For years, HBO has refused to consider launching a Netflix-killer. As in, a service that streams HBO content for a monthly subscription fee.

Sure, they've had the "HBO Go" streaming app for a few years now, but that's only available if you have an HBO subscription through cable. Cable has been the linchpin to HBO's business model for decades, and the network didn't dare do anything to anger its cable outlets (Time Warner, Comcast, DirecTV, etc.) without risking losing millions of customers.

But that was before Netflix transformed itself from a mail-order DVD service into a streaming content provider of original, high-quality television shows. And those are shows that could easily be lumped into the same category of entertainment as HBO's own original offerings. Netflix has become a major player, and it's done it entirely via broadband. No one can afford to ignore Netflix anymore — not even the premiere subscription channel, HBO.

Today, HBO announced that it's launching a standalone streaming service in 2015 — a service that requires no cable subscription. This is a landmark moment in television history, and here's why.

Since TV began, there have been two ways to distribute television content: broadcast and cable. And it's an all-or-nothing deal. Say you never watch anything but ESPN, Discovery and GSN. Imagine how much money you might save if you could order only those channels that you want to watch and no others. But to get one channel you want, you have to order a package that includes 50 others that you'll never watch.

A growing number of TV viewers, tired of cable's outdated business model (not to mention its infamous strong-arm tactics), have begun cutting cable's cord in favor of solely broadband Internet, using services like iTunes and Netflix to order individual shows or episodes a la carte or binge-watching entire seasons at a time. Even with the broadband-only business booming, no television channel has ever dared to remove cable from the equation and sell its network straight to customers until now. HBO has been a trailblazer for years, and this move opens the doors for other networks to follow.

"[Broadband-only homes are] a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped," said HBO's chairman and CEO Richard Plepler in the announcement. "It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO."

In other words: Suck it cable. We're just not that into you.

Sure, Plepler was quick to cover his bases by pointing out that there are still "significant growth opportunities inside the pay-TV universe." Don't bail on us until we're ready to ditch you, cable.

But the writing's on the wall. The future of TV starts today.

Showtime, Starz, ESPN, AMC, FX... Your move.

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.