Time Warner Cable Jumps On Discount HBO Bundle Bandwagon, But Price Is Misleading

If you actually want to take advantage of the $29.95 Starter TV with HBO package, it will cost you a lot more than that.

If you actually want to take advantage of the $29.99 Starter TV with HBO package, it will cost you a lot more than that.

A month after Comcast launched its Internet-Plus package, which is basically a plan for people who want Web access and just HBO, Time Warner Cable has quietly begun offering its own HBO-focused service aimed at slowing the rate of cord-cutting.

TWC is now offering its “Starter TV with HBO” for the intro price of $29.99/month for 12 months. But as GigaOm points out, if you want to actually watch the channels that come with the package, you’ve got to fork over a set-top box fee of $10/month.

Additionally, if you want access to HBO Go, you’ll need to get Internet access separately, and that doesn’t come cheaply. For example, I punched in my old Brooklyn address (which I know all too well is serviced by TWC), and the lowest tier of Internet service that would be suitable for streaming HD content is $35/month for the first 12 months.

So between the Starter TV with HBO and the Internet plan, the intro price is $65/month, and that’s before you factor in any modem and cable box rental charges. That price is notably higher than the $50/month intro price Comcast is charging most customers for Internet-Plus.

The Time Warner Cable website doesn’t even fully disclose what the price will be when the promo ends. Instead, it tells you to call the company and find out.

It’s a shame that most consumers have little to no choice in who they get their cable and Internet service from, otherwise TWC and Comcast would be forced to compete against each other, instead of testing to see how much they can charge potential cord-cutters for just HBO.