From 1979 to 2015, the only way to watch HBO was through a cable subscription. Even HBO Go, the service's streaming service, was tied to a cable subscription when it launched, leaving most to borrow account info from their parents to watch Game of Thrones. But thanks to the rise of live TV streaming, there are now several ways to watch HBO online without cable, and they vary pretty significantly when it comes to price and secondary perks.
What is HBO?
Originally launched in 1972, HBO was once known as a great place to watch big theatrical releases. It still holds that rep, but it's also become synonymous with high-quality original programming, spawning award-winning shows like The Sopranos, Sex and the City, The Wire, and Game of Thrones. It presents an impressive slate of modern shows you shouldn't miss as well: Sharp Objects, The Outsider, Chernobyl, and Big Little Lies are all terrific.
HBO live stream: How to watch HBO
HBO on HBO Max
HBO Max is the newest way to watch HBO, featuring an array of WarnerMedia holdings in addition to all your HBO favorites (and it's even got a library of Studio Ghibli films!). It's also got a new series of shows, Max Originals, exclusive to the service.
HBO on HBO Now
If all you care about is streaming HBO, there’s no better or cheaper option than subscribing directly through HBO Now. (Here's a brief rundown on the difference between HBO Go and HBO Now if you're confused.) Each of the other services on this list requires you to subscribe to their main service before you can sign up for HBO as an add-on service, which means you’re mostly paying for the ease of watching HBO content through another service’s interface. That's great if, for example, you're looking to get a live TV package that also includes ESPN, but if you don’t mind using a standalone app, HBO Now is an incredible service. You get all of HBO's content for a flat $14.99 per month, with no extra costs to consider.
Devices: HBO Now works on every prominent streaming device on the market including Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Roku, Apple TV, Samsung smart TVs, iOS, and Android. While the service doesn’t have a Chromecast app, you can cast the HBO Now Android app on your Android device to your Chromecast-connected screen.
- Here's what's new on HBO Go
- The best movies on HBO Go and HBO Now
- The best HBO documentaries
- The sexiest movies on HBO
HBO on Hulu
Your next option is probably subscribing via Hulu. While most services allow you to watch HBO online at the same price point—$14.99 per month—Hulu offers the cheapest entry point. A basic Hulu subscription only costs $5.99 per month cost, which unlocks its entire collection of movies, shows, documentaries, anime, and the must-see Hulu originals—albeit with commercials. That brings your total to $20.98 a month. Thankfully, you don’t need Hulu with Live TV to subscribe to HBO through the service. Your basic Hulu subscription will do, and its interface is ideal for users who don’t mind learning mildly complicated menu options in the name of getting personalized recommendations.
Devices: Streaming HBO via Hulu can be done on your computer, Android TV, iOS or Android device, Apple TV, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Roku, Amazon Fire devices, TiVo, Samsung smart TVs, Sony smart TVs, Wii U, Vizio smart TVs, and almost any other device you can think of. While there isn’t a Chromecast app, Android users can cast the Android Hulu app to their Chromecast.
|Hulu with ads||$5.99/mo. or|
|Hulu with no ads||$11.99|
- The best documentaries on Hulu
- Hulu vs Netflix: Which streaming service is right for you?
- The best thrillers on Hulu
- Funny movies on Hulu when you need a good laugh
HBO on Prime Video
Subscribing to HBO via Amazon requires a Prime membership. Membership costs $12.99 per month. Then you have to pay $14.99 per month for HBO. Still, there are advantages to using Amazon Prime’s video service as your primary streaming source. Rather than teach your family how to use multiple apps, Amazon Prime has a simple menu that puts all of your favorite Prime content right alongside your add-on channels. Ultimately, you’ll pay around the same cost per year for HBO through Prime as you would Hulu, Sling TV, or PS Vue. It boils down to what interface you prefer and what service you might already be subscribing to (or considering). It's worth noting that Amazon has a considerable library of best Amazon originals, documentaries, and movies, including some in 4K Ultra HD, and there's something new on Amazon every month.
Devices: Like Hulu, Amazon has strived to make sure its app can work on every device. If you have a smart TV, Roku, Android TV, Amazon Fire device, PlayStation 3 or 4, Xbox 360 or Xbox One, Android, iOS, or desktop computer, you’ll be able to stream Amazon’s video content.
- The best movies on Amazon Prime
- The best Amazon original movies you can watch right now
- The best thrillers on Amazon Prime
- The 25 best comedies on Amazon Prime when you really need a laugh
Broadcast Channel Guides
Entertainment Channel Guides
Premium Streaming Service Guides
|Amazon Prime||CrunchyRoll||Acorn TV|
|CBS All Access||Curiosity Stream||AMC Premiere|
|Disney Plus||DC Universe||BritBox|
|Netflix||Criterion Channel||YouTube Premium|
Live TV Service Guides
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