Almost everyone who is into movies and shows has heard the name of Home Box Office – HBO – the company known for bringing top notch content from both big and small screens to audiences sitting in front of their television sets.
Recently, following the surge in popularity of digital content streaming (with the advent of internet enabled televisions and what not), HBO has entered the online movie and TV show streaming game with HBO Go and HBO Now.
Whereas the former is exclusive to consumers who have an HBO cable subscription, the latter can be enjoyed by anyone who signs up for it, as an independent service.
Their libraries are pretty similar too, with smash hits such as True Blood, True Detective and Game of Thrones all on the table, as well as hundreds of blockbuster movies from a wide range of genres.
The only snag: these services are US exclusive, so you can’t watch HBO in Australia online in any straightforward manner. Whether you’re in need of a quality online platform for watching shows and movies, or you’re just wondering how can you watch Game of Thrones online, the solution lies with being able to get HBO in Austalia.
But before we move on to answering the question of how do you get HBO here, it’s important to understand why it isn’t directly possible:
Why can’t you get HBO in Australia directly?
HBO streaming Australia directly is impossible because all the shows in their libraries are only regionally licensed to HBO Go and Now (i.e. for the United States).
The same shows may have been licensed to other companies such as Netflix for Australia, or may have been bought up by a local cable provider. Indeed, no one may have a license for airing them in Australia yet!
The point is, since HBO does not have a license to broadcast its library in Australia, they have to block people from Australia attempting to access it.
They do so by checking the IP address of the device attempting to get into their library – if that device has a US based IP, it is allowed access – otherwise, case in point us Aussies, access is denied and we get a message along the lines of ‘this service is currently unavailable for your country.’
How to get HBO in Australia?
This can be done by either a VPN or a SmartDNS service. A VPN provider will route your traffic entirely through a US based IP (and encrypt it too for good measure), whereas a SmartDNS will only route selective traffic from your device via a US based DNS server.
A VPN’s encryption may slow your connection speed a bit, but it does come with the added security of encryption – a SmartDNS, on the other hand, is cheaper and faster, but also much less secure.
NordVPN and IPVanish are a couple of decent VPN services for Australians, based on their overall connection speeds, security, simple user interface and excellent server selection for the US. Alternatively, you could try Unlocator if you’ve decided on the SmartDNS route – it is both inexpensive and reliable, and has plenty of detailed guides for getting the service set up on popular device platforms.
Now that you know a bit about the background, here’s how we’ll do it:
– Start by signing up for US iTunes; you’ll need to sign out of your local iTunes account if you’ve got one, and then change your region to the US.
– Make sure you use a fresh email address for your new US based account. When asked for a payment method, either supply one that’s US based (e.g. American Express or US PayPal), or simply opt for none.
– Supply a bogus US address (can be easily acquired from several websites for free).
– When you’re asked to verify your account, click on the link you receive in the verification email.
– Log in with your US based iTunes account, and download the HBO Now app from the US based store.
– Once the app is installed, fire up your VPN / Smart DNS service and then sign up for HBO Now.
– You are now ready to enjoy HBO Now in Australia.
Remember, if you don’t have a US payment method, you can always use iTunes gift vouchers to pay for your subscription – these can be bought easily from third party merchants.