Photograph by Stephen Lam — Getty Images
By Ben Geier
March 16, 2015

HBO and Long Island, N.Y-based cable provider Cablevision announced Monday that subscribers to Cablevision’s Internet plans will get access to HBO’s upcoming streaming service without needing to pay for a cable television plan.

HBO’s streaming platform, called HBO Now, will let customers watch popular shows like Girls and Game of Thrones without having a cable subscription. HBO Now is scheduled to launch in early April.

The Cablevision deal makes it the first pay-TV provider to offer HBO Now to its Internet customers. HBO CEO Richard Plepler said at an event last week that the service would be available exclusively on Apple devices for its first three months of operation, but that arrangement applies only to technology companies, not TV providers.

Neither company has said how much HBO Now will cost for Cablevision customers. It will be $14.99 a month for subscribers who use an Apple TV.

Cablevision’s move could be seen as misguided by other cable companies, Deadline reports. Cable companies have generally discouraged services that give people access to cable TV content without subscribing to a cable package. However, Cablevision Chief Operating Officer Kristin Dolan framed the decision as a step towards the future of television.

“As New York’s premier connectivity company, we are enabling Optimum Online customers to enjoy content in any way they choose to receive it,” said Dolan in a statement. “We are well-positioned to support HBO NOW and, as technology advances, Cablevision will continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers.”

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