Netflix Flirts with HBO Streaming

Netflix Flirts with HBO Streaming

Sonia Zjawinski
Feb 13, 2009

We don't have cable, though we sure do love watching TV. The main reason we don't is that we don't agree with the cable payment structure. Why do we have to pay close to $100 for hundreds of channels we don't want. We don't care about the 15 different ESPN models, do you? We want Comedy Central, Bravo, E!, HBO and Showtime (maybe MTV for the stomach turning Sweet Sixteen series). And in most cases we only want to watch or two shows on these networks.

This has led us to boycott cable, opting instead to get a few channels for free via our antenna, and then watching select shows the day after on Hulu or months after via Netflix. While this works out pretty well, the hiccup we've encountered is with networks that don't participate with Hulu or just wanting to be up to date with the pop culture knowledge people are throwing out. Showtime, for example, made their pilot episode of The United States of Tara available via Netflix and a handful of other online venues for free and we got addicted, but all other episodes have not been available and won't be until the show comes out on DVD after the season closes. Sometimes I don't want to wait until everyone else has seen a show to watch it. This is why we're so interested in the idea Netflix has thrown around.

The DVD subscription service, which recently launched a "Watch Instantly" feature to stream shows and movies through your broadband service, is playing with the idea of offering current HBO fare as a watch instantly feature you'd pay $10 extra a month for...

Netflix has sent a survey to subscribers asking them to "Imagine Netflix gave you a way to instantly watch HBO original series and movies streamed from the Internet to your computer or TV." What's unclear is whether or not the $10 service would only let you watch HBO shows that are currently available on DVD or whether you'd be able to watch new shows as they air. We wouldn't pay an extra $10 a month to watch old shows, but we would pay $10 extra to watch new ones so we could keep up with the water cooler chatter.

When we emailed Netflix for clarification we were told, "The survey was a one-time survey of a small number of Netflix subscribers, one of hundreds of surveys the company does each month. There are no plans or outcomes from it so there's nothing to report!"


Image: Photoshopped from Netflix screen grab