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The cheapest way to watch HBO without cable

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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. 

Curious which option is right for you? Here’s everything you need to know. Remember, just because something looks like a good deal doesn’t make it so. Maybe sure you read the fine print before you make a choice.

How to watch HBO online without cable

1. HBO Now

Cost: $14.99 per month flat, no extra subscription costs

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.

Photo via HBO Now

2. Hulu

Cost: $14.99 per month

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 $8 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 $23.99 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.

Screengrab via Hulu

3. Amazon Prime

Cost: $14.99 per month

Subscribing to HBO via Amazon requires a Prime membership. Membership costs either $99.99 up front for the complete Prime service (which includes two-day Amazon shipping and other perks) or $8.99 per month for just its video options. 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 their 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.

Screengrab via Amazon

4. DirecTV Now

Cost: $5 per month

DirecTV Now, Direct TVs online streaming cable solution, is the only place online where you’ll be able to watch HBO online for less than $15 a month. At just $5 a month, HBO is a no-brainer for DirecTV Now subscribers. A basic DirecTV Now subscription costs $35 per month and comes with 60-plus channels in addition to local channels. For $40 a month you can get a world-class basic cable package, plus HBO, without signing any long-term commitments. It’s an incredible deal, one that’s made all the better for AT&T Unlimited customers, who get a $25 discount on every DirecTV Now package. But if you don’t need streaming cable, it’s still cheaper to just subscribe to HBO Now. If you’re a previous HBO subscriber through cable, DirecTV Now will have the most familiar on-demand and live streaming interfaces of all the services listed here.

Devices: DirecTV Now is a solid service that works on almost every device, with the notable exception of PlayStation consoles. DirecTV now works with Amazon devices, Roku, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS and Android, browsers, and even Chromecast.

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Screengrab via DirecTV Now

5. Sling TV

Cost: $15 per month

As a live TV streaming service, Sling TV is a good deal, offering a small package of 30 premium channels like ESPN and AMC for just $20 per month. However, when you add a $15 HBO subscription for HBO, that costs balloons to $35 per month. That’s $5 cheaper than competitor DirecTV Now’s service with HBO, but DirecTV Now has twice the channels. Sling TV has an easy-to-learn interface, which makes it great to watch HBO online, but its costs are too high for the amount of content it offers, especially when you add on HBO service. Sling TV is a decent service, but until it adds channels, its basic package is just too basic to justify the cost as an HBO subscriber.

Devices: Sling TV is available on a wide range of platforms—Roku, Amazon Fire devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Xiaomi, LG or Samsung smart TVs, iOS or Android, a computer, or an Xbox One—but like DirecTV Now, don’t expect to find it on PlayStation. 

Photo via Sling TV

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance. 

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/watch-hbo-online/

New Movie Tech

Rokus free, ad-supported streaming channel is now live on the web

Charmaine Blake

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“Roku is today bringing its free, streaming entertainment destination, The Roku Channel, to non-Roku devices for the first time, with a launch on both the web and on select Samsung smart TVs, ahead of a wider cross-platform rollout. The channel, which offers free, ad-supported movies and TV shows, will be available across PCs, mobile phones and tablets, the company says. In addition, Roku is updating the navigation on its own devices, including Roku players and Roku TVs, to include a new feature called “Featured Free,” which will directly point users to free content from The Roku Channel, as well as other apps, like ABC, The CW, CW Seed, Fox, Freeform, Pluto TV, Sony Crackle, Tubi and more.

The Roku Channel first launched last September, as a way for Roku to differentiate its connected media devices and TVs running Roku software from rivals like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast.

Despite Roku’s popularity — it’s leading the internet video streaming device market — the company hadn’t really used its platform to promote its own content — the way Amazon pushes Prime Video shows on Fire TV owners, for example — until then.

The channel itself is populated with movies that Roku gained access to through licensing deals with studios like Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Brothers. However, it also leveraged Roku’s strength as…………………..”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/08/rokus-free-ad-supported-streaming-channel-is-now-live-on-the-web/

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New Movie Tech

Amazon Prime Video is coming to Comcasts cable boxes

Charmaine Blake

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Comcast and Amazon today announced a new partnership that will see Amazon’s Prime Video service integrated into Comcast’s Xfinity TV set-top boxes. This is the first time that Prime Video content would be added to a cable operator’s platform in the U.S.. It’s also a particularly interesting choice on Comcast’s part,  given that Amazon is directly competing with pay TV providers through its Prime Video Channels a la carte TV subscriptions. And these will be available to Comcast’s customers via the Xfinity X1 set-top box as a result of this deal.

Today, Amazon offers over 160 premium Prime Video channels, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and others that have been previously sold as add-ons to cable TV subscriptions. Being able to access to these channels……………..”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/02/amazon-prime-video-is-coming-to-comcasts-cable-boxes/

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New Movie Tech

Sinemia drops prices for its movie ticket subscriptions, which now start a $3.99 per month

Charmaine Blake

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MoviePass competitor Sinemia is lowering prices on the already low-cost movie ticket subscription plans that it introduced earlier this year.

Its monthly prices are being cut by $1 across-the-board. The cheapest plan now costs $3.99 per month, which gets you one standard movie ticket for that month. The priciest one, which covers three tickets (and includes 3D, 4D and IMAX screens), now costs $13.99 per month.

Sinemia says it’s also offering discounts on its family plans, and on plans in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

You might think that this summer promotion (which ends on September 3) seems timed to take advantage of the negative publicity around MoviePass’ new “peak pricing” for popular movies, and Sinemia’s press release doesn’t exactly deny it — the release literally begins: “At a time when MoviePass is running surge pricing …”

Sinemia subscribers also benefit from being able to purchase tickets in advance. And unlike AMC’s Stubs A-List program, Sinemia isn’t limited to a specific theater chain.

One caveat is that these plans are billed annually, so you’ll be making a bigger commitment upfront. On the bright side, this presumably locks in the lower price for a full year.

“With the release of highly-anticipated summer blockbusters, and with seasonal temperatures hitting record highs, we want to provide moviegoers a more affordable way to see must-watch films and get a break from the heat,” said Sinemia founder and CEO Rifat Oguz in the release.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/07/19/sinemia-summer-sale/

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