Amazon Fire tablet owners have been enjoying HBO Now since July, but strangely enough, the streaming service wasn’t actually available on the company’s Fire TV or Fire TV Stick – devices actually meant for watching TV and movies – until today.
As reported by TechCrunch, the app appeared for owners of Fire TV devices quietly today, with the update notes simply stating that version 1.0.0 “is now available for Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices.” Whether or not the update saw much in the way of fanfare, this brings HBO’s $15/month standalone streaming service one step closer to being available to the streaming public at large.
The HBO Now app itself is free, but requires a $15 per month subscription to pipe into the HBO mainline. Unlike its predecessor HBO Go, HBO Now doesn’t require a cable subscription for access, appealing to those who have given up the ghost on pay TV. Both services allow viewers to watch virtually all programming in real-time as it airs on the network channels, in addition to on-demand streaming of the full catalog of shows in HBO’s catalog. If you’re not already an HBO Now subscriber, a 30-day free trial is available after downloading the app.
While HBO Now was initially exclusive to Apple TV devices, the service has expanded to more platforms since its initial release in April of this year. Earlier this month HBO Now arrived on Google’s Chromecast after being made available for Android phones and tablets in July.
Aside from individual smart TVs, the only major streaming platform without an HBO Now app is the Roku. A subscription to the Internet TV service Sling TV can give Roku owners access to HBO in roundabout way, but those who don’t use Sling are left out for the time being. While it is assumed an HBO Now app for Roku devices is in the works, there’s no word as to when it might arrive.
Amazon’s Fire TV sells for $100, which the slimmed-down Fire TV Stick sells for just $40. The Fire TV Stick is our pick for better value, though it shares some of the same caveats of the original Fire TV, like limited voice search.
If you’re a huge Game of Thrones or Silicon Valley fan who doesn’t want to be tied down by a cable subscription, HBO Now is definitely worth exploring, and now that the service has arrived on both the Fire TV Stick and Chromecast, it’s never been easier (or more affordable) to get in.