Why won't HBO just let me sign up for HBO?

I have basic cable. Called the company and they said they can’t just flip the switch and put HBO on my TV without my signing up for a bundled package of cable, internet, and phone. What if I’m happy with the way things are and don’t WANT to sign up for all that? Is it not possible any more to just get a premium channel added to cable??? Apparently not. :mad:

Call again. You got a bad rep.

If it’s possible, it will be the last thing they will tell you. The job is to sell you the most product. Ask for a supervisor if you don’t like the answer you get. I’ve had them tell me: to add those two channels will be $19/month. Do you have a promo going on at all? Yes, you can get six months for $8. :rolleyes:

Yeah, unless you have the dumbest cable company ever, there’s no reason why you need to order new services to get HBO. They often run deals like “HBO for $5 a month” but when you read the fine print, it’s for people who sign up for bundles and it only lasts 6 months or so. Perhaps you called about an advertisement like that, or they misunderstood and thought you were asking about one of those deals, or maybe the person was just plain dumb.

Also check their web site for pricing, you might get your answer there.

It might be for the same reason you can’t get just the sports section delivered, or buy a ticket to ride just Space Mountain at Disneyland.

There are lots of services that are only sold as a bundle either because it lowers transaction costs or because the sellers think they can get more money that way.

Well, we called them again and after 45 minutes of discussion with two representatives, we hammered out a deal where a guy is going to come by next week with a digital box and hook up one TV (one!) and I will get HBO for an extra $15 bucks a month. I had a feeling they were trying to sell me something I didn’t want or need, and I’m happy I finally got just one plain old premium channel added to my one dinosaur of a TV.

Thanks for the comments. That’s why I like this place. :slight_smile:

To adapt your analogy, since he already has basic cable, it’s like he has already paid admission to Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom and wants to eat at one of the restaurants inside. He was being told that to eat at the restaurant inside the Magic Kingdom, he had to purchase admission to Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios, instead of just paying for whatever he orders at the restaurant.

You used to be able to do that. I still have one of the tickets. That was back in the late 70s to maybe the early 80s at the latest.

As for the OP, a lot of people would like to pick and choose their channels, but the companies make more money bundling them then going one channel at a time. I have a ton of channels and I never watch them. I really wish I could just ask for the few I do watch and skip the rest.

You know, I don’t have a TV and I don’t want one. Obviously, I don’t have basic cable. I wait for shows to come out on Amazon or iTunes. HBO has a service that lets you watch their shows on-line, and they just made it available on the Kindle Fire, which I own. But you can’t do it unless you subscribe to HBO through your local cable company. Come on, HBO, I want to give you my money!

That’s not true. As long as you have basic cable you can add a stand-alone movie channel like HBO or Showtime without having to buy a package. The single channel can cost anywhere from $8 to $19 a month, but they have to let you add just that channel if you want it.

They “have to”?

I agree being arm twisted into buying all sorts of extra stuff sucks if you do not want it but is the cable company actually obligated to sell you HBO only if that is all you want?

I would be surprised if that is the case. The only way I can figure it would ever happen is if HBO had that stipulated in their contract with the cable company.

(Note I am not arguing the right or wrong or intelligence of the cable company but rather what they “must” do.)

The cable companies know that they make more money by putting channels in ‘bundles’ and selling those to customers. People are forced to buy several channels to get the one they want.

In some locations, regulators have tried to require cable systems to sell individual channels alone (“a la carte”). Even the FCC has considered it. But the cable conglomerates have fought this vigorously, because they make more money selling only ‘bundles’.

All the talk about channel packages isn’t really relevant to the OP. He was told (at first) that he had to get internet and phone service in order to get HBO! I think we can all agree how ridiculous that is.

You have to keep in mind that they are salesmen first and customer service second. They wanted to push you into a package with a higher commission for them.

I have some 200 or so channels, of which I watch probably 20 with any regularity. I would kill for a la carte cable tv. :frowning:

Yes, they “have to”. I was quite pleased to find this out many years ago and have taken advantage of it ever since. Cable companies cannot require you to purchase any service other than the basic service in order to also purchase a premium channel for an additional fee. No service upgrade needed.

Does this include satellite services?

Also, is there anything restricting their pricing? For instance, if they are somehow (by law?) forces to sell a la carte to you can they tell you that you are welcome to buy HBO only for $100/month or you can get their nifty package deal with HBO/Showtime/Cinemax for a mere $50/month.

Do you have a cite for this? I am not aware of any regulation that requires cable companies to operate in this manner.

If you have basic cable, your box might not even tune to the channel that HBO and other premium channels are on. Basic cable tunes in channels 2-99. Premium channels are in a higher digital tier. On my Comcast box they start with HBO on channel 300 and go up from there. So, for technological reasons, you would need to have a digital cable box for these channels.