Why it matters to you

Whereas you previously had to use your TV provider credentials to get these premium channels, you can now just take advantage of your Prime account.

TV providers aren’t disappearing — they’re just changing their appearances. The latest to adopt a role similar to the giants of industry of days past is none other than Amazon, darling of the cord-cutting generation, and really, TV provider in disguise. With the update to its Amazon Channels service (which allows Amazon Prime members to subscribe to other entertainment networks including HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax), users will now be able to log into these networks’ standalone streaming apps using their Amazon credentials, beginning with HBO and Showtime. Basically, it means that rather than entering your cable credentials to log into the HBO or Showtime app, you can just enter your Amazon information.

See? Amazon = TV provider.

Unsurprisingly, when Amazon first launched Channels back in 2015, the goal was actually to compete more with traditional providers. After all, historically speaking, you could only get access to these premium channels if you were paying for a TV subscription. But that’s clearly no longer the case.

HBO told TechCrunch that it launched a new feature last week allowing subscribers through Amazon Channels to access the HBO NOW app. That means that customers can now use their Amazon credentials to log onto the app through desktop, mobile, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon mobile Kindle and Fire TV devices, PlayStation 3 and 4, and Samsung Smart TVs. And soon, this feature will also come to Roku and Xbox 360 soon.

The Showtime Anytime app also supports Amazon login, which has actually been around since February.

To be fair, Amazon isn’t the first company to offer such functionality. As TechCrunch points out, both Sling TV and PlayStation View also allow their viewers to log into various third-party applications using their respective credentials. But all this to say that while the TV providers of yore may be losing ground to streaming services, the TV provider model isn’t going anywhere.