A Year Without Cable, Week 12: Premium TV Without Cable
A large amount of TV is available to you if you don’t have cable. Cord-cutting is a thing because of this fact. Think about it: major networks are available over the air for free, and TV seasons from most broadcast and cable networks often end up on some kind of streaming service a few months after finishing. But the premium cable networks, the ones you pay for on top of your regular bill? Not so much.
At least, that’s what you may think. No Game of Thrones means nothing from any kind of premium cable network, right? Not so fast. You can actually view quite a bit of programming from the extra pay channels on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. Is it the newest stuff? Not always. But you don’t have to shell out an extra $15-$30 a month to access it and watch it, and the money you’re keeping in your pocket is worth the time you’ll wait.
Let’s look at what Netflix has to offer first. The streaming giant has a deal with Showtime to stream many of that network’s programs, so if you’re into Dexter, Weeds or The L Word, Netflix has you covered. Now, you won’t get Homeland or Californication just yet, but in time (and should the Netflix-Showtime arrangement hold up), it’ll happen. And those shows, by the way, are in addition to critically acclaimed Netflix originals like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Yeah, these shows aren’t on a premium cable network, but they’re good enough to be.
On the Amazon Prime Instant Video side of things, you get access to a wide selection of the HBO back catalog. Think popular shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire and True Blood. For those shows that are still on the air, you’re not getting access to the newest seasons (or seasons that are even close to new, for that matter), but if you’re looking to see what all the fuss is about for a certain show, you can watch some of it on Amazon Prime Instant Video at no additional cost. And, if you don’t mind waiting, additional seasons will likely be added in the coming years.
Leaving cable behind doesn’t mean leaving premium TV behind. As you’ve just seen, you can at least catch some programming from Showtime and HBO on Netflix and Amazon, respectively. And as streaming services invest even more in original programming, the quality of what’s available to cord cutters will only improve.
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