Tech Guide

Apple just gave you the best way to watch 'Game of Thrones' without an internet connection

Key Points
  • Apple TV Channels launches on Monday and lets you subscribe to HBO, Showtime, Starz and other premium networks.
  • You can download shows to watch offline, including HBO's "Game of Thrones," which you can't do in HBO's own apps.
  • Here's how to subscribe to HBO and download "Game of Thrones" and other shows to watch offline.
Source: Courtesy of HBO

Apple TV Channels launched on Monday, and it's the best way to watch "Game of Thrones" and other premium network content without an internet connection.

That's because, unlike HBO's other apps, including HBO Go and HBO Now, Apple's version of HBO inside Apple TV Channels lets you save episodes to watch offline when you don't have an internet connection.

Yes, you can also watch "Game of Thrones" and other HBO shows offline if you have a digital DVR subscription with your cable provider, which might allow you to record the show and watch it at a separate time. Or you can do so if you've purchased all 7 prior digital seasons of HBO. But that can be messy, and you can't always just go back and pick an episode unless you've recorded all of them and also pay for cable.

So, if you just want to subscribe to HBO and download any episode you want, whenever you want to, Apple Channels is your best bet. And you'll want to cancel your existing HBO subscription if you have one, since you're basically signing up all over again, just through Apple this time.

Note: You won't be able to access this HBO subscription from anywhere outside of the Apple TV app, which means this subscription won't work on HBO apps you might have installed on a Roku or Fire TV until Apple rolls out its Apple TV app for those platforms.

If that's all agreeable, and it might be if you only want HBO on your iPhone, iPad and Apple TV at home, then let's move on.

Here's what you do:

  • Make sure your iPhone or iPad is updated to iOS 12.3 by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Open the new Apple TV app after the update.
  • Scroll down to the section where you see "Available Apple TV Channels" and tap HBO. It looks like this:
Apple TV Channels on an iPad.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
  • Subscribe to the service for $14.99 per month. There's a one-week free trial.
  • Now tap "Game of Thrones."
  • You'll be able to download any episode from any season you want, including Sunday night's "The Bells" episode. Just tap the cloud icon next to any episode. It looks like this:
You can download HBO shows like Game of Thrones for offline viewing with Apple TV Channels.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

That's it. Now you can watch the episodes you want by opening the Apple TV app on whatever device you've downloaded the show to. If "Game of Thrones" or HBO aren't your cup of tea, you can also do this with Apple's other premium partners such as Starz and Showtime.

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