Here Are The Magic Words You Need To Know To Get HBO Without A Big Cable Package

First, the good news: Presumably in the hopes of preventing prospective cord cutters from completely severing said cord, most of the major cable companies have started rolling out lower-cost packages that bundle the Internet with a very limited selection of cable channels. And, if you play your cards right and know exactly what to ask for, one of those cable channels could be HBO, which comes with access to HBO Go. The Wall Street Journal did some poking around and uncovered such a plan for four of the nation’s largest cable providers. Here they are:

  • Comcast: “Internet Plus”
  • AT&T: “HBO Internet Plus”
  • Verizon: “50/25 Mbps + Local News and Sports + HBO (or Showtime)”
  • Time Warner: “Starter TV+HBO and an Internet plan”

Sayeth the WSJ:

I called up some of the biggest cable companies and representatives from four talked about the packages they offer. This worked for my family with Comcast. We called their hotline and said we wanted to “downgrade” service. After we said the magic words “Internet Plus,” we were able to switch from a triple-play package costing $212 per month to “Internet plus” with broadband, about 10 cable channels and HBO (with HBO Go) for about $75 per month. Keep in mind, this eliminates landline phone service through the cable company.

Now, the bad news: Remember in the first paragraph when I said “a very limited selection of channels”? Yeah, not joking. The 10 channels the WSJ writer references regarding the Comcast package appears to be on the low end, but even on the high end, it ain’t a lot. The Time Warner package offers 16 channels, ten of which are your broadcast networks and C-SPANs and home shopping networks, and none of which are ESPN, FX, AMC, TNT, or any of the other channels you’ve come to enjoy. Also, the Verizon one appears to be the only one that offers access to “local sports,” whatever that means. It’s far from perfect, is what I’m saying

But. BUT. If you are someone who (a) doesn’t care about live sports, (b) loves HBO programming, (c) is willing to wait for popular basic cable shows to hit Netflix/Amazon/Hulu, and (d) doesn’t know anyone with an HBO Go password that you can just, like, use, man, it is something.