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HBO will launch a stand-alone streaming service in 2015, Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO of HBO, announced Wednesday at a Time Warner investor meeting. "It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO," he said. “So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States ... All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.” That is good news for fans of series like "Game of Thrones" — the most illegally downloaded show of 2013 — who will no longer need to pay for HBO on top of their regular cable bill (or steal their friend's HBO GO password). The new HBO streaming service will face stiff competition from Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, which have invested heavily in their own original programming with critical hits like "House of Cards" and "Transparent."
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