Cord-Cutting: Premium Networks

Finally seeing the writing on the wall, the major premium cable channels offer access to their movie and TV libraries. But which one is right for you?
Updated August 2016

HBO Now

After claiming for years they'd never do it, they did. Now you can get HBO without a cable subscription. Everything that you loved about your friend's HBO Go experience can now be yours for $15/month, with no contract.

See more of what HBO has to offer »

Pros

  • On-demand access to all films currently in rotation on HBO channels as well as all original content (regardless of original airdate)
  • Behind-the-scenes features and interviews are also available
  • You can create your own watchlist, instead of worrying about screwing up the one your parents put together, since it was their account

Cons

  • Some content does eventually expire
  • The service has crashed at times of unexpectedly high usage
  • Your friends might ask to borrow your login

Showtime

On-demand access to shows like Homeland, Penny Dreadful, and Ray Donovan (not to mention tons of movies) without the added hassle of a cable bill? What's not to love?

See more of what Showtime has to offer »

Pros

  • On-demand access to all films currently in rotation on Showtime channels as well as all original content (regardless of original airdate)
  • Behind-the-scenes features and interviews are also available
  • Available without a cable subscription (through iTunes, Roku, and Google Play), or can be added to your Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Playstation Vue accounts

Cons

  • Some content does eventually expire
  • Non-standardized pricing means that you can pay slightly less if you add the service onto your existing Hulu subscription

Starz

It's got all of the Starz and Encore movies in current rotation, plus Starz's burgeoning lineup of original programming (like Outlander, ya ken?)

See more of what Starz has to offer »

Pros

  • On-demand access to all films and original shows currently in rotation on Starz channels
  • Behind-the-scenes features and interviews are also available
  • Cheaper than the competition

Cons

  • Beyond movies, not as much high-profile programming as its premium-cable siblings
  • Some content does eventually expire