Posts tagged Thrones

Search In Pics: Google Bumper Cars, Game Of Thrones & Day At The Beach

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more. Google Bumper Car: Source: Google+ Google At The Beach: Source: Google+…

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Getting Better, But Google Still Has Work On Piracy: The Game Of Thrones Story

The search engine scores exceptionally well fighting piracy on generic searches for the popular TV series. But for the piracy-prone searches it’s supposed to be targeting, there are failures.

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How To Stream The “Game Of Thrones” Season Premiere—Legally

Mere days before the Game of Thrones season premiere on April 12, cord-cutters suddenly have more ways to watch HBO than ever before.

These include HBO Now, which rolled out to the Apple TV and Cablevision’s Optimum Online broadband service on Tuesday, and a new Sling TV add-on that will debut on or before April 11, the company announced Wednesday.

See also: Non-Apple-Using Cord Cutters Can Also Get HBO—Via Sling TV

But don’t confuse these variations with the pre-existing HBO Go streaming service, or the numerous ways to buy or rent older episodes of HBO originals. If you really, really need to watch GoT’s season premiere the moment it airs (or at least shortly thereafter), you’ll want to choose wisely.

Your Streaming HBO Choices

A tidal wave of streams are ready to carry us to Westeros now. Here’s an overview of the major players.


For people without a cable or pay TV subscription who have an Apple TV or iOS devices, or Cablevision’s Optimum Online service

Pros: VOD TV shows (i.e., HBO’s original programming) and movies, no cable service required, $15 per month. Users can stream to up to three devices simultaneously. New users can get a free 30-day trial.

Cons: No live TV streaming, and availability is very limited at launch. Currently, you can only sign up through Apple TV or iOS gadgets, or online with Optimum Online credentials. Streams through the HBO Now app on Apple TVs, iOS devices and desktop Web browsers.

HBO on Sling TV

For people without a cable or pay TV subscription who have Sling TV streaming service, specifically its Best of Live TV service core package. (HBO service scheduled to launch by Saturday, April 11)

Pros: VOD TV shows and movies, live TV streaming, no cable service required (though users must have the $20 Best of Live TV core package first), $15 per month for the HBO add-on service, and broad availability. Users can access the service through the Sling TV app on Android and iOS devices, the Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, Mac (Leopard or higher) and Windows (7 or later) computers.

Cons: Requires a Sling TV service package before you can add HBO. Total cost to get started is $35, though that comes with 20 different TV streaming channels. Only streams to one device at a time.


For HBO pay TV subscribers 

Pros: VOD TV shows and movies, free with cable service, and broad availability on mobile devices, TV set-top boxes, game consoles and Web browsers. Users can stream to up to three gadgets simultaneously. Generally better selection than the HBO streaming provided by cable or satellite providers. Bonus: HBO Go supports casting shows to televisions from mobile devices and laptops via Chromecast and Nexus Player set-top boxes.

Cons: Cable service is required, and there’s no live streaming. 

HBO via cable/satellite providers

For HBO pay TV subscribers.

Pros: VOD TV shows and movies, free with several cable or satellite services, and major providers like Comcast and Time Warner offer live TV on select devices and streaming availability on TV boxes, mobile apps and Web browsers. Depending on the subscription, users can stream up to five different gadgets simultaneously.

Cons: Not all pay TV providers offer HBO videos online, and for those that do, their selection’s not as good as HBO Go’s.  

HBO via Amazon Prime

For Prime members

Pros: VOD for TV shows, free with Prime membership, and broad availability through the ubiquitous Amazon Instant Watch app on mobile devices, TV set-top boxes and other gadgets, as well as through desktop Web browsers.

Cons: Limited selection (which doesn’t include Game of Thrones, at least not for free) of mostly older shows. 

HBO á la carte downloads, rentals and purchases

For people interested in single shows, seasons or episodes who don’t mind waiting

Pros: VOD TV shows, numerous providers—including Apple iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu and others—and numerous ways to watch on mobile devices, TV boxes and computers. Single episodes, at just a couple of bucks, are cheap.

Cons: Unless you go for a platform-independent service, you can’t pick up the show on your Android phone on your Apple TV, or vice versa. Also, depending on how many shows or season passes you buy, the costs can top the flat monthly rates of other services. Timing of available episodes tends to lag behind HBO’s own services.

The Finer Points

HBO’s Richard Plepler at the Apple Watch event

Last year, HBO CEO Richard Plepler acknowledged that he knows people share HBO logins—and he doesn’t care. On the contrary, he thinks it’s good for his company. “To us, it’s in many ways a terrific marketing vehicle for the next generation of viewers,” he said.

Looks like HBO has no problem with getting its name out there, with the service storming the digital landscape like wildlings laying siege. The service and its programming seem to be everywhere now. 

See also: HBO Will Finally Give Cord-Cutters The Streaming They Crave

Let’s start with HBO Now and HBO Go, the company’s homegrown offerings. They’re nearly identical, separated only by a few details: The latter is free and broadly available if you’re already subscribed to the pay TV premium channel. If not, and you have an Apple gadget or Cablevision broadband service, you can pick up HBO Now streaming for $15 as a standalone service. It offers a free month-long trial now, to make that even more tempting.

If availability works the same way between them, then HBO Now shows will become available shortly after the live episodes start, or at least shortly after they end. That may not be a big deal for other series, but if you’re gearing up for Game of Thrones, bear in mind that the show loves to make jaws hit the ground. You’ll want to avoid Twitter spoilers, if you care about preserving the shock factor from sudden amputations and bathroom assassinations

It’s not clear yet whether HBO Now will support Chromecast, as HBO Go does. But it’s hard to imagine that it won’t, considering HBO’s apparent penchant for consistency. (I’ve contacted HBO to find out, and will update this post if I hear back.) 

Sling TV offers live TV streaming as well as a VOD catalog, so you can watch the show as it airs. But you’ll pay for that privilege—not as much as a cable subscription, but at $35 (for the HBO add-on plus the Best of TV core package), it’s easily the most expensive streaming-only option, at least among the new HBO offerings. 

The service was supposed to be available by now, but it’s scheduled to launch on Saturday instead, to allow time for a few updates. The company, which announced a new Sling International service this week, has some changes to the core product—including parental controls, mini guide updates and, it hopes, better streaming to handle the high demand Sunday will undoubtedly wreak. 

If you take a more casual approach to your HBO viewing, don’t forget that Amazon tucked some of its programming into Prime Instant Watch. That doesn’t include free GoT episodes, unfortunately, but Prime does cover some older shows or seasons. So if you’ve always wondered what The Wire or The Sopranos was all about, and you have a Prime membership, you can indulge that curiosity for no extra cost.

But that may be hard to contemplate now, while we’re on the verge of getting reacquainted with Peter Dinklage’s brilliance this weekend. 

By the way, if TJ Miller’s antics at the Crunchies Awards show didn’t turn you off completely, his show, Silicon Valley, will also begin its new season on April 12. That’s arguably the HBO program that the tech community should be most excited about, or perhaps would if it weren’t so thoroughly overshadowed. 

In any case, Sunday just can’t come fast enough. Let the games begin. 

Game of Thrones publicity photos courtesy of HBO; Xfinity image courtesy of Comcast; all other photos and screen captures by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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HBO Go Cord-Cutting Is Coming, Just In Time For ‘Game Of Thrones’

You won’t need a cable package (or your parent’s HBO Go login) to watch the next season of HBO’s most popular original series.  The cable channel plans to launch its long-anticipated streaming only service in April, according to an internal memo published by Fortune, the same month Game of Thrones returns for its fifth season. 

CEO Richard Plepler said in October that HBO is finally ready to take the money of the 10-million broadband-only homes that don’t subscribe to cable, but he didn’t mention a cost or time frame. Now, because of a memo explaining HBO’s decision move to an outside contractor for streaming service, we know to expect the cord cutting in April, though cost is still up in the air. If you remember those HBO Go streaming outages during Game of Thrones and True Detective episodes, or saw the Twitter meltdowns as they were happening, you get a pretty good idea of why. 

See also: Why The CBS Strike Against Dish’s Auto Hop May Actually Be A Win For Dish

For viewers however, the big news isn’t that HBO is likely contracting MLB Advanced, which provides streaming for the  WWE Network, according to Fortune. It’s that there’s a date on the calendar when HBO Go will be free of its cable package. For entertainment junkies, this is the biggest news since earlier this year, when some of HBO’s original programing became available through Amazon’s streaming service. 

Plepler said in October that the stand-alone HBO Go offering will appeal to viewers who aren’t interested in the full cable package, or even a TV connection at all. CBS All Access currently offers  6,500 episodes on demand as well as live TV for $6 a month. As viewership on mobile devices increases and Netflix and Amazon continue to produce popular programming, more legacy TV outlets feel the pressure to finally cut the cord. 

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Type Or Speak “Hodor” To Google & Get A Game Of Thrones Surprise

Google and its Google Search App now have a special surprise for “Game of Thrones” fans. Saying or typing “Hodor” causes Google to respond as Hodor would — speaking all in Hodor. Along with recent updates including new Now cards and a “flip a coin” feature,…

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Game Of Thrones Hodor Character Gets His Own Google Search App Easter Egg

Along with recent updates including new Now cards and a “flip a coin” feature, Google’s Search App also includes an Easter Egg designed especially for “Game of Thrones” fans. Saying, “Ok Google, Hodor” or tapping the Search App microphone icon before…

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