The Cheapest (Legal) Way To Get HBO Go Without The Huge Cable TV Package

Don't want cable, but do want to binge-watch Game of Thrones on HBO Go? Here's how you do it.

Most of you cord-cutters already steal HBO Go passwords from your friends' parents, but there is a secret way to get access to HBO Go that doesn't involve breaking the law.

It works like ordering off the cable company's version of a secret menu, according to The Wall Street Journal. All you have to do is call up your provider and say the following magic words:

Comcast: “Internet Plus”

Time Warner Cable: “Starter TV+HBO and an Internet plan”

Verizon: “50/25 Mbps + Local News and Sports + HBO (or Showtime)”

AT&T: “HBO Internet Plus”

The Journal's Geoffrey Fowler nixed his bloated $212-a-month Comcast cable TV package for a $75-a-month deal that included broadband, about 10 cable channels, and HBO. That might sound steep for not that many channels, but I pay about $55 a month for just Internet through Time Warner. To add HBO to a normal cable bill typically costs between $5 and $10, depending on the company.

HBO has no interest in offering standalone HBO Go (sans cable) because the company gets a very generous cut from cable providers. It's unclear if it would do as well on its own. But cable companies have started feeling pressure from cord-cutters and cord-nevers--people who no longer want to pay upwards of $100 a month to get channels they never watch. To keep customers, providers have, therefore, started offering more attractive packages with fewer channels.

The plans above don't eliminate HBO's tie to cable TV, but offer super stripped-down packages as a way to tack on HBO. It's a little bit sneaky--and may not last forever. And of course, there's no guarantee that you won't have to endure an excruciating conversation with the cable company customer service representative to negotiate these special rates.

Update: While some readers have had success ditching their expensive cable packages, others have been told that the offers don't exist in their area. It might have something to do with the competition in those areas, as one commenter suggests. It might also have to do with a particular customer service representative. One Fast Company editor has spent hours in negotiations with Time Warner.

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[Television Image: via Shutterstock]

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10 Comments

  • clmbva

    I called Comcast for the Internet Plus package and didn't end up with a $75 bill, but I got my $165 a month bill down to $95. Thank you, Rebecca Greenfield. You're the best.

  • Kyle Garrett

    I've done Comcast's Internet Plus package and it's a HUGE bait & switch. Sure, you get HBO and the 25MB Internet, but what they don't tell you is you've practically zero cable channels. Even the most basic of cable channels are blocked (CNN, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon). You're basically paying to have just free network TV with ONE premium cable channel. It's an absolute ripoff. I went back to their Digital Economy package with 50MB speed for $80. My advice: keep on borrowing your friend's HBO GO password or look for the live TV streaming sites out there.

  • Comcast refused to give me Internet Plus, on multiple calls, saying it wasn't available in my neighborhood.Friends in different nearby neighborhoods/suburbs could get it, but Comcast had competition in those neighborhoods.

  • rupe33

    Ditto here - Comcast told me as a current subscriber we were not eligible, it was only available to new subscribers. I was also told "we cannot downgrade customers from a Triple Play package to a Double Play package."