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HBO to offer online-only service in U.S.

(Bloomberg) HBO plans to offer a long-awaited online service in the U.S. next year, letting viewers without a cable or satellite-TV subscription tune into “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Richard Plepler, chief executive officer of the HBO division, announced the plans at Time Warner’s investor meeting in New York on Wednesday. He said that about 10 million homes in the U.S. pay for broadband but not TV, a number that is growing, and half of them pay for a streaming service online. The move pits the premium channel directly against Netflix, which has begun to draw viewers with original programs like “House of Cards.” HBO is typically marketed as part of a pay-TV package that costs $100 a month or more, limiting the potential pool of customers. HBO Go, the online and mobile version, is currently available in the U.S. only to cable-TV customers who pay for HBO.

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