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Are cable customers ditching their cords, or shaving them? While the debate over what cable customers are doing and planning to do with their cords continues, one thing is clear: cable players are concerned.

So in an effort to prevent cord cutting, they're increasing looking to find ways to embrace the channel cord cutting is blamed on the internet.

Already, HBO makes its programming available to subscribers over the internet via its HBO Go service.

The logic behind the service is simple: subscribers to HBO shouldn't be forced to enjoy HBO's programming on the small screen if they would prefer to enjoy it on desktops, laptops and internet-connected mobile devices.

Yesterday, CNN jumped into the fray with a similar approach. It's now offering live streaming of CNN and HLN to customers of large cable services, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.

All told, some 50m cable customers in the United States can now stream CNN and HLN over the internet via cnn.com and the CNN iPad app.

According to Turner Broadcasting Vice Chairman Andy Heller, "We’re trying to lead by example. We’re trying to show that it works. If we don’t give consumers...options, you run the risk of seeing the potential for cord cutting."

The big question is whether cable networks like CNN and HBO are going far enough. There is almost certainly an audience of consumers who would prefer to cut their cords and subscribe to CNN and HBO directly. The challenge, of course, is that cable companies like Comcast are the primary distributors for the CNN and HBOs of the world, so going direct to consumers may not be a viable option -- yet.

For now, however, it's nice to see cable networks taking a more sensible multichannel approach that recognizes that programming consumers are already paying for shouldn't be tied to a particular device.

Patricio Robles

Published 19 July, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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