You Can Get HBO Without Having Cable, But It's Not Really Worth ItS

In an article in The Wall Street Journal, media and marketing editor Martin Peers lays out the complicated manner in which he was able to get HBO without being beholden to a bundle of other cable channels—but before you start showering your roommates in bits of electrical wire in a cord-cutting celebration dance, it's important to note that Peers didn't really get rid of all his channels, and he didn't save much money either.

Peers, a Verizon Fios customer, cancelled his cable and phone service, and just kept his broadband internet. Fortuitously, the Verizon service rep persuaded Peers to accept their offer of just the basic free network channels, and gave him a $5 credit off his broadband bill—no doubt as an incentive to lure him back to the pricier cable bundles. Thanks to the 1992 Cable Act, television service providers have to provide premium channels to consumers even on basic tiers, so for a promotional rate of $10 more, Peers received HBO. He refused the set-top cable box (rental price of which varies, but is around five to ten dollars a month), and streams HBO via their HBOGo app on his AppleTV. All in, the service still costs him almost $80 a month.

While HBO has been reticent to open up their streaming services via an a la carte subscription model, so as not to alienate the major cable providers that carry them, unless you're ready to move to Canada, a la carte cable isn't in your future just yet. The better option? Bribing your coworker to share their HBO Go login with you instead.