HBO takes on Netflix and Amazon with US streaming service

Game of Thrones Image copyright HBO
Image caption HBO is known for original programming, such as Game of Thrones.

HBO, the US network behind hits such as Game of Thrones and The Sopranos, is launching an online streaming service that will weaken its relationship with cable TV providers.

Called HBO Now, the service will be available in the US from April for $14.99 (£9.90) a month.

The firm, part of media giant Time Warner, was one of the early pioneers of cable television.

However it must now contend with online rivals such as Netflix and Amazon.

Such services offer big-budget, original programming similar to HBO shows for monthly fees that are substantially cheaper than cable TV packages.

Cable TV providers fear that more customers will cancel subscriptions if they are able to access premium channels such as HBO online.

HBO has a streaming service - HBO Go - but it is is only available to customers with an existing cable TV subscription.

HBO Now will only be accessible through Apple devices for three months before expanding to other platforms.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption HBO announced the new streaming service at the Apple Watch launch event

Outside the US, HBO programmes are available through various subscription services - both online and on pay TV platforms.

The company did not confirm whether HBO Now would be rolled out internationally. It could be some time coming to the UK given that the rights to HBO programming are owned by Sky for its Sky Atlantic channel.

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