Close that torrent! Here’s how to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ online (legally)

Brandon Widder
how to watch Game of Thrones online The Hound

Helen Sloan/HBO

Unless you’ve been living under the Wall for the past year — you know, that 300-mile stretch of fortification that runs along the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms — you’re probably aware that HBO’s smash fantasy series Game of Thrones is set to return on Sunday, July 16, for its seventh season.

It will continue to unfurl the brooding, incestuous bloodbath that is George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, likely shocking new and old fans alike as it introduces more and more characters before unceremoniously killing them off. If you don’t have a cable subscription, however, you’re probably wondering about how to watch Game of Thrones online.

Though finding a legal and affordable way to stream the show has been somewhat difficult in the past, the premium cable network has now made watching the series easier than ever before. There’s HBO Now, the network’s stand-alone streaming service, as well as HBO Go, a free streaming option for subscribers to the cable channel. Both give you on-demand access to HBO’s vast library of original television series and exclusive movies. A few different services also offer on-demand access to HBO’s offerings as an add-on subscription. We sincerely doubt these extra means of watching will prevent the show from retaining its title as one of the most pirated shows of all time, but at least it’s now less of a hassle to watch it guilt-free — so long as you have a bit of cash to spare and a high tolerance for the occasional animal beheading.

Watch via HBO Go

how to watch Game of Thrones online HBO Go

Content is king, and no one provides content better than the source itself. HBO Go was once the only official method for streaming Game of Thrones in high-definition, prior to the announcement of HBO Now. It’s still a valid one, though, assuming you already have an HBO subscription with your cable provider. The excellent service provides unlimited access to all of HBO’s original programming — including past seasons of Game of Thrones and behind-the-scenes footage with the cast — along with a wide variety of theatrically released films and television specials currently playing on the premium channel.

As previously mentioned, accessing HBO Go online or through the accompanying app requires you to purchase a premium HBO package. If you already have cable, you can expect an HBO subscription to cost $15 at the very least, with the exact rate fluctuating based on your region and the host of available promotions. HBO Go is free once you opt for a subscription through participating TV providers, and can be accessed using the HBO Go website or a slew of different platforms ranging from Apple to Android. For your convenience, we’ve listed the supported devices below, but keep in mind that HBO Go availability is based on your service provider and may not be available for certain platforms within a specified area. Nonetheless, each new episode of Game of Thrones will be available for viewing within HBO Go immediately upon airing.

Apple iPad (2nd gen or later, iOS 8+) Roku (details here)
Apple iPhone 4s or later (iOS 8+) Xbox 360
Apple TV (4th gen: tvOS 9+, 2nd/3rd gen: 7.1.2+) Xbox One
Apple iPod Touch (5th gen or later, iOS 8+) Android phones (Android 4.1+)
Apple iPad Mini (1st gen or later, iOS 8+) Android tablets (Android 4.1+)
Amazon Fire TV (1st gen or later) Android TV (Android 5.0+)
Amazon Fire TV Stick (1st gen or later) Amazon Fire Tablets
Samsung Smart TVs (select models) Chromecast (details here)
PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4
MacOS 10.6 or later  Windows Vista or later

Watch via HBO Now

how to watch Game of Thrones online HBO Now interface

HBO Now functions much like the aforementioned HBO Go — providing quick access to all available HBO content — but without the need for a cable or satellite subscription. HBO is currently offering a monthlong free trial for new users, but after that period, you’ll be paying a $15-per-month subscription for the service (or $10, if you’re a student). Once subscribed, you’ll be granted access to HBO’s massive library of on-demand content. This includes the entirety of Game of Thrones, along with the latest episodes as they air.

It’s also important to note that, while HBO Now was once exclusive to Apple devices, the service is now available on a variety of devices and web browsers. The stand-alone service is an undisputed godsend for those who have cut the cable and turned to on-demand streaming services, but still long for the quality content HBO provides. If you’re not interested in cable, or cable alternatives like Sling TV, this is going to be your best option. See the full list of compatible devices below.

Apple TV (4th gen: tvOS 9.0+, 3rd gen: 7.1.2+) Apple iPad (2nd gen or later, iOS 8+)
Apple iPod Touch (5th gen or later, iOS 8+) Apple iPhone 4s or later (iOS 8+)
Amazon FireTV (1st gen or later) Apple iPad Mini (2nd gen or later)
Amazon FireTV Stick (1st gen or later) Android TV (5.0 or later)
Roku (2nd gen or later) Android Phones (Android 4.2+)
Android Tablets (Android 4.2+) Kindle Fire Tablets (3rd gen or later)
Xbox One Xbox 360
Windows 7 or later MacOS 10.11 or later
PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4
Samsung Smart TVs (select models)  Chromecast (details here)

Watch via Sling TV

Sling TV user interface

Sling TV’s success is reflective of a changing entertainment landscape. The internet TV service has the potential to change the television industry forever, essentially offering up à la carte programming. There is one caveat, however, in that you must subscribe to one of Sling TV’s packages ($20-plus) before you can add the optional HBO channel for an additional $15. The core package, Sling Orange, will also grant you access to ESPN, AMC, CNN, and TBS, among a host of other channels.

If you do decide to pony up the necessary $35 for Orange and HBO, you’ll be able to access the same wealth of content you would if you decided to opt for HBO Go or HBO Now. You’ll have unrestrained access to all of network’s premium programming, from its award-winning documentaries to past seasons of Game of Thrones, directly within the Sling TV app, which is available across a wide range of devices (outlined below). It’s definitely one of the more expensive ways to go, but it does guarantee you’ll have immediate access to new Thrones episodes as they air, in addition to a plethora of desirable channels. And did we mention Sling TV allows you to stream HBO on up to three devices simultaneously? Well, it does, even if Sling TV typically enforces a single-stream limit.

Apple iPad (iOS 9+) Xbox One
Apple iPhone (iOS 9+) Roku (LT and higher)
Apple TV (4th gen) Android TV (Android 4.4+)
Amazon Fire tablets (Android 4.4.2+) Amazon Fire TV (all generations)
Android phones (Android 4.4+) Android tablets (Android 4.4+)
Chromecast (details here) Windows 7 or later
MacOS 10.7 or later

Watch via Hulu

how to watch Game of Thrones online Hulu's HBO package

For fans of network television, Hulu has been the go-to streaming platform for years. For $8 a month –or $11, if you want to eliminate commercials — you’ll get unfettered access to dozens of TV shows across a multitude of channels, including series like Rick and Morty that aren’t available via any other streaming platform. With its massive repertoire of original programming, Netflix might have a bigger catalog overall, but Hulu still boasts a ton of exclusive content that’s typically reserved for those with a cable subscription.

Hulu has been filling out its offerings with a slew of premium add-ons — the company even recently announced a live TV streaming serviceShowtime, Starz, and Cinemax are all currently available, and each will cost you around $10 a month on top of your Hulu subscription. The undeniable star of the show, however, is HBO. As with Sling, forking over an extra $15 a month will net you access to the HBO’s entire library, including shows, films, and behind-the-scenes content. Tacking on HBO will also grant you access to the HBO Now app, in case you use a device that’s not compatible with one of the devices listed below.

PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4
Android TV Xbox 360
Windows 7 or later MacOS 10.6 or later
Roku 2.8+ (select models) Amazon Fire TV Stick
 TiVo (select models) Amazon Fire TV
Apple TV (2nd + 3rd gen) Vizio Smart TVs (details here)
LG Smart TVs (select models) Samsung Smart TVs (select models)
Sony Smart TVs (details here) Windows 7 or later
Nintendo Wii Nintendo Wii U

Hulu has also recently introduced another app, which is integrated with the platform’s new live TV streaming service. Only a few devices are currently compatible, but we expect that list to grow quickly. Check out the table below for details.

Android phones (Android 5+) Android tablets (Android 5+)
Apple TV (4th gen) Chromecast (details here)
Apple iPhone 5 or later Apple iPad (4th gen or later)
Apple iPod Touch (6th gen or later) Apple iPad Mini (2nd gen or later)
Xbox One Xbox One S

Watch via Amazon

how to watch game of thrones online amazon video

Amazon seems to have a hand in everything these days. The online shopping giant has found success with its Amazon Prime Video streaming service — a service available to Amazon Prime members — and with its line of streaming devices, like the Fire TV Stick. On its own, Amazon Video is rather robust, boasting a solid slate of programming. New offerings are added each month, and the service hosts content from a number of different sources, giving subscribers a lot of options to choose from.

If that’s not enough, the company’s Amazon Channels service also allows Prime members to subscribe to premium channels — HBO, for example — via Amazon. If you decide to go this route, you’ll be able to log into HBO with your Amazon credentials, and watch the full range of HBO content via the Amazon Prime Video app on compatible devices (listed below). A subscription will cost you $15 a month on top of your Amazon Prime subscription, which costs $9 a month or $99 annually. You will be able to watch the entirety of Game of Thrones in 4K with select Fire TV products and smart televisions, as well as gain full access to HBO Now.

TiVo (details here) Roku (details here)
Apple iPhone (iOS 7+) Xbox 360
Apple iPad (iOS 7+) Xbox One
Apple iPod Touch (iOS 7+) Android phones (Android 4.0+)
Apple iPad Mini (iOS 7+) Android tablets
Amazon Fire TV (2015) Select Blu-ray players (details here)
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2015) Kindle Fire Tablets (1st gen or later)
Smart TVs (select models) Select A/V receivers (details here)
PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4
MacOS 10.6 or later  Windows Vista or later
Nintendo Wii Select home theater sound systems (details here)
Nintendo Wii U Select home theatre systems (details here)

Update: Added Hulu and Amazon as options, and updated the list of compatible devices across each platform.