.

          1. I don’t think vaudeville routines ever subjected their patrons to boring-ass shit like “character growth”. I blame the Hayes Code.

            1. The Hays Code had nothing to do with TV or radio, you can blame the FCC for content rules.

              Also I’m sure “character growth” has more to do with increasing serialization rather than the old notion that TV was like an anthology series so no need for real continuity.

    4. People have different taste and what is the most popular is usually not very high brow. The highest rated TV show is Sunday Night Football after all. The popular youtube video is Gagnam style, followed by Beiber and J-Lo.

    5. Someone on youtube muted the laugh track. Without it, Sheldon is just a complete dick.

      I kind of enjoyed the first season or so, but then the premise got old. I’m an engineer, and find it disturbing that that when I tell someone that, they’re going to think of that show. Then, I’m going to have to spend all that time dispelling the idea that I collect action figures, wear power rangers pajamas, and spend all my free time playing Halo with 8 year olds.

      1. Someone on youtube muted the laugh track.

        That struck me as rather dubious. Eliminate the crowd sounds of any stand up routine and they would sound pretty lame too.

        1. Buffalo Bill (1983) and Frank’s Place (1987). No laugh tracks, but fucking awesome 30 minute comedies.

          1. So, they never had laugh tracks in the first place. The actors are reacting to the crowd noise so eliminating them makes it look unnaturally awkward.

        2. But the show isn’t filmed live. The actors have to add unnatural pauses when delivering lines to let the sound tape a laugh track over it. They aren’t reacting, they’re anticipating that what they say will be funny.

          And the point isn’t that the laugh track makes the show. It’s that without the laugh track telling the audience what’s supposed to be a joke, the characters/dialogue just aren’t very humorous.

          1. The Big Bang Theory is filmed with a live audience.

            1. Just googled. There’s actually a difference between being live and being filmed with a live audience.

              “live” = no retakes, the show must go on
              “filmed live” means there’s an audience but they’ll re-take scenes etc.

              I wonder if they have “Laugh!” signs similar to “Applause!” If not, they must find the world’s most slap happy audiences.

              Or maybe I just find it funny…

      2. I watched the show for about 90 seconds one time and about 30 seconds another time (I couldn’t find the fucking remote).

        What a terrible show.

      3. I heard that How I Met Your Mother is actually really good at least for the first few seasons.

      4. The biggest collectors of action figures are police officers, not engineers.

    6. every. single. line that Sheldon utters is followed by a laugh-track. It is absolutely unbearable.

  9. And California=Fargo? That’s a movie. Or is it a show? How the hell could you make that movie into a show?

    1. It’s interesting that the Fargo watchers are on the west coast, and the Californication watchers are in the SouthEast and Michigan.

    2. It’s a bitchin’ show. Billy Bob Thornton was superb.

      We’re right hooked…

      1. Billy Bob Thornton was superb

        Ah man, spoilers!

        1. …when the show ran…he was superb…not spoiling anything…

          *looks away, nervously*

      2. It was a great show.

    3. FX made it into a miniseries. It was actually extremely well-done and I highly recommend it.

      1. THis^^

        Great actors. More depth to the story.

        I think they’re talking about another season, though… Not sure that’ll work.

    4. There is wide agreement that the Fargo TV show is better than the movie.

      1. What made it comparable in quality to the Coen Brothers was the perfect casting. Not just lead actors in Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Alison Tolman, but also the supporting cast like Bob Odenkirk, Glenn Howerton, Oliver Platt and Keith Carradine.

      2. there’s wide agreement on global warming, too.

  10. Does this mean that HBO is going to start merchandising more too? Because I’ll tell you right now that Episiarch would definitely pre-order the Lena Dunham fleshlight to use while he watched Girls

    1. That link has terrifying promise.

  11. About time.

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