MONEY Internet

Verizon Internet Customers Can Now Watch HBO Without a Pay TV Package

HBO Now is now available if you have Verizon broadband.

On Tuesday, HBO and Verizon announced a new partnership allowing Verizon broadband customers to sign up for the Internet-only HBO Now service, starting immediately.

TV fans had begged HBO for years to introduce a streaming service that didn’t require the usual pay TV subscription. The TV giant finally obliged by launching HBO Now in April, at a price of $14.99 per month. At the beginning, however, HBO Now was available exclusively on Apple TV and Optimum.

Verizon broadband customers now have access to HBO Now too. Free 30-day trials of HBO Now are currently available via After the introductory period ends, subscribers would pay $14.99 per month to keep the Internet-only service, which offers instant access to the usual HBO content, including series like “Game of Thrones” and hundreds of movies and sports and comedy specials.

For the time being, only Verizon’s broadband customers—Fios or otherwise—have access to HBO Now. Verizon says that eventually HBO Now will be open to 100+ million Verizon Wireless customers as well, though it hasn’t been announced when that option will be available.

MORE: Get Ready for Your Internet Bill to Soar
7 Streaming TV Packages That Will Let You Cut the Cord for Good


7 Must-See Moments From the I Am Cait Series Premiere

Caitlyn Jenner
Chris Pizzello—Invision/AP Caitlyn Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe award for courage at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, July 15, 2015

I Am Cait doesn’t disappoint.

The first episode of Caitlyn Jenner‘s highly anticipated eight-part docuseries, which chronicles her journey as a transgender advocate and her life post-transition, was packed with heartfelt and emotional scenes.

Here’s a breakdown of the seven must-see moments from Sunday night’s premiere.

1. Kylie Jenner first met Caitlyn over FaceTime.
“I don’t want to scare you,” said a surprised Caitlyn after answering the video chat.”

“You’re not scaring me,” insisted Kylie, 17. “You look pretty!”

The 65-year-old and her youngest daughter met in person later at Caitlyn’s Malibu house, and Kylie gifted Caitlyn teal extensions to match her own signature hair color.

2. Caitlyn still fears her transition could tear apart her family.
“Even Kylie coming over today – you never know, when they get away from here and they go home they go ‘Oh my god, that is strange,’ ” said Caitlyn later in the episode. “Khloé hasn’t been here. Kourtney hasn’t been here and hasn’t met Caitlyn. Rob. Maybe them not being around is, you know, kind of their way of saying ‘I don’t really agree with this or what.’ ”

Since the episode was filmed, Caitlyn’s children have rallied around her, in particular when they all showed up to watch her receive the Arthur Ashe Award Courage Award at the ESPYs in July.

3. Caitlyn mentored transgender youth, telling them ”we are all beautiful.”
In an emotional and uplifting scene, the former Olympian paid a visit to the family and friends of a transgender teen who had committed suicide and advised them to “hang out with the people that love and respect you.”

Wrapping her arms around the group, she voiced an important message with three little words: “We’re all beautiful!”

4. She filmed herself – with no makeup on – on a sleepless night and confessed to her fears of living up to her responsibilities.
“It’s like, 4:32 in the morning – and I can’t sleep,” said Caitlyn as she sat down in bed.

“Am I going to do everything right? Am I going to say the right things? Do I project the right image?” she said to the camera. “My mind’s just spinning with thoughts. I just hope I get it right. I hope I get it right.”

5. She cleared up the rumors about her relationship with her ex-wife Kris Jenner‘s close friend, Ronda Kamihara.
When Caitlyn Jenner, at the time known as Bruce, was spotted spending time with Kamihara, their closeness ignited rumors of a romance.

Turns out, Kamihara is actually Caitlyn’s stylist and friend.

“Years ago I confided in Ronda, and she really has been a friend that supported me,” said Caitlyn after revealing their actual relationship.

6. Caitlyn plays tennis like a pro – but admitted she needs a sports bra.
At one point in the episode, the former Olympic athlete hit the tennis court to show off her skills.

“Now I know why girls need a sports bra!” she joked.

7. Kim Kardashian West got real with Caitlyn
In a “coming up this season” preview that aired at the end of the episode, Kardashian West had some important words for Caitlyn:

“You look amazing, it’s your time. But you don’t have to bash us [Kardashians] on your way up.”

In the premiere episode, however, all seemed well between Caitlyn and Kardashian West, who brought husband Kanye West along.

The Yeezus rapper cracked a rare smile, and Caitlyn opened up about his role throughout the transition.

“I love how [Kanye]’s helped Kim come to grips with what’s going on,” said Jenner.

The second episode of I Am Cait will air Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on E!

This article originally appeared on


Comcast Now Has More Internet Customers Than Cable Customers

Comcast might have more broadband subscribers than television subscribers, but it still wrings money out of TV watchers.

TIME Television

The New Fargo Trailer: Mystery, Murder, and Minnesota Accents

The new season is set in 1979

“That’s how it starts, with something small, like a break-in at the Watergate Hotel,” a bearded Nick Offerman scoffs. “But this thing’s only getting bigger.”

And that’s how a new trailer for the upcoming season of Fargo starts, with a mysterious diner murder in otherwise bland and boring Luverne, Minn. Amidst the backdrop of a frigid northern winter, we hear a mix of foreboding spooky music and quirky disco-era beats, see streaks of blood splattered on the ground, and smirk at blunt sexual innuendos. There’s Kirsten Dunst as a town tart, Patrick Wilson as a Vietnam vet-turned-police-officer investigating a local gang, and many rounded Minnesota o’s. If Mad Men made the 70s sexy, Fargo makes it alluringly brash.

The show will premiere on FX in October.

TIME Television

Meet TV’s Newest Transgender Star

Teenager Jazz Jennings is redefining gender for young Americans

Actress Laverne Cox doesn’t like to be called a role model. She prefers the term “possibility model.” And TV is giving 14-year-old Jazz Jennings the platform to be one, too.

In case you’re not the type to follow TV lineups, Cox is the transgender woman playing a transgender inmate on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black—which is quickly becoming just one of many shows with a prominent, ongoing storyline about gender identity.

Netflix has another show, Sense8, a sci-fi drama about people around the world who become telepathically linked, one of whom is a transgender hacktivist in San Francisco. Amazon’s Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor as a transgender woman who transitions late in life, was recently renewed for a third season to air in 2016. Meanwhile, there will be three new reality series that follow transgender leads: I Am Cait, an E! docu-series about former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner; Becoming Us, an ABC family show about two transitioning dads and their adapting children; and I Am Jazz, a TLC show that premieres Wednesday about Jennings’ tale of navigating the world as a transgender teen.

MORE The Transgender Tipping Point

While some may feel like transgender issues are being exploited or overexposed by (reality) show producers, putting people like Jennings on TV can serve a vital purpose for other young people who are questioning or grappling with their gender identity—that innate sense of being male or female that doesn’t always match up with what the doctor proclaims in the delivery room.

Many transgender people, especially older ones who had to come to terms with their feelings in a world before the Internet—much less a Netflix series—will say they didn’t have the courage to be honest with themselves and come out until they encountered another transgender person in real life (or, as Cox might say, a possibility model).

“What made the difference for me was being in San Francisco and meeting a transgender man,” says Masen Davis, former executive director of the Transgender Law Center. “And seeing that he was healthy and well and had a job and had good friends.” At the time, Davis says, “We all just assumed that if you were transgender, you were going to lose your family, you were going to lose your friends, you were going to lose your job. You would have to start all over.”

Nina Chaubal, a transgender woman who immigrated to the U.S. from India and worked at Google before helping to found Trans Lifeline, says that moment came for her at a conference where she saw a transgender woman featured as a speaker. “When you see someone you identify with who meets your definitions of success, it gives you the hope that you’ll be successful,” she says. “And that matters. That matters a lot.”

Part of the reason it matters is that discrimination and family rejection can still be daily, traumatizing issues for transgender people, particularly young ones. This new era of shows touches on transgender issues with more dignity than the pitfalls of previous decades, like salacious chair wars on the Jerry Springer Show and dismissive “Tranny Hooker” credits on Law & Order. But even a more respectful media spotlight is no magic wand fixing the much higher-than-average rates of homelessness, poverty and harassment they experience as a demographic. A staggering 41% of transgender people interviewed for a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study said they had attempted to commit suicide.

And so examples like Jennings—while they might seem like a network’s attempt to cash in on the zeitgeist as much as a thoughtful exploration of America’s margins—have the potential to make a big difference for viewers who need an example to live by (that might make life seem more livable) and to provide some basic education about LGBT issues for others.

“There are more media representations that young trans people can look to and say, ‘That’s me,’ in an affirming way,” Cox told TIME last year. They’re also giving people chances to talk about important policy issues, like how in the majority of states, it is legal to fire someone or deny them service or kick them out of their apartment because they are gay or transgender.

At the tender age of 14, Jennings seems aware of how valuable it can be to see a transgender teen just being a teenager. So is the example of her accepting, loving mother, regardless of whether this TLC treatment ends up being tasteful. That’s not to say the content of the show does not matter, but that a silver lining will remain. “The main thing that really keeps me motivated in continuing to share my story,” Jennings tells TIME, “is the fact that I know change is being created when I see people who tell me that I’ve really affected their lives. It’s just a beautiful thing.”

Read next: The 25 Most Influential Teens

MONEY Internet

Comcast’s Superfast Internet Is Ridiculously Expensive

(Left to right) Kit Harington, Kristofer Hivju, Ben Crompton in Season 5 of Game of Thrones on HBO
Helen Sloan—HBO/courtesy Everett Collection (Left to right) Kit Harington, Kristofer Hivju, Ben Crompton in Season 5 of Game of Thrones on HBO

Unsurprisingly, Comcast's new Internet service doesn't come cheap.

Comcast has unveiled some of the pricing details for the new Xfinity Gigabit Pro Internet service it is rolling out in a select few markets. And if you live in one of the areas where the service is offered and want a seriously fast connection, you’ll have to pay up to get it—possibly to the tune of $8,000+ over the course of a mandatory two-year commitment.

The service, which is being promoted as delivering Internet speeds of 2 gigabits per second—that’s up to 100 times faster than standard broadband—is listed at a price of $299.95 per month. Customers are also subject to an installation fee of up to $500, plus an activation fee of up to $500, plus “equipment, taxes and fees and other applicable charges apply.” Signing up for a minimum two-year contract is necessary, and an undisclosed early termination fee applies if a subscriber tries to cancel the service before the term is up. All told, it adds up to more than $8,000 over the course of two years.

Oh, and Comcast notes that installation could take six to eight weeks, and even though you’re paying quite a large bundle of cash for the Internet service, “Actual speeds vary and are not guaranteed.”

Atlanta is one of the first cities where the service is being made available. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, new subscribers will initially pay a promotional monthly rate of $159, not $300. That would shave roughly $1,700 off the two-year total, assuming the introductory rate isn’t jacked up to the normal price sooner than two years.

Even so, Comcast’s offering is extraordinarily expensive compared to Google Fiber, another ultra-fast Internet service priced at $70 per month, or $130 for a bundle that includes 1-gigabit Internet and a TV package with 150+ channels. AT&T’s gigabit Internet, where available, has been priced comparably to Google’s. So overall, Google is charging less for its Internet-TV package than Comcast is charging for its promotional rate of its Gigabit Pro Internet service alone.

What’s more, Google Fiber has developed a reputation for terrific customer service in the handful of metropolitan areas where it is available. The same cannot be said about Comcast’s customer service.


5 Reasons Why Comcast Stream Is a Bad Deal

The $15 per month streaming service sounds an amazing value. It's not.

On Monday, Comcast introduced a new streaming TV service called, appropriately, Stream. It’ll launch in beta in the Boston area toward the end of summer, and the plan calls for a continued rollout to Chicago and Seattle in the fall. By early 2016, the service is expected to be available nationwide.

What’ll grab your attention right away is what seems to be an incredibly low price for a service that includes HBO: just $15 per month. Also surprising is that Comcast—renowned for frustrating customers with high prices and poor customer service even in its hometown of Philadelphia—swears that Stream subscribers will enjoy a dream, hassle-free user experience. “We want to make ordering Stream as easy as buying a song online,” the Comcast press release states. “And make tuning in to a show as simple as opening an email.”

But here are a handful of reasons why Stream isn’t quite the amazing value it’s pumped up to be.

Your bill will be much more than $15 per month. Comcast explains in its post that Stream is “unlike anything we’ve ever offered: no extra device or additional equipment required…or even a TV.”

What is required, however, is a broadband Internet connection (which is true for any streaming)—but not just any connection. In the case, you need a connection provided by Comcast on a monthly subscription basis. So, in addition to the $15 per month for Stream, you’ll also have to pay a monthly Comcast Internet bill, which might run $50 or $60.

What’s more, while no extra devices or additional equipment are needed for Stream, Comcast Internet customers do need modems. Unless you buy your own and hook it up—which few people bother with—you’ll be paying Comcast an extra $10 per month or so for the privilege of renting a piece of equipment that costs maybe $50 to $75 to own outright. Very quickly, you’ll see how that $15 monthly bill turns into $75 or $85, before local and national taxes and fees are added in.

Most of the content is free on regular TV. For now, the Stream package includes HBO and broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS stations that “are typically available free via high-definition antennas that cost about $25,” the New York Times noted. We suppose there’s some value in being able to stream the networks on a device rather than watch them on TV, but such a service would be much more useful if you could stream via a non-Comcast Internet provider, or if you could watch in a location not in very close proximity to your TV. But you can’t because of the point below.

You can only stream live TV at home. One of the most appealing parts of Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, and other streaming services made for cord cutters is that customers can watch on devices anywhere they go, so long as there’s wi-fi. Not so with Comcast Stream. Subscribers will be able to use the service’s cloud-based DVR to download and watch on-demand shows and movies at any location—presumably, for an extra fee in many cases—but if you want to watch live TV, you’ll have to stay in proximity to your home router.

“You’ll only be able to stream live TV while you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi network,” one writer explains, which vastly diminishes the utility and value of the service. “Why would you want to live stream network TV in your home? If you’re in your house and you want to watch a network TV program live, you can get it by flipping on your TV and having your antenna deliver the signal… for free.”

There are cheaper options—from Comcast itself. As highlighted above, to get Comcast Stream, you’ll have to pay somewhere north of $75 per month, once Comcast broadband and the fees are tallied up. If all you want are the basic networks and HBO, there are much less expensive options, including some from Comcast. Re/Code’s Peter Kafka reported that, among the other possibilities, Comcast offers a package with basic TV, HBO, and broadband Internet starting at just $45 in some parts of the country.

HBO is the only pay TV channel included. Unlike Sling TV, which cable channels like ESPN, AMC, and TNT in its basic package, Stream contains only one channel that people cannot otherwise watch for free: HBO. The cost of Stream is the same as HBO’s stand-along streaming service, HBO Now. Yet because an HBO Now subscription does not require Comcast Internet service, and because unlike Stream, HBO Now can be viewed anywhere rather than only at home, essentially “from a cord cutter’s perspective, Comcast is charging $15 per month for a less desirable version of HBO Now,” suggests


ESPN Lost This Huge Number of Subscribers In a Year

Time Warner Cable, Disney Talks Said To Focus On ESPN3.Com
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images The ESPN logo.

Subscribers are dropping cable and using streaming services

ESPN, long championed for its money-making ability in the sports broadcasting arena, is feeling pressure, as droves of its subscribers flee the service.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the sports behemoth has lost 3.2 million subscribers in a little over a year, citing Nielsen data. The reason: Subscribers are dropping cable and using streaming services, and there’s more competition around. ESPN currently reaches 92.9 million households.

But while it has lost a chunk of subscribers, the publication reported that ESPN is paying more money than ever to secure rights to sports games and matches.

Last year, for example, as part of a renewal deal with the National Basketball Association ESPN agreed to triple its average annual fees from $485 million to about $1.47 billion, the Journal reported.

Owned by Disney, ESPN is expected to make up 25% of the parent company’s total profit in 2015, according to the newspaper.

“We are constantly looking at the cost side of our business and calibrating that against our expectations for the future,” Ed Durso, ESPN’s executive vice president of administration, told the publication. “Regardless of what the future holds, we’re incredibly well-positioned to adapt.”

For more on the future of ESPN, check out Fortune’s recent feature by Mathew Ingram.

MONEY productivity

6 Tricks to Keep From Vegging in Front of the TV After Work

couple on couch watching tv
Getty Images

We’re too pooped to do anything but work and watch TV

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual survey of how America uses its time last week. Compared to 2003 when the survey started, we spend more time working and watching TV. We are sleeping a bit more these days, but that extra shut-eye and screen time comes at a price. We spend less time socializing, eating, and engaging in religious or volunteer activities.

“I think that people are working a lot harder and there’s just a lot more that they’re expected to do,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “I think it may just be overload. It’s easy just to veg out and watch TV when you feel like everything at work is just in overdrive. There’s a tendency to not want to be exposed to it when you get home,” he says.

Cohen and other experts say there are some things you can do, though, to resist the siren song of the recliner at the end of the day. Follow these and you might find that you have to start DVRing those nighttime shows.

Plan ahead before you leave the office. “Take time toward the end of each day to plan ahead for the next day,” says James Craft, professor of business administration at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. Doing this before you leave work will keep you from starting the day stressed out, or getting absorbed in reality TV to escape the stress the night before. Craft suggests identifying a few specific goals or tasks that must be done that day, then gathering the contact info, files, documents, or other material you’ll need to jump right in.

The same pre-planning trick also works for after-work activities. “Schedule activities in advance so you have a plan of commitment,” Cohen says.

Cut the caffeine. “Reduce coffee and sodas to keep you going at work,” advises career coach Todd Dewett. You don’t have to give it up entirely, but cutting back — especially in the afternoon — will help you avoid crashing right when you get home. “Instead, for one third of your caffeine consumption substitute a short walk,” Dewett suggests. “This is a great way to cognitively rejuvenate without caffeine.” Earlier research has found that taking walks during the workday boosts well-being and motivation, so it has a double benefit. Even five minutes can do the trick.

Give yourself something to look forward to. “A person needs to have something to do that they enjoy, is different, and that they can anticipate,” Craft points out. “That way, they’re not just going home with nothing to do but flop down and watch TV.” Put something you like to do on your schedule like any other appointment and that Law & Order marathon suddenly looks less appealing. For example…

Make plans with other people. Most of us are less likely to bail on a planned activity when other people are participating, too. “Include friends and family in physical activities,” says Chris Boyce, CEO of corporate wellness company Virgin Pulse. “Suggest that everyone goes for a walk after dinner instead of zoning out in front of the TV,” he says. Even if it’s not strenuous, the activity is good for you, and spending time socializing instead of sitting in front of a screen will recharge your mental batteries, he says.

Kick the habit. “People get used to telling themselves that they’re exhausted and just don’t have the energy for anything else except television,” says Joseph G. Gerard, assistant professor of management at Western New England University. Sure, TV engages without demanding anything from you, but spending your evenings in front of a screen can become a habit before you even realize it. “It’s easy… to get caught up in a favorite show or two,” Gerard says. “A lot of people don’t realize when they fall into bad habits.” Experts say it takes several weeks to break a habit, so plan for a couple of months of TV alternatives, he advises. If you stick with it, you’ll probably find that vegging out has lost its appeal.

Put down the phone. A lot of the expert advice to find another engaging activity is a moot point if you’re going to be bent over, tapping on a screen. It’s not necessary to go into full-on detox mode; just put the devices down somewhere for two or three hours in the evening so you can do other things without interruption. “When you’re always attached to your phone, you’re going to sit on the couch. You’re going to be less active,” Cohen says.



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