The news that HBO is launching its own independent streaming site — which will, like Netflix, be available to non-cable subscribers — sent paroxysms of joy through cord cutters everywhere. Finally, America’s most consistent content provider will be available without having to bind oneself to the shackles of Charter or Comcast or even DirecTV. And with the service launching in 2015 — we don’t know much about it beyond the fact that it will be standalone and at least somewhat similar to the company’s pre-existing HBO Go — it’s arriving much sooner than anybody thought it would. (I had it pegged for 2017, so that shows how much I know.)
But what this shouldn’t be read as is a tacit acknowledgement that cable companies are going to go the way of the dinosaur, getting slowly frozen out of the entertainment industry like big-box bookstores or record labels. Certainly cord cutting is the biggest threat cable companies have faced yet to their dominance over the means of television distribution. And the news today that CBS is launching a similar service suggests getting TV over-the-air will seem antiquated soon enough.
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