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Rumor: Comcast to Include HBO in Cheaper Cable Bundle

Cable giant Comcast and TV powerhouse HBO will soon offer a streamlined bundle to customers that contains basic channels, broadband Internet access and HBO, according to an article on DSL Reports.

This option would provide a less expensive way for viewers to get HBO in their homes, forgoing the need to subscribe to larger and more expensive cable packages that often exceed $100 per month.

The rumored package would be named “Internet Plus" and would feature 20 basic channels, video on demand, video streaming through Comcast's SteamPix service, 25 Mbps broadband Internet and HBO.

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According to the report, the service would launch this month for a cost of $40 - $50 per month (depending on the location) for the first year, then increasing to $70 and $80 afterward.

This move would continue HBO's strategy of the last few years, which is to get its service in more homes and on more devices.

In 2010 it launched HBO Go, an online streaming service for subscribers that has since become available on phones and tablets, Xbox video game consoles, Samsung Smart TVs and media devices such as Apple TV and Roku.

As streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus, all of which are available on a variety of devices, became popular in the last few years, cable companies began to worry about losing subscribers, due to the perceived difference in value between a cheap service that can cost only $10 per month and cable bills that can run into the triple digits.

Established cable companies lost 1.8 million subscribers in the last quarter, compared to 325,000 lost in Q2 2012 (as reported by Multichannel News). That may indicate a wave of cord-cutting is just around the corner.

Comcast may be trying out the effectiveness of lower-priced bundles in case the company is forced to offer "a la carte" cable service, which would let customers pick and choose which channel they want and destroy the bundling model that has been the industry standard for decades.

Senator John McCain has been pushing for unbundling for years, introducing the Television Consumer Freedom Act in May. The act is currently in committee, awaiting a decision on whether it will come to the Senate floor.

Source: DSL Reports

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