A cable subscription is an expensive thing. Add premium channels on top of that, and your monthly bill might start to look more like an untenable luxury than an everyday comfort. If your primary weakness is for Showtime's serials, though, go ahead and cut the cord: You can now get Showtime as a standalone service, and watch the premium channel's programming on a variety of devices and services.
The details of Showtime's new service are available on the company's website. The first 30 days are free, but every month after that costs $11. In comparison, HBO Now -- the standalone service launched by Showtime's rival pay channel earlier this year -- costs $15.
In addition to streaming new episodes of ongoing shows like Homeland, Masters of Sex and Penny Dreadful, viewers can also go back and watch the entire back catalog of Showtime hits like Dexter and Weeds. There are more than 20 shows in all available through the service.
Subscribing to the service is simple, although you will need a device that supports it. At present, PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Roku players and Roku TV can access Showtime's standalone service (simply called Showtime). On a computer, visit the Showtime website and follow the instructions onscreen. For other devices, download the app, then go through the setup process. You will need a credit card and billing information, but you won't have to pay until the second month of service begins.
Users with a subscription to either Hulu Plus or PlayStation Vue can get Showtime at a reduced price ($9 per month). For more details, visit either company's website. Remember that you will still get the first month for free, but future months will cost a little less than the standard $11 charge. (And keeping all of your subscriptions in one place is a nice perk as well.)
Whether Showtime really warrants $11 per month for about two dozen shows will likely be a bone of contention for streaming fans, but either way, the service is here, and you can try it before you buy it. With HBO and Showtime both offering standalone services, other premium channels may soon follow suit.