Getting Unhinged From Cable: CBS Launches Digital Subscription Service, HBO To Follow In 2015

Anyone who goes without cable TV but still loves popular content is no doubt aware of the limitations that cutting the cord can introduce. Often, networks will offer to broadcast their shows online, but then put it behind a paywall in the form of a required cable TV subscription. That's about as nonsensical as it gets, since most people who want to watch online are trying to work around not having that.

Well, two major content producers this week announced their plans to get into the digital subscription game, in effect giving people the option to access their content legally, and without a cable TV subscription. The first of these is HBO, a company that's tired of having such a massive part of the market outside of its reach. It has plans to launch its digital network in 2015, and for many, I'm sure that can't come soon enough. At the moment, pricing hasn't been announced, but I'd imagine that it'd hover around $10/mo.

Hot on the heels of that announcement, CBS has today launched its own online subscription service, called CBS All Access. For $6/mo, you'll be able to access a wide-range of CBS' content, including live TV in some cases. It's not all just current content, either: CBS promises to offer "thousands" of current and past shows, some of which will go way back. Admittedly, given the amount of content CBS has under its wing, $6/mo seems very reasonable. It's almost surprisingly reasonable, actually.

Hopefully, CBS and HBO are just kick-starting things here, and others will follow soon. It's frustrating to cut the cord to stop overpaying for content - and for channels you never looked at - only to lose access to virtually everything you wanted. Now, we just need two other things to happen: Sports networks need to follow suit, and these moves have to stop being US-exclusive. If CBS owns its content, why on earth is CBS All Access currently US-only? If the goal here is to make money, which it obviously is, these companies would be wise to expand as much as possible.