In what would be the most exciting single development for cord-cutters and their quality television since Hulu launched six years ago, the head of HBO hinted Thursday at the development of viable, legitimate standalone streaming service for people who don't pay for cable TV — any cable TV, not just premium. They would probably still have to pay for cable-company operated Internet, and it's far from a done deal, but still: Everyone's pretty excited, and it might even be pretty cheap.
"Maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners, could evolve," HBO CEO Richard Plepler told Reuters in an interview, expanding on a plan that he's hinted at before. But with that one sentence — even with the "maybe" — a lot of people on Twitter are jumping at the concept that HBO could be packaged with Internet fees, and without a full cable package, sometime in the near future. And the move would make sense: Plenty of Internet providers are also cable companies, and HBO can't just go an ruin its existing relationships with the very providers that make it so much money already. And although Plepler offered some possible price breakdowns — $10 or $15 per month for the HBO GO add-on — he conceded that "we would have to make the math work." The math in HBO's current setup, tied to cable packages at a premium, works out very much in its favor, as Derek Thompson has pointed out over at The Atlantic (and continues to point out on Twitter today).