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The moocher's guide to cutting the cable cord

Jared Newman | Dec. 15, 2014
So you got rid of cable, but now you're going through withdrawal. If you're willing to bend the rules, you might be able to rely on the generosity of loved ones willing to share passwords.

Services requiring a cable/satellite/telco TV login

Thanks to the cable and satellite industries' TV Everywhere initiative, much of the video that you get with a pay-TV subscription is now available online with a login from your service provider. While mooching a login from friends or family isn't technically allowed, TV networks haven't made much of an effort to stop it.

HBO Go allows up to three simultaneous streams, according to a January GigaOM report. That same article cites HBO CEO Richard Plepler as saying password sharing is a great form of promotion, even though HBO Go's terms technically forbid the practice.

WatchESPN doesn't discuss device limits on its FAQ page. The closest thing I can find is a Time Warner Cable FAQ that mentions a limit of five mobile devices authorized at once.

Showtime Anytime has some hard limits on usage, at least according to this Xbox troubleshooting page. The total number of devices--including set-top boxes, consoles and Web logins--is capped at five, and only three simultaneous streams are allowed among those devices.

Turner channels (TBS, TNT, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and CNN) have no limits on simultaneous users, at least according to Cox.

Viacom channels (CMT, LOGO, MTV, VH1, BET and Comedy Central) also enforce no concurrent stream limits, according to Cox.

DirecTV lets subscribers stream a long list of channels live over the Internet, but only two concurrent streams are allowed.

Now if you haven't cut the cord because you're still waiting for your service provider to offer an a la carte menu that will let you pick and choose which channels you're willing to pay for, you shouldn't hold your breath. That's not likely to happen any time soon. 


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