Q. I saw your story about free HBO programming, but I couldn’t find the free stuff on my HBO Now app on Roku. Is Roku not having the free shows? — Blake, Port Republic, Maryland. 

Blake, as you note, HBO is offering 500 free hours of programming until May to give Coronavirus shut-ins a boost during this difficult time. The shows include some of HBO’s top originals over the years including The Sopranos, Veep and The Wire.

I have published a how-to guide to watching HBO for free, but using a Roku streaming device to do so is a bit complicated so let me explain.

You can not watch the free HBO programming on Roku using the two HBO apps, HBO Go and HBO Now. If you use those, you will need a HBO subscription.

However, if you click on The Roku Channel app, you will find a section that features the free HBO shows. Once you’ve found a show you want to watch, click on it, and then click on the line that says all free episodes of that program. The show’s complete list of episodes will then appear and you can watch any one you desire.

Why is Roku featuring the free HBO programming on its Roku Channel rather than the HBO apps? The streaming device company is trying to get more Roku owners to use that channel to build loyalty to its brand.

It’s always something, isn’t it?

Blake, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe.

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— Phillip Swann