If you know what ‘winter is coming’ means then you hardly need an explanation of what we are talking about. The time has come and Game of Thrones is back. Season 7 kicks off this Sunday and again, if you know what ‘winter is here’ means then you know how important this season is going to be. Which means it is time to start prepping. Game of Thrones airs on HBO and if you have a subscription already, then all is well and good. Relax! However, if you are a ‘cord cutter’ then tuning in to see what happens in Westeros is not quite as simple. You will need to find an alternate way of watching the show. Luckily for you, there are a few. Although be warned, none are free - at least not for the entire length of season 7.
By far the easiest way to take advantage of all the GoT action is to simply download HBO NOW. Unlike the company's other “Go” app, NOW requires no cable affiliation - in fact, this is largely the point of NOW as it is designed for those who are just willing to pay on a month-to-month basis for access to HBO content - including Game of Thrones. The bad news is that as far as this sort of app goes, HBO NOW is not cheap - as it will cost you $14.99 per month. The very good news however, is that HBO happens to be offering a one month free trial before you have to start paying. So that is at least the first three episodes for free - maybe four if you can hold out until Monday before signing up.
Alternatively, if you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, then you do have the option of simply adding HBO to your Prime service through Amazon Channels. The cost of the service is not any different, as through Amazon Prime you will still be paying $14.99 per month to access HBO. Although, you won't have to set up a new payment plan with HBO directly as your payment will just go through your Amazon account. One thing to note for those looking to save on the cost, through Amazon Channels, the HBO trial period is only 7 days long. Significantly shorter than what HBO NOW offers.
Sling TV is another route in which you can gain access to HBO, and like the other options the HBO access will set you back $14.99 per month. The difference however, is that you also will gain access to other live TV content through Sling TV - at a price of course. The cheapest option Sling TV offers is $20 per month so when you then add on HBO, the cheapest option becomes $35 per month. Sling TV does offer a 7-day trial period as well, so you can always test this service out to see if it is right for you.
Another option which goes along the Sling TV lines is PlayStation Vue. Like Sling TV, you will once again have to pay for the initial TV package first and then add HBO as an add-on. Compared to Sling TV, PlayStation Vue does offer more channels, but for a higher monthly cost. In fact, PlayStation only very recently upped the prices of its plans, so unfortunately now they cost more than they did just a couple of weeks ago. Either way, the current most affordable option comes in st $39.99 and that is before HBO's $14.99 per month add-on. At the other end of the spectrum PlayStation Vue's Ultra package costs $74.99 per month and for that cost you do get access to a wealth of channels - including sports, showtime, and HBO as part of the one price. Like most of the other options, PlayStation Vue offers a 7 day trial period to get you started.
Then there is also Hulu. Which in many ways is one of the most versatile options. While Hulu offers Netflix-style pricing schemes for on-demand content, it also now offers a live TV option which costs $39.99. For that price, you not only get access to various live TV channels, but also the Hulu back catalog (which is a nice perk). In addition, you can add HBO for $14.99 per month. The difference however with Hulu, is that Hulu is offering the full one month’s free access to HBO. So this might be a better option for those looking to maximize their channels (including HBO) while keeping the cost as low as possible.
So it is clear that whichever route you go you are going to have to pay for Game of Thrones via HBO. However, you can limit the damage it will cost you by maximizing the various deals. So in theory (and providing all deals remain active over the course of the season) you could flip between trial periods and grab a couple of free episodes of Game of Thrones per service. Likewise there are many more options that you can sign up for a free trial and consume Game of Thrones content, although a number of them will not work with Android TV, or will be very limited in their Android TV support - such as DIRECTV NOW. To sum up, HBO NOW does by far seem to be the easiest and most affordable option for Game of Thrones. You will get the first month free, and then will be liable for just the baseline $14.99 per month. However, while the other options cost more, they do give you more. So it might be a matter of weighing up whether you just want to watch GoT or would like more access to more content. If nothing else, the launch of GoT season 7 could be a ideal time to test run all the cord cutting services to see which one best suits your needs.