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What is HBO Now and is it coming to the UK?

Rejoice! HBO Now launches on Apple TV next month. Now for the bad news – it’s not coming to the UK anytime soon. 

Announced in tandem with Apple’s Spring Forward keynote, HBO Now is an on-demand streaming service that lets subscribers watch shows like Girls, True Detective, Silicon Valley and, yes, Game of Thrones for $14.99 (£9.99) every month. 

Unlike HBO Go, you don’t have to be an HBO customer to get it. It doesn’t matter who you get your broadband from, but you will have to have an iOS device, Apple TV or a Windows PC. 

Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO of HBO said “HBO Now is the next phase of innovation at HBO. With this new partnership, a natural evolution for the network, we have access to millions of Apple customers who are used to getting their favourite apps immediately.  Now, they can do the same with an HBO subscription.”

As well a not yet being available on Android, it’s also not launching on this side of the Atlantic. Not fair, you might cry. Why is the UK getting left out in the cold again

Well, we’re not, at least not totally. HBO Now already exists (sort of) over here – it’s called Now TV

While HBO Now promises access to over 2,000 titles from launch, much of the content that you’d be able to get via HBO Now you can get with a Now TV Entertainment Pass (currently £6.99/month), thanks to a longstanding agreement between Sky and HBO.

Shows like The Leftovers, Silicon Valley and Veep aren’t currently available on Now TV, but seasons 1-4 of Girls are. The first four seasons of Game of Thrones can also be streamed now and the fifth season will also be available to watch in the UK from April 13 onwards. That’s a whole day after the US broadcast mind… 

HBO Now vs Now TV: What’s the difference?

Now TV isn’t a complete copy of HBO Now and it won’t ever be. For that reason, it’s also worth keeping in mind that other shows like Elementary and Penny Dreadful (a new series of which begins soon), plus home grown efforts like Fortitude and Moone Boy, won’t be on HBO Now. 

If you’re still bemoaning the fact that HBO Now will be giving punters who sign up now the first month free – and therefore a few free episodes of Game of Thrones – you should consider that Vodafone is still giving away up to 24 months of Now TV for free with selected 4G Red plans.

If you’re in the market for a new phone and free TV sounds like a good value add, you know what to do. 

But whether you like it or not, HBO Now won’t be launching over here for a long time – if ever. Last January, Sky signed a new five-year deal which gives it exclusive rights to HBO TV in the UK. For this reason, we can’t expect HBO Now to arrive on these shores in any way, shape or form until 2019 at the earliest. 

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