Well, sort of. HBO Now with one slight tweak will make it more affordable for the average Australian to legally view HBO content.
For years now, Australians have been among the biggest illegal downloaders of content such as HBO. The main reason for this is due to the exorbitant price of cable TV (known as pay TV in Australia) available to them. While, originally, Aussies could purchase HBO content via iTunes, thanks to restrictive deals cut between HBO and Australian cable giant, Foxtel, viewing shows like Game of Thrones via any legitimate provider meant forking out a minimum of $50 a month in a fixed contract just to view this premium channel on one of the two cable providers in Australia. U.S. viewers, on the other hand, have a larger range of cable providers that offer HBO. Although, even with the variety, it still usually comes with a premium price tag.
With HBO Now, Australians will be able to view their favorite HBO content via their Apple account with just one small adjustment. As has been happening for a while now with the U.S. version of Netflix (which has a much broader range of viewing content than the watered down version of Australian Netflix released earlier this year), television addicts can purchase a VPN or DNS service which will prevent geo-blocking (also known as location blocking) and allow Australian viewers to log in and view U.S. content legally. This is how Australians will be able to view HBO Now even though it is not officially offered outside of the U.S.
So, for a mere $US15 plus a few extra dollars a month for the location blocking service, Aussie Game of Thrones fans can use HBO Now to legally watch their favorite HBO content. Added into this remarkable bargain, if HBO enthusiasts join up to HBO Now in the month of April, the first month is free! Meanwhile, if you live in the U.S., not only can you access HBO Now via your Apple account, you can also subscribe to the streaming service via Optimum.
HBO, while usually a cable premium service, has found the need to catch up with the rest of the world and offer HBO Now as a way to stream their content and, hopefully, tap into the 10 million U.S. households that will pay for broadband but not cable TV. However, HBO is already warning viewers that with the season 5 premiere of Game of Thrones on April 12, there may be streaming issues due to the steer volume of viewers tuning in,
“Frequent buffering is usually a sign of insufficient download speed from your broadband connection. HBO Now requires a reliable, high-speed Internet connection (3 Mbps or faster) while streaming video. The video player may need to buffer data if your connection speed is interrupted or dramatically slowed, even momentarily.”
“If you notice consistently different playback performance at different times of day, it may be a sign of the usage patterns of other people connected to your broadband provider or to HBO Now. Some times of day and days of the week are more popular than others for watching video on HBO Now and other streaming video services. Contact your broadband provider if you continue to experience frequent issues at certain times of day. If you have consistent problems with particular HBO Now videos, please contact HBO’s customer support.”
Will you be taking advantage of the new HBO Now service?
[Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO]