On HBO GO and Cutting Cable

MG Siegler’s open letter to HBO:

I’d gladly pay you upwards of $19.99 a month for direct access to HBO Go without a cable subscription. Netflix charges $7.99 a month for their streaming service right now, but thanks to your original programming, you’re worth a lot more. But Netflix original programming is coming soon, so your premium buffer won’t last forever. The time to strike is now.

If you could remove your lips from the cable company teet for a minute, you’d find hundreds of thousands — and likely millions — of customers happy to pay a premium for access to HBO Go without the cable requirement right now. That number is only going to grow. And fast.

Man, this is something I can totally get behind. All in all, our cable bill isn’t terrible — $130 a month for a Comcast package that includes Internet access and whatever that channel lineup is that’s a step above local channels only, plus HD. But it could always be lower, particularly given all the little channels we never watch.

Meanwhile, we watch something via Netflix streaming nearly every night of the week.

Siegler wants HBO GO now, and heck, so do I — its back catalog of every episode of “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” is worth the price of admission by itself. But I think we’re fooling ourselves if we think HBO’s going to decouple from the cable guys anytime soon.

Still, the existence of HBO GO is good sign, and it provides the company a quick way out should the cable TV environment suddenly change, say, when a certain Cupertino tech company decides to unveil its rethink of what TV should be. HBO GO is a great app, after all.