It’s time to get ready to watch episode 2 of Game of Thrones season 8, as the fight for the Iron Throne heats up and The White Walkers close in.
Of course, for the traditionalists among us, watching Game of Thrones Season 8 is as simple as heading to our TVs and flipping on HBO. But there are just as many Game of Thrones fans who have cut the cable cord since the last season aired, and getting to the final season might not be that easy.
We’ve created the following guide for how to watch Game of Thrones season 8. From HBO Go to HBO Now and beyond, the number of ways to access the service might surprise you.
If you’re already an HBO subscriber through your cable or satellite provider, HBO Go is your best bet for streaming Game of Thrones.
With HBO Go, you have access to allthe HBO programming, including Game of Thrones, as well as older shows like Sex and the City and The Sopranos. Better yet, it’s accessible in a slew of locations, including on your phone, on your laptop and on set-top boxes like Apple TV.
In order to access HBO Go, you’ll first need to sign in to the service with your cable or satellite provider’s credentials. As long as HBO can verify that you’re a subscriber, you’ll get access to the service.
Unlike some of the other offerings in this lineup, though, HBO Go doesn’t come with a livestreaming option for most shows and episodes. So, if you’re hoping to catch Game of Thrones live, HBO Go won’t be the solution for you.
Instead, you’ll have access to the show after it premieres on the network, so you’ll be a little behind your friends who watch it live.
There is, however, one caveat: HBO Go does allow for streaming “big premieres,” so there is a chance that the first episode of Season 8 will stream live over the service on April 14.
If you’re a cord-cutter who doesn’t want to be beholden to cable and satellite companies but still wants to watch Game of Thrones, HBO Now could be the best solution for you.
With HBO Now, you can sign up for the $15-a-month service and have access to the entire slate of HBO shows, documentaries and other programming from the device of your choosing.
HBO Now and HBO Go share some similarities. Both services give you access to all of HBO’s programming, and you can stream the pay cable channel’s content to just about any device you want. HBO Now and HBO Go both also offer live-streaming on “big premieres,” so you likely can watch Game of Thrones Season 8’s first episode while it airs on TV.
However, HBO Now is still generally designed to be a destination for watching content after it’s aired on TV, so it’s not necessarily the ideal solution if you want a full-on replacement to the traditional network.
To sign up for HBO Now, simply go to the HBO Now site and subscribe. You’ll get your first month free. After that, you’ll be able to access HBO Now on smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, and through the browser.
If you’re looking for a hybrid model that lets you back away from traditional cable or satellite subscriptions but still rely on a satellite provider for your entertainment fix, AT&T’s DirecTV Now is an option.
The service, which starts at $50 a month, gives you live TV access to at least 40 channels. If you want to pay a bit more, you can get access to more channels. DirecTV Now tops out at $70 per month for more than 50 live channels and on-demand content.
So, what does all that have to do with Game of Thrones? Well, if you sign up for DirecTV Now, you’ll find that HBO is included with either package. You can also access on-demand content through the service.
DirecTV Now is available on a range of devices, including your smartphone and set-top boxes, and you can cancel your subscription anytime. But since HBO is included in the price of your subscription, it presents one of the better HBO options in this roundup.
Amazon Prime Video Channels
Amazon offers its own option for you if you’re interested in accessing HBO programming through the service.
When you head to Amazon Prime Video Channels, you’ll be given the option to sign up for HBO for $15 per month. The service, which is available through Amazon and accepts payment through your Amazon account, provides unlimited access to the network’s entire slate of programming.
Amazon’s offering is essentially HBO Now. However, it allows you to watch HBO programming both in the HBO Now app and in the Amazon Prime Video app, and pay for the service through Amazon.com account. And since the Prime Video app is available on a slew of devices, you can access Game of Thrones wherever you prefer.
Like Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple plans to include HBO in its upcoming a la carte streaming service, confusingly also called Channels. But Apple Channels, which will be part of Apple’s revamped TV app, isn’t arriving until May. Game of Thrones will already be deep into Season 8 by that time. Apple also hasn’t announced pricing.
Other Streaming Services
Many other live TV streaming services offer access to HBO — that’s the good news. The bad news is that unlike with DirecTV Now, HBO isn’t typically included with any of the regular packages. Instead, it’s a separate add-on where you pay an additional fee for HBO on top of your regular subscription.
Hulu with Live TV lets you add on HBO, but it costs $15 per month. That’s in addition to the $45 a month you’re already paying for 60-plus channels.
Playstation Vue does include HBO, but only if you opt for its priciest Ultra package. PlayStation Vue Ultra gives you access to 85-plus channels in addition to HBO, but it also costs $80 a month.
HBO isn’t an option for Sling TV and YouTube TV.
How do I use a VPN to watch from outside the U.S.?
If you’re planning to travel internationally, you might be concerned that you won’t be able to watch Game of Thrones from afar. But rest assured, it shouldn’t be a problem.
With help from a VPN service, you can connect to your desired streaming service through a U.S. server and access the show as if you’re still stateside.
After evaluating a host of VPN services, we selected as our top pick ExpressVPN, which will meet the needs of the vast majority of users. It boasts outstanding compatibility with most devices, and its connection speeds are outstanding. And at a cost of $12.95 per month, it’s nicely affordable. Best of all, if you sign up for six months or a year of service, you can reduce your price even further.
ExpressVPN: Based on our testing, this is the best overall VPN. ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like what you get.
NordVPN: If it’s security you’re most concerned about, turn to NordVPN, which has 2048-bit encryption. This VPN service also features proxy extensions for everything from bitcoin and PayPal to credit cards and web browsers like Chrome and Firefox.
TunnelBear: If you’re new to VPNs, TunnelBear is a good place to start. The VPN service has an easy-to-use interface that won’t turn novices away. Be aware, however, that you’ll get average performance and that other services offer better monthly pricing.