How to watch Game of Thrones on your phone, tablet, computer or console
And yes, it’s all legal
Game of Thrones is returning to HBO this weekend, and for many, the biggest question isn’t about what’s going to happen, but it’s about how they can watch it.
This upcoming season of Game of Thrones is one of the most talked about, with the fate of a popular character left unknown and the battle for the Iron Throne drawing closer. The sixth season premieres April 24 at 9 p.m. ET. Watch the trailer for it here.
For those who don’t have a cable box or a standard HBO subscription, the task of knowing where to start when it comes to streaming the network can be stressful. Finding the right device to stream it on, doubly so.
There are a couple of different ways — all legal! — to watch Game of Thrones live.
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There are two main services people can choose to use: HBO Now and HBO Go. There’s a couple of advantages to both, but the big difference is that HBO Go requires an HBO cable subscription. (Or, as many people know, it requires someone with an HBO subscription sharing their password with you. Thanks, Mom!)
HBO Go is the only option that you can get on a gaming console. Go is available on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles as a free app, but once again, you need a standard subscription for access to the service.
HBO Now, on the other hand, is a stand-alone streaming package that anyone can purchase for $14.99 a month. There’s a variety of devices it can be used on like the iPad, Roku and Chromecast. But HBO Now is unavailable on any gaming consoles, which is obviously a major disadvantage. Time Warner has spoken about the issue before and said it is dedicated to bringing the service to consoles, but hasn’t given an approximation of when that could happen. Polygon has reached out to HBO for more information.
All of which brings us to the next question: Once I have my subscription set up, what exactly can I stream it on? And once again, there are a few different options.
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So just where can you watch HBO? Again, if you’ve got a console as your main entertainment setup and were hoping to use Go, you’re out of luck on that front. But there are other devices that will allow you to stream the service without too much of a headache.
HBO Now is available on set-top boxes such as the Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku; dongles like the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast; and mobile devices running Android or iOS. To get even more detailed, first-generation versions of Amazon’s products and Google’s Chromecast will be just fine, but those looking to use the other four should read the tiny print. HBO Now is available on set-top boxes such as the Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Nvidia Shield and Roku; dongles like the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast; mobile devices running Android or iOS; and some Android-based smart TVs from companies such as Sony and Sharp.
The nice thing about choosing to go mobile is that most Android and iOS devices support HBO Now. Just remember that streaming will eat up your data, so it’s not recommended that you watch an entire episode of HD-quality television on your iPhone while at dinner — unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi, of course.
Smartphones and tablets running Android 4.2 or later will be able to run the HBO Now app. Apple devices running iOS 7 will work with the app, although the oldest supported devices are the iPhone 4, second-generation iPad and fifth-generation iPod touch. As for Amazon Fire tablets, only third-generation and newer units will run the app.
For those that do end up subscribing to HBO Now, your laptop or desktop computer is probably going to be the device you stream on the most. HBO recommends that users have the latest version of their browser installed, as well as the latest operating software update to best enjoy the service. For Apple users, that’s Mac OS X 10.6.
Those who have a Slingbox or subscribe to Sling TV can also access HBO Now on that device. Users must subscribe to the Best of Sling TV package for $20 and then pay $15 on top of that to access Now.