Apple promised it would be available in time for the start of the new season of Game of Thrones on April 12 but HBO Now has arrived five days early for U.S. viewers.
As of April 7 users can get HBO Now on Apple TV, iOS and Cablevision's Optimum for $14.99 per month. The channel allows users to stream HBO content, including original series like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire, as well as HBO's full collection of movies.
Apple announced an exclusive streaming deal for HBO Now at the Apple Watch launch event in March, but this deal still allows traditional TV services to show HBO content online. As a result HBO Now is also live on Optimum Online, Cablevision's Internet service. Sling TV viewers will also be able to watch the Game of Thrones season premiere, though it will be through HBO's live service rather than HBO Now.
Apple TV, iOS and Cablevision customers can sign up for a free 30-day trial at the HBO Now Website.
Apple slashed the Apple TV's price to $69 in an attempt to drum up sales to go along with the introduction of HBO Now. For those without an Apple TV, HBO Now apps for iPhone and iPad can be downloaded for free on the Apple app store.
Apple's "exclusive" deal lasts for three months, at which point you can expect to see an Android app appear in the Google Play Store.
HBO has been teasing the new service since October 2014, claiming the company was prepping the service to go after the 80 million homes that do not have HBO, and that the premium network would use "all means at its disposal to go after all of them." It looked like HBO Now would be available on all streaming devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google's Chromecast until the surprise exclusive announcement at Apple's Spring Forward watch-launching event last month.
Cablevision's Optimum service area is available to viewers in the New York City area, Connecticut and New Jersey, so for the majority of American's the only way to get HBO Now is via Apple. It'll be interesting to see how many viewers the three-month head start will attract to Apple TV from its growing list of streaming TV competitors.