The CW is making a big move many of its peers are still too afraid to make: it is getting ready to launch subscription-free streaming across just about every major device, including Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Xbox, as well as on iOS and Android, and over AirPlay. Because it will be subscription-free streaming, you won’t need an applicable for-pay cable plan in order to sign in and access the content.
The network has been a little weird about how it has gone about the announcement — rather than just stating plainly what is happening and when, we see a variety of tweets from CW shows announcing the change, as well as a “Notify Me” page on the CW website and some promotional images saying “No login. No subscription. Just FREE.”
When exactly will all these apps and open streaming start? That’s not clear, except that it will be some time this fall, meaning basically any time now. What does it mean? Once the launch comes, you won’t need a for-pay VOD streaming plan or a cable plan to stream the channel’s shows, including things like The Flash and Arrow. Particulars like how long you’ll have to wait for a new episode to be available, as well as whether there will be a full back catalog of older shows, isn’t clear at this time.
The move follows a recent rumor that the CW was contemplating allowing Netflix to offer new seasons of its shows two weeks after the last episode airs on traditional television. Whether this latest move signifies a complementary decision on CW’s part — or the decision to do something different entirely — isn’t known. However, those sources had said that the deal was close to being finalized and that a lot of money was involved; it would be surprising, assuming that’s true, if the CW decided not to proceed with the Netflix deal.