HBO is a premium cable channel and it’s one of the most popular premium channels currently. Considering the lineup of shows like Game of Thrones, Succession, True Detective, and many others it’s easy to see why people like HBO as much as they do. It used to be necessary to sign up for cable and then pay an added fee for HBO. These days you can sign up to a streaming service at a cheaper price and add HBO for less than you would have paid with cable. You’re still paying for service, but you’re getting it a lot cheaper and without a cable contract!
If you want to find a way to watch HBO without cable, this guide is for you. In the following sections you can learn all you need to know about streaming services in general and which ones are available to allow you to watch HBO online.
How to Watch HBO Without Cable: At a Glance
HBO offers several award-winning dramas, comedies, documentaries, and in some cases, feature films. There are plenty of reasons to watch HBO and now you don’t need cable to do it. As you can imagine, there are not any free ways to watch HBO, or at least not any legal ones. However, choosing a streaming service will offer a lower cost way to watch the channel you want at a price that is fair. With that in mind, here are a couple options that make great ways to watch HBO without cable. Further down, you’ll find the complete list of available services, as well.
Amazon Channels are available to Amazon Prime members. Prime (free 30-day trial) offers 2-day shipping, a movie and music library, and much more. Once you’re a member you’ll have access to a plethora of Amazon Channels and HBO is one of them. HBO is available for $15 per month and it comes with a one-week free trial. After that you’ll have access to a complete HBO on-demand library and several HBO network live streams. Amazon Prime is available to stream on most common streaming devices, so you’ll be able to watch HBO online at home or on-the-go.
Hulu with Live TV (free 7-day trial) lets you add HBO to your subscription for just $15 a month, creating a great package of channels. A variety of other channels are available, as well. You’ll have access to sports, kids programming, reality TV, and much more. Some areas even have local channel access. You’ll be able to stream HBO and Hulu Live on mobile devices, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and other devices.
Using Streaming Services to Watch HBO Without Cable
Whether you’ve recently cut the cord or you’re still trying to decide if you should, you may have some questions about the differences between streaming and cable. If you’re overwhelmed and not sure what the correct choice is for you, this section may be able to help.
When you consider the absolute basics cable and streaming services aren’t that different. Both options offer a variety of channels and seemingly endless amounts of entertainment for a monthly fee. The rest of the details are pretty different beyond that. So, let’s look at some of those differences.
Pricing – $100+ vs $40. This is the monetary difference between cable and streaming services. On average you’ll pay over $100 for cable and around $40 for many streaming services. Some streaming services offer packages as low as $20 per month. Other plans are closer to cable and cost around $80. Ultimately, the price you pay will depend on how many channels you have and the price you can live with.
Contract vs Contract-Free – Cable companies generally require a contract. Sometimes this means having to deal with harsh penalties if you cancel before your contract ends. Unfortunately, they can also be an excuse to raise your bill when the contract ends. Streaming services do not require contracts. Use the service as long as you want and cancel when you’re ready. It’s a hassle-free process and it only takes a minute to cancel.
Viewing Options – With cable you are given a cable box or a satellite dish. This generally costs you a rental fee on your cable bill. From there, you’re generally able to watch TV in the rooms that have a TV and cable box. Each box includes a fee. Streaming services use streaming devices that work with internet or wi-fi. These devices include mobile devices, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and more. The devices can be moved around and used just about anywhere. This means you have more ways to watch your favorite shows in more locations.
Features – Cable generally offers a specific channel lineup and sometimes an on-demand library. A DVR could be included, but usually adds another fee. Streaming services also include an on-demand library and cloud-based DVRs, which are part of the package with no additional fees. Streaming services also allow you to use TV Everywhere apps. That gives you even more ways to watch your favorite shows.
You can check our streaming devices guide to learn more about available streaming devices.
- Local and cable channels are available in most areas – cable channels are available nationwide
- Plans vary in their lineup. As for prices, the lowest packages may be as low as $20, while the highest is around $80. Average prices are in the $40 range
- Streaming services do not require contracts
- Stream on multiple devices including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, mobile devices, and more
Now that you know more about streaming services, let’s check out what’s offering the HBO live stream without cable!
Watch the HBO Live Stream with Amazon Channels
In order to subscribe to Amazon Channels, you’ll need to be an Amazon Prime member. Amazon Prime offers free 2-day shipping on most items sold at Amazon, along with many other features like music and movie/TV libraries, original programming, an e-book library, special deals, and more. Once you’re a Prime member you can use Amazon Channels, which will give you complete on-demand libraries for each channel and in some cases, you’ll receive live channels this way, as well. For example, adding HBO gives you the full HBO on-demand library plus multiple HBO live stream channels. Here are some added details about YouTube TV:
- Amazon Prime offers 2-day shipping, e-book, movie/TV, and music libraries, and much more
- Add Amazon Channels like HBO for a fee
- With HBO, you’ll get multiple live stream channels and an on-demand library for $15
- Both Amazon Prime and HBO come with a free trial
- Monthly and annual prices are available for Amazon Prime membership – the best option price-wise is the annual fee at $119, which comes out to less than $10 per month
Amazon Prime is a great service and it gets better when you add Amazon Channels. You’ll be free to connect to multiple devices and can watch the thousands of shows offered by Prime, plus whatever channels you have. If you’re new to Amazon Prime, you’ll get a 30-day membership. Even if you’re not adding Amazon Channels will get you a free trial for each channel before you pay anything.
Our Amazon Prime review has more details.
Watch HBO Online without Cable using Hulu with Live TV
Hulu with Live TV is a great option if you want live and on-demand viewing options. With Hulu Live, you’ll start with 60+ channels and you’ll also have Hulu’s full on-demand service. If you’re looking for a cable replacement, it’s definitely a top option thanks to the versatility of the package. Hulu Live will stream on most devices, so you can watch just about anywhere as long as you have a solid Wi-Fi connection. Here are some of the highlights:
- More than 60 channels
- The channel lineup includes ESPN, Boomerang, TNT, CW, TBS, Discovery, USA, and more
- Local channels can be found in most areas
- Offers a robust on-demand service in addition to live channels
- $45 per month
- A 7-day Hulu Live trial is included
- HBO is available for $15 for month
- Watch on computers, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, iOS and Android, and more
Hulu Live is one of the best options even though HBO is an extra charge. Other upgrades include the ability to add Showtime, Starz, or Cinemax. There’s also upgrades for the number of devices you can simultaneously stream on or how much space you receive with your cloud-DVR. The point is that Hulu Live offers you options.
Our Hulu with Live TV review is available with more details.
The HBO Live Stream is Available on PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue offers four packages and you can add HBO to any of them. You start by picking a base package, which starts at $45 per month. This choice is popular with larger families because you have the freedom to stream on five devices at once and you can even make your own user profiles. The price is slightly higher than average, but you get a mix of channels and plenty of options for upgrades. Details for PS Vue include:
- Choose from four plans starting with 45 channels or choose one of the larger plans
- PS Vue is contract-free
- Local channels may be available live
- Watch AMC, ESPN, FX, USA, TLC, and more
- HBO is available for $15/month
- An on-demand library offers even more content
- 28-day storage is offered with the cloud-DVR
- Stream on five devices at the same time
- Watch on PS3/PS4, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS/Android, Roku, and more
- Free 5-day trial available
PS Vue offers plenty of upgrades including HBO. You can choose from four packages, so you’ll be set to choose the package that is best suited to you. The cloud-DVR is available to ensure you don’t have to miss your favorite shows and since you can stream on five devices simultaneously, you won’t have to worry about getting bumped off by someone watching something else. PS Vue works on most devices too, so you’ll have plenty of ways to watch.
Check out our PS Vue review for more details.
Watch the HBO Live Stream without Cable on DIRECTV NOW
DIRECTV NOW is currently the only service that offers HBO in both of their available channel lineups. You can choose from two plans with multiple channels and many of the common features that you’ll find with other services. DIRECTV NOW works with most streaming devices. You don’t need a satellite dish or cable box. There are no contracts, so you’ll be free to cancel when you want.
Here’s more on DIRECTV NOW:
- Choose from two packages offering up to 50 channels
- Plans from between $50 and $70 a month
- Both plans offer HBO for no additional fee
- Many areas will receive some or all area local channels
- Watch TNT, ESPN, Food Network, CW, Hallmark, USA, and others
- The cloud-DVR only features a small amount of space
- Watch on most devices from Apple TV to iOS and Android mobile devices
DIRECTV NOW costs more than the average streaming package and generally offers less popular channels. They do include HBO, but if you’re looking for a complete package option you might find some of your favorite channels missing. With that in mind, you should consider all of the channels you want and determine what is available in your area. It’s nice that HBO is included, but that shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice other channels you want.
You can find added details in our DIRECTV NOW review.
The HBO Live Stream is Also on HBO NOW
HBO NOW is the standalone HBO streaming service. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to services that have been mentioned here. The biggest difference is that you won’t get multiple channels with HBO NOW. As the name would imply, you get the best of HBO, making this a great choice for people looking for HBO but nothing else. Details for HBO NOW include:
- HBO NOW is available for $14.99 per month
- This is a contract-free service, so you can cancel anytime
- Your plan includes the complete HBO on-demand library of current and many former shows from the beginning to current episodes. New movies are also added each week.
- A free one-week trial is included
- Watch on most devices – mobile, Apple TV, Chromecast, and more
If you’re only looking for HBO, this is a good option. HBO NOW is affordable in comparison to the other services offering it and you receive all of the best that HBO has to offer. You can stream on most devices and you’ll get the first week free to give it a try. While HBO NOW does not offer a live stream, episodes appear on-demand at the time they would live, so you can still watch the newest Game of Thrones at the same time as all of your cable-viewing friends.
Check out our HBO NOW trial, if you’re curious.
As you can see, there are more than a few ways to watch HBO online without cable. From Amazon Channels to HBO NOW, you can find live and on-demand options as a single channel or in a full live stream package. Watching HBO doesn’t mean you have to have cable, but to do it legally you will need some type of paid streaming service.
There’s no free option for HBO beyond rare occasions where you can watch a random episode for free.
While there are lots of ways to stream HBO without cable, it can get confusing sometimes. If you have any questions, were more than willing to do what we can to help. We even have a list of cable alternatives if you’re ready to cut the cord.