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Published on December 3rd, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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As the HBO/Sling TV feud continues, here are options for Apple TV users

The month-long financial feud that has HBO blacked out on America’s largest live stream service, Sling TV, continues leaving lovers of the network looking for alternatives ways to view it.

As we reported back in early November, among the issues that have lead to the standoff include AT&T demanding Dish (the owners of Sling TV) guarantee a set number of HBO subscribers, something Dish and Sling TV are unwilling to accept.

The official line to customers from Sling TV is that HBO has made unreasonable demands they refuse to impose on customers. “(They want to) force you to pay for programming you don’t receive, especially if it’s available on other platforms like HBO Now,” an online statement reads.

The good news for Sling TV subscribers…Those subscribing to HBO at $15 more a month receive a prorated credit on their next bill based on the number of days remaining in their current billing cycle. If HBO does come back, subscribers will be charged a prorated amount for the remainder of their billing cycle.

The bad news…you obviously still can’t watch HBO on Sling TV and the hassle is you’ll have to go elsewhere to get it, maybe for more money.

So if you’re a Sling TV customer on Apple TV, what are your options for watching HBO? Here’s a guide to getting your HBO fix…

HBO Now

HBO Now – available as its own app on Apple TV – is the live streaming service of HBO just like you’d get as if you were watching it on Sling TV, but with more available on-demand content to choose from. It requires no subscription to another service like satellite or cable.

With a seven-day free trial, you can subscribe for the same rate ($14.99) you’d pay on Sling TV and cancel anytime if and when HBO returns to Sling TV. If the principal is important to you and you favor Sling TVs stance that HBO is being unfair in their demands, then going with HBO Now is essentially ‘feeding the master’. Otherwise if you don’t care either way, then who cares, right?

Be advised, HBO Now is not like the multiple HBO channels you might be familiar with on cable or satellite. You will have access to only one live feed, not multiple channels like HBO 2, HBO Signature, HBO Comedy, and others.

One important thing about HBO Now many people overlook…you can watch an episode of Game of Thrones at the same time it originally airs, but you can’t watch an entire season until the season ends and is then available on-demand. On the one hand, it’s nice to not feel the pressure to binge an entire season to avoid spoilers, but the downside is that you need to keep subscribing to HBO Now for the entirety of its release schedule.

Your subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period. Your iTunes account will automatically be charged at the same price for renewal within 24-hours prior to the end of the current billing period. You can manage your subscription and/or turn off auto-renewal by visiting your iTunes Account Settings after purchase.

HBO Go

HBO Go – available as its own Apple TV app – is an on-demand service different from HBO Now in that you need a subscription to HBO through a participating live streaming service like DirecTV Now, a satellite service or cable service, and there’s no live streaming of the network. It’s basically meant to be an additional, free add-on to an HBO subscription to offer enhanced features like on-demand content. 

You could say HBO Go costs $17.99 a month being that a subscriber is paying for it through their primary HBO provider. For that, a subscription to HBO from say DirecTV Now will cost whatever package you want plus a subscription to HBO. That’s probably not going to be the best deal financially just to get HBO, but everyone’s needs are different.

Another option for those just trying to tied things over until the HBO/Sling TV fracas ends…Try and convince a good friend or relative to add you to their HBO Go subscription through their provider. Believe me, it happens all the time.

One important thing to know about HBO Go…It’s not only not a live feed of HBO, but many new programs also are not available immediately. For instance, things like Vice News and Real Time with Bill Maher won’t be available to stream on-demand until probably the next day.

HBO via on live streaming services

With lots of free seven-day trials and similar channels and features, you might want to consider switching to one of the three other live streaming services available on Apple TV apps that offer HBO. They include…

  • Hulu with Live TV (HBO for $15 a month with any $40 a month package)
  • DirecTV Now (HBO for $5 a month with any package from $40 to $75 a month)
  • Playstation Vue (HBO for $15 a month with any package from $45 to $80 a month)

HBO via Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is available as its own Apple TV app and has been since December of 2017. Few Apple TV users realize you can buy premium channels as add-ons to Prime Video. HBO is one of those channels. You can then access content from your subscriptions through the Amazon Video app, including a lot of on-demand HBO content.

To be honest…adding other subscription content on Prime Video is confusing at first and because of the financial arrangement with Apple that prevents you from buying content directly through Amazon’s app, you’ll have to first log-in to your Amazon account through a web browser, and then add HBO from this link.

So while HBO, its new owners AT&T, and Dish try to figure out how to play nice, there are ways to avoid the mess and still get your HBO (real-world problems, right?).

While some might call this mess more of the same that push many U.S. consumers to cut the cord on cable and satellite, it just proves some things never change in the pay-TV space regardless of how you view your TV. 

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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