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HBO Now: everything you need to know about HBO's standalone service

HBO Now

HBO Now is a subscription service from premium US TV network Home Box Office that brings you all of the best HBO content, including movies, original TV shows, sports events and documentaries. 

The difference between HBO Now and HBO Go is HBO Now is a completely standalone service, which means you don't need an HBO subscription already in order to use it and you don't need a cable box – HBO Now is app-only.

The service costs $14.99 (about £10, AU$20) per month and gives new users a free one-month trial. It was first rolled out to Apple iTunes users with an Apple TV or devices running iOS like the iPhone 6 and iPad. 

However, HBO Now content can also be accessed through the HBO Now website, on Android and Amazon Kindle Fire, as well as via HBO Now apps for Xbox 360, Xbox One, the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4

Aside from seasons of Game of Thrones and Girls, like you might expect, HBO Now offers dozens of movies, and all of its best original series going back to The Sopranos and several … ahem ... "after dark" skin flicks.

We've highlighted some of the best content on the service below, as well as all the info about how to get the service and what you need to know before signing up.

UPDATE: Since we first wrote this guide, a lot has changed about HBO Now's offering, incuding VR support. If you have a Daydream View headset and a compatible phone, you can use the HBO NOW VR app to watch your favorite shows in virtual reality. 

HBO Now

Image Credit: HBO Now

HBO Now price and availability

HBO Now's pricing is pretty straightforward. The service is available to US customers for $14.99 per month paid via the iTunes Store, the app or the web. 

Taking HBO up on the offer isn't without a catch: You're automatically enrolled into the program, which means you'll need to physically unsubscribe at the end of the free month-long trial to stop your card from getting charged.

Despite that one shortcoming, there's a lot to like here. Unlike its sister service HBO Go, there's no cable subscription required, nor are you locked into a contract.

HBO Now is limited to the US and other US territories, which means if you're based in Europe or the UK it's best to look away now.

How do I get it?

Subscribing to the service is a piece of cake.

If you own an Apple device, just head to the App Store and download the HBO Now app. From there you'll be prompted to create a new account and start your one month free trial. Apple TV users can mirror these steps on their devices.

Android and Fire Tablet owners simply need to go to their respective store fronts and download the HBO Now app. Create an account and get up and running. You can now watch Game of Thrones to your heart's content.

However, If you're a resident of New York City and subscribe to Cablevision, there's actually a third way to get HBO Now by adding it to your basic cable package.

If you don't fit into one of those categories, you're out of luck. At least for few months. HBO has more partnerships in the works for the Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast, but it will be some time until we see the service launch on those devices.

The best TV shows on HBO Now

Watchmen

(Image credit: HBO)

Watchmen

What else is anyone talking about but the Watchmen TV series? The HBO TV adaptation is quickly capturing attention for its take on the Watchmen comics – tackling today's fraught racial politics head on in a bold remix of the source material. Starring the likes of Regina King, Jeremy Irons, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in its star-studded cast, this is not a show to miss.

Season one is available to stream on HBO Now (episodes weekly)

HBO Now

Image Credit: HBO

Game of Thrones 

Like Winter, you probably knew this one was coming. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice saga has enraptured us season after season with its brutal telling of lords and ladies fighting, conniving and … uh, kissing, to win a horribly uncomfortable looking chair. All of the seasons are available to watch (or rewatch) on HBO Now. What else are meant to do until the Bloodmoon prequel series comes out?

All 8 seasons are available on HBO Now

HBO Now

Image Credit: HBO

The Wire 

Shows about cops and robbers were a dime a dozen in the late '90s and early 2000s. It seems like every week there was a new crime drama that either took place in the courthouse or out on the streets where gritty, foul-mouthed badges upheld the law with a sidearm and implacable morals. The Wire is a lot like the old shows, sure, but it improves upon them by giving you truly deep characters on both sides of the law that you wanted to succeed, and some you just can't wait to see bite a bullet. There are five seasons currently available on HBO Now.

All 5 seasons are on HBO Now

The Sopranos. Image Credit: HBO

The Sopranos. Image Credit: HBO (Image credit: HBO)

Sopranos

The famous US crime drama starring James Gandolfini is about a mobster living in New Jersey trying to balance his life of crime with supporting his family. Produced by HBO, the show has been a huge success all over the world and is definitely worth a re-watch or a first watch if you never got round to it when it first aired back in 1999.

All 6 seasons are on HBO Now

The Larry Sanders Show

A laugh-out-loud comedy show that paved the way for many fly-on-the-wall style TV and movie comedies in the future, it follows the goings-on behind the fictional Larry Sanders show. Created and starring Gary Shandling, it has a fantastic cast, including Rip Torn, Jeffrey Tambor,  Janeane Garofalo and plenty of guest stars every week. It's brilliantly funny, but also deals with some of the deeper emotional issues of being a TV celebrity. 

All 6 seasons are on HBO Now

Veep. Image Credit: HBO

Veep. Image Credit: HBO (Image credit: HBO)

Veep

One of the funniest TV shows you'll ever watch, this (often dark) comedy and political satire is about Vice President (and wannabe President) Selina Meyer (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus). It's created by the brilliant Armando Iannucci, who wrote The Thick Of It, which this is a loose US adaptation of. 

All 7 seasons are on HBO Now

A still from Westworld Season 2

Image Credit: HBO (Image credit: HBO)

Westworld

A re-imagining of a 1973 film of the same name, the Westworld TV series is an HBO original that's proved to be a huge success. It's about a very (very, very) immersive 'theme park' experience (although calling it that hardly does it justice) that sees people arrive as guests and interact with the 'hosts', which are highly-advanced robots with human-like AI. That all sounds nice, but the thing is: humans are terrible. And the hosts of Westworld start to realise they can fight back against the violent guests and even their own creators.

Both seasons of Westworld are available on HBO Now