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HBO Announces Netflix-Like Online Streaming Service, No Cable Subscription Required

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Yahoo Tech
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Update: Don’t get your hopes up for cheap access to HBO just yet, folks. According to Barlcays analysts, the cable company could charge $18 a month for its streaming service, $3 more than cable providers usually charge.

HBO lovers who don’t want to shell out for a cable subscription, your day has finally arrived: An HBO executive has announced that the premium channel behind True Detective and Game of Thrones will offer a standalone Web-based streaming service in 2015.

During an investor meeting with HBO’s parent company Time Warner, HBO CEO Richard Plepler said the company will debut a “standalone, over the top” offering in the U.S. next year, Re/code’s Peter Kafka reports.

Plepler went on to indicate that HBO would work with its existing partners in the move, signaling that the company isn’t willing to kill its relationship with cable providers.

The streaming service would give viewers access to HBO’s programming without having to sign up for an expensive cable package deal. Instead, customers would simply subscribe to HBO’s Web-based offering, presumably paying a monthly fee like you might with Netflix or Hulu Plus.

Plepler did not announce a price or a launch date for the service, and further details beyond the existence of the service are scant.

The move could signal a change in the cable landscape, as more TV watchers seek less pricey ways to access their favorite content. Services like Netflix and Hulu Plus have proved that customers are willing to pay for subscription-based programming, so it only makes sense for a major provider like HBO to follow suit, especially when you consider the success of its HBO GO app.

The question now becomes this: Will other cable channels jump on the bandwagon? And, if so, will we finally get the kind of à la carte cable programming that consumers have been begging for? One can only hope.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+ here.