If you’ve ever felt like you’d subscribe to cable just for HBO, Comcast might have a plan that makes sense.
Comcast is now offering an “Internet Plus” plan that includes broadband Internet, HBO (and HBO Go), 10 basic cable channels and access to Comcast’s Streampix video service. The price Comcast lists on its website is $50 per month for the first year.
DSLReports, which broke the news, claims that pricing will increase by $20 per month for six months after the promotion period. After that, it’ll be $30 more expensive than the original promotion. Pricing will likely vary depending on where you live.
Even if you’re not a Comcast subscriber, it’s a noteworthy move, as it’s the first time HBO has been available in the United States as part of what’s essentially an Internet-only package. (Disclosure: HBO is a subsidiary of Time Warner, which also owns TIME Inc.)
According to Variety’s “Comcast insiders,” this isn’t a sign of the company moving toward a la carte, where you only pay for the channels you want, but it’s hard not to see this as an unbundling of sorts. Although Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has insisted that HBO won’t go standalone anytime soon, this comes pretty close, considering that most people subscribe to home Internet to begin with.
With Netflix now touting more subscribers than HBO, Time Warner may be feeling the pressure to make its service more widely available. Studies have shown that younger audiences are skipping cable and going straight to the Internet for their viewing needs, so perhaps Comcast thinks it can use HBO to lure people back to the TV bundle.