Q. I saw your article about HBO having some shows for free. But I’m not very good at technology stuff so can you explain how to watch them. I’m clueless. — Rachel, Shady Side, Maryland.
Rachel, you’re right. HBO last week began offering 500 hours of free programming including 20 Warner Bros. movies, 10 documentaries, and every episode of nine of HBO’s best original shows.
The offer, which runs until May, is designed to help Coronavirus shut-ins pass the time. But it will also help AT&T, which owns HBO, promote the new HBO Max streaming service which debuts in May. The service, which will include the HBO catalog as well as other programming, will cost $14.99 a month.
The nine HBO originals now available for free are: The Sopranos, The Wire, Veep, True Blood, Six Feet Under, Ballers, Barry, Silicon Valley, and Succession (pictured above).
But how do you watch them, you ask? Let me explain the ways:
Cable and Satellite TV
Go to the On Demand section of your cable or satellite TV service and click on HBO. Then, look for the section under HBO that says ‘watch these shows for free.’ (each pay TV service may have different wording.) Then, click on the episode and begin watching. It’s that easy.
Dish is not participating in the free HBO offer because it doesn’t carry the channel due to a longtime fee dispute. But other than that, I’m not aware of any major cable or satellite TV service that’s not participating. But there may be one or two so consult your provider if it’s not available.
Go to HBO.com, HBONow.com or HBOGo.com and, on the site’s Home Page, you’ll see the free shows and movies under the header, ‘Stream For Free: No Subscription Required.’ Click on the title of your choosing and start watching. Again, it’s that easy. You don’t have to insert a credit card number, or even an e-mail user name and password. Just. Start. Watching.
Mobile Devices/Streaming Devices
You can use your smart phone to surf to HBO’s three web sites as well, but downloading either the HBO Now or HBO Go app is a better way to go. You can download the app in your phone’s app store. Once the app is downloaded onto your screen, click on it, and on the app’s main page will be the header, ‘Stream For Free. No Subscription Required.’ Then all you have to do is click on a show and start watching. No personal or account information is required.
You can use the apps on streaming devices as well, but note that you need to use the Roku Channel on Roku to watch free HBO. The free shows are not available on HBO’s apps on Roku. See this article for more on free HBO on Roku.
Rachel, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe.
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— Phillip Swann