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Netflix Now Bigger Than HBO

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Are you still paying $80, $120 or more every month for cable TV? Here are a string of news items sure to make you think twice about paying that much again. Yes, Netflix is the world’s biggest streaming video service and added more than 3 million news subscribers last quarter, surpassing HBO in the US.

Cable cutters rejoice, because this is what winning looks like. Although HBO is still bigger outside the US, according to Quartz, Netflix subscribers here are now more numerous by about a half million — 29.2 million vs 28.7 million, respectively.

Again, the video streaming service added more than 3 million new subs last quarter and it really all comes down to the value the $8 per month service delivers, including exclusive original programs, like the accalimed “House of Cards.” Further, Netflix is saying that those millions of new users are subscribers, not just people signing for the free trial.

That said, during peak evening viewing hours, Netflix accounts for 33 percent of all download traffic, easily besting competitors like iTunes, YouTube and even “illegal” backchannels, like BitTorrent.

No, Netflix isn’t a cable channel per se, yet the company has dedicated itself to besting and displacing HBO.

“The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us,” says Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, Netflix.

Netflix: It’s About Value

One of the ways Netflix plans to do that is new/expanded services, like their just announced $12 a month family plan that allows up to four instances — think TV, iPad, Galaxy S III and a PC simultaneously — of the service running within the same house at the same time.

“A few members with large families run into our 2-simultaneous-stream limit,” according to Netflix. “To best serve these members, we’re shortly adding a 4-stream plan, at $11.99 in the US, and we expect fewer than 1 percent of members to take it.”

Couple that aggressive value proposition with exclusive original content, which competes directly with HBO, and Netflix has a rather compelling offer.

And, ultimately, Netflix when married with a Roku box (review), Apple TV or anyone of scores of mobile devices, like the iPhone or iPad, is but one service (i.e. Hulu, iTunes, YouTube, etc.) offering more content and convenience at a fraction of the cost of cable…

Ready to cut the cable?

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Netflix, Hulu Plus, Roku, Plex — who needs Comcast? Pfft! Who?