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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.

MORE: 10 Great Shows No Longer on Netflix – and Where to Find Them

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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  • bak0n
    Until they let me bundle only the channels I want I'll keep my HDTV antenna, hulu and netflix.
    Reply
  • brucek2
    Would the 20 channels be the HD versions, or limited to just SD feeds?
    Reply
  • ubercake
    You know Comcast. By year 3 Comcast will be charging over $100 for the same service unless you're a new customer. Then you go to the competition for a number of months or years so you can get the 'Welcome back' discount for two years, then Comcast jacks the price up well beyond reason, you switch again and so on.

    It's good to be a new Comcast customer, but bad to be an existing customer after year 1 or year 2.
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    Thanks for sticking around! /slap
    Reply
  • Darkk
    The "a la carte" idea been around for years which cable companies does not want to offer. Bundles always made them the most money forcing subs to pick a tier with the channels they want.

    I am happy to see this is being pushed through. Hopefully it'll become law.

    Meanwhile, Comcast is trying to keep much of their subs as they can by offering some "perks". The past few years they have been adding more bandwidth to cable service as my speeds kept on getting higher and higher with no caps. No complaints here.

    Thanks to Netflix, Amazon and others it forced satellite and cable companies to compete. Dish and DirecTV are losing subs pretty fast. My neighborhood is littered with unused dishes on their roofs. My house included. Some even mounted HD antenna on the dish's mount.

    Who knows what Comcast and other cable companies will do if this trend continues. Maybe they will focus more on becoming internet only provider so they wouldn't have to deal with content fees.
    Reply