This week, HBO has finally announced they will offer their streaming service to cord cutters and others without a cable subscription starting in 2015. For cord cutters like myself, this is the best news since the invention of refrigeration (sliced bread is way overrated.)
I’ve always considered HBO to have the best original programming on any network. AMC gives them a run for their money, and Netflix shows promise with “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” However, HBO has been consistently delivering quality for several years now. I’m hard pressed to think of a show developed by HBO in the past 5 years that wasn’t fairly outstanding.
When leaving cable behind in 2013 I had three major concerns. First, how would I watch NFL games? Second, where would I enjoy my beloved Orioles? Finally, and most importantly, how would I watch “Game of Thrones?”
The solution to watch the NFL was simple. An antenna allows watching the Ravens game every Sunday, and I’m close enough to D.C. to check out their football team as well. Furthermore, the antenna also provides access to every show on broadcast television. Hence, the reason I’m not writing about CBS and their latest scheme to shake down consumers.
My solution for Orioles games took a little adjustment. MASN is the regional network in my area. They have a monopoly on the MLB games in the Mid-Atlantic. They do not put the games online, so if you do not have cable, then you’re not watching. However, you don’t need to watch baseball to enjoy baseball.
Aside from going to “The Yard”, nothing beats listening to a game on the radio. I know it sounds like I just told everyone that if you go to bed before it’s dark you don’t have to buy light bulbs, but it’s true. If you’ve listened to a game on the radio, you know what I’m talking about. Everyone else should give it a try.
Watching “Game of Thrones” however, turned out to be much more difficult. HBO has their content on lockdown. You can check out back issues of their shows through Amazon Prime, but for new content, you need to beg, borrow and steal.
We would try to convince friends to have a “Game of Thrones” party every Sunday. That works for a few weeks, but then you are depending on one of your HBO friends to have every Sunday available. It’s also not honorable to be mooching HBO from cable subscribers when you are constantly putting down cable TV.
HBO GO is a solution, but you must travel to a cable subscribing friend or family’s house. No one ever just uses someone else’s HBO GO without having a cable subscription. That never happens, as it’s extremely wrong. It’s wrong to open my laptop after writing this, and use my cousin’s account to watch “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” It would be wrong, even if he hypothetically said it was okay to watch it . . . on Friday . . . at noon . . . after publishing a blog post. I’ll also add, bit torrents are sorcery and only exist in fairy tales.
So it’s clear, there is no possible way to watch Game of Thrones without a cable subscription. If you have the fortitude you can wait the obscenely long time between the season ending, and HBO making it available from Netflix. By then you will have read the actors quotes from the half of the cast that was killed off that season.
All these troubles subside in 2015. HBO is cutting the cord, and will finally let us all pay them for their quality programming. There is an assumption in the blogosphere that this will take the form of their HBO GO offering. However, HBO has been tight-lipped on what this service will look like, or how much it will cost.
There is a torrent of speculation in the media on what form this HBO service will take, yet it is all conjecture. There are no solid facts on what this will look like. I won’t waste your time imagining what HBO will do, but you can read it here once the details are available.
With HBO cutting the cord, the reasons for subscribing to cable TV are dwindling. Once the New Year rolls in, sports will be the only reason left for people to keep paying for their subscriptions. Although, as with my experience, I find there are always workable solutions if you think outside the cable box. I’m just glad I will no longer need one for “Game of Thrones.”
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