Watch HBO Now on Android and Roku right now

Think an iDevice is the only way to see HBO's new streaming service? Think again. For $9.99 you can sling it just about anywhere -- for three months.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

HBO Now is now streaming just about everywhere, thanks to PlayOn. MediaMall Technologies, Inc.

If you don't have cable but still want HBO, there's a new option: HBO Now, the network's just-launched streaming service.

However, to enjoy "Game of Thrones," "Silicon Valley" and other on-demand HBO goodness on your TV, the only option is an Apple TV box -- for now, anyway. Apple finagled a three-month exclusive for the new service, meaning it'll be July before you can access it outside the iDevice ecosystem.

Or maybe not. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the PlayOn Workaround.

PlayOn is a subscription service that lets you stream all kinds of Web-based content -- everything from Netflix and Hulu to NBC and TBS -- to all kinds of devices. All you need is a running PC, which serves as the set-top box (after a fashion) and slings all these services wherever you want them to go: Android phone or tablet, Chromecast, Roku box, game console and so on.

Interestingly, HBO Go has long been among PlayOn's offerings, and now the service supports HBO Now as well. What's more, to help cushion that three-month wait time, PlayOn is offering a three-month subscription for $9.99 (total, not per month), a price that includes PlayLater (more on that in a bit).

So here's what happens in a nutshell: After buying the PlayOn deal and installing the client software (Windows-only, alas), you sign up for your one month HBO Now trial (using your own iDevice if you have one, or a friend's if you don't).

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Then you head into PlayOn's settings, click the Channels tab, scroll down to HBO Now and enter your new username and password. Next, click the Test button to make sure your sign-in works.

Assuming it does, you're all set. If you have a Roku box, you'll just need to install the PlayOn channel. (Here's a full list of other supported devices and how to get set up with them.) You can also use PlayLater to record HBO Now shows for later viewing, either at home or on the go.

After your trial month of HBO Now, you'll be on the hook for $15 per additional month, of course. And after your three months of PlayOn/PlayLater, you'll need to extend your subscription at the regular rate (though the company frequently offers deals on both monthly and lifetime subscriptions).

But assuming you were planning to jump aboard HBO Now anyway, this is an awfully inexpensive way to enjoy it outside the Apple ecosystem -- at least until the three-month exclusive is up.