How to watch Game of Thrones season 5 premiere

Don't miss the episode everyone will be talking about

Unless you live under a rock, you've likely heard the news that epic fantasy Game of Thrones is returning this weekend for its fifth season.

The hugely popular show has the dubious distinction of being the most pirated television program in the world for several years running, reaching a new record of nearly 1.5 million illegal downloads in 2014.

But there's one very big difference between the show's April 12 premiere and previous seasons: HBO is finally making it a whole lot easier to watch GoT through legit means. Here's a look at all the options you have for tuning into the season premiere this Sunday. If you live in the UK, hop over to Page 2 for a rundown of UK-specific options!

HBO Now

HBO NOW

Currently the best option for Apple lovers

After months of speculation, Apple wound up landing the crown jewel with last month's announcement of a new service called HBO Now, available exclusively at launch to owners of Apple TV, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad hardware.

Priced at $14.99 per month, the killer feature of this service is that it's completely separate from an existing cable or satellite subscription - in fact, you don't have to have any TV service to sign up.

There are no long-term contracts or commitments, and HBO Now includes every episode of every original show, as well as the network's usual lineup of Hollywood blockbusters.

Perhaps the best news for Apple lovers looking to tune in to this weekend's Game of Thrones season premiere is that the first month is afree for Apple TV and iOS device owners who sign up before April 30, 2015, which means you won't pay a dime to tune in this Sunday, or for the next few weeks for that matter.

Kick it old school

HBO Game of Thrones

Cable or satellite?

Of course, if you already happen to be paying for HBO through your cable or satellite provider (or shun anything with an Apple logo), chances are you already know where you'll be on Sunday night.

Subscribing to HBO is still the best way to watch the channel's premium content, and it costs roughly the same as the new standalone Now service, which is aimed not at traditional subscribers but rather the newer generation of cord-cutters.

If you don't have a cable or satellite subscription but you have been eyeing one, there might still be time to sign up and get jacked in before the premiere (or at the very least, in time for the second episode of the season).

There's a very good reason to consider this option: many providers offer bundles that include free HBO for some amount of time, usually at least 90 days but sometimes six or even 12 months, which could potentially give you an entire season's worth of Game of Thrones, along with hundreds of other channels.

HBO Go

HBO GO app

It's HBO to-go

Unfettered Game of Thrones alone may not be enough enticement to sell your soul to the local cable or satellite company for a year or more, but what if we told you all of that beloved HBO content could be had from anywhere without paying extra?

For current HBO subscribers, HBO GO offers unlimited access to all of the network's normal programming from any device anywhere there's an internet connection. That means you can catch the GoT premier at the gym, at a coffee shop or any place else you may find yourself this Sunday evening.

The list of supported devices includes the aforementioned Apple hardware eligible for HBO Now, as well as Android smartphones and tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire, Chromecast, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles.

That's a pretty sweet bonus for cable or satellite subscribers who don't want to be chained to their TVs every Sunday, especially considering HBO GO content can be called up on demand whenever the mood strikes.

Sling TV

Sling TV Game of Thrones

Live or on-demand

If you have a strong aversion to cable and satellite subscriptions, the folks at Dish Network recently debuted a package aimed squarely at the cord-cutting generation ... provided you're OK with watching whatever is on at the moment, that is.

Sling TV delivers live television from ESPN, AMC, HGTV, TNT, A&E and others for $20 per month. There are 21 channels included in the package as of this writing, with others targeted at sports lovers, movie fans, news junkies or kids for only $5 per month more.

As of April 9, HBO is available as a $15-per-month add-on to Sling TV, featuring the same content (including Game of Thrones) live and on-demand, to as many as three devices at once (other Sling TV content is limited to a single stream at a time).

Available with a free 7-day trial, Sling TV is available on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Xbox One. Google Nexus Player support is promised for the near future. To add HBO, you'll need a Sling TV "Best of Live TV" core package or select a Sling international programming package.