Updated: May 10, 2017
- Start with setting up a VPN account
- Next, download and install the VPN software onto your PC
- Open up the software and connect to a US-based server location
- If you already have one; login to your HBO NOW account, or signup for an account
- Enjoy HBO NOW on your PC from anywhere in the world
How to Watch HBO NOW on PC
in more detail:
HBO NOW is a fantastic on-demand media streaming service from HBO that allows you to watch all the best and latest series from HBO whenever you want.
So it's no surprise that I signed up immediately when I found out about it and quickly got hooked on a bunch of epic shows. If there's on thing that HBO do better than any other production company, it's awesome TV series.
However, when I took a trip to Europe earlier last year I was frustrated to find that when I attempted to access my HBO NOW account from Spain -- I was blocked, being presented with this very disappointing message:
This was obviously annoying, since I was very excited to catch up on the latest episodes of shows I had missed during my traveling to Spain. So I refused to let that defeat me; deciding to figure out a complete solution for how to watch HBO NOW on PC devices (I had to leave my Mac at home in the states, so had my Dell laptop with me in Europe.)
Here is my quick guide on how to solve this issue, which if you follow the steps will allow you to unblock and watch HBO NOW on your PC. Read on!
Why Might HBO NOW Not be Available on Your PC?
So the first thing I wanted to figure out was whether I was being blocked from HBO NOW purely because I was not on my usual Mac computer.
This was quickly shown to not be the issue, since I was able to borrow my Spanish friend's Mac that evening, and even with my HBO NOW account details he was unable to access the service.
With knowing it is not a device problem, I moved onto the only next logically possibility: my location changing from being in the US to now being outside it. Was this blocking my access to HBO NOW?
Yes! After doing some research online I quickly realised that it was indeed my location that was stopping me from watching HBO NOW on my PC. I had changed location, and somehow HBO NOW had determined this so when I attempted to access the service from outside the US, I was being denied.
After further research, I determined that this geographical restriction on the service is because HBO NOW makes licensing agreements with the owners of every show they offer on the service, and it costs HBO a lot of money to buy licensing rights -- AND -- they have to buy these rights individually for every country they want to offer the show to.
Thus, HBO NOW chooses to restrict its service to users accessing the service from within the US.
How is HBO NOW Blocking Access?
The important thing to understand in order to see why the solution I lay out below works so effectively, is exactly how HBO NOW blocks access to users outside the US. Like, technically how they achieve this.
HOB NOW achieve this access-dependancy by using a process known as geo-blocking. This process basically acts as a doorman to the service. This doorman determines where each and every user is located at the moment they are trying to access the service. If they are located inside the US; the doorman lets them in -- if outside the US; no dice.
Most importantly, the way this 'doorman' is able to figure out each and every user's location is through checking your IP address at the time you go to the service.
You see, your IP address is always unique to your location. So your house has an IP address, and your local coffee shop does too, as does your school/work/etc. However, although unique -- they will always accurately show the country you are located in at that moment.
Therefore, the solution for how to watch HBO NOW on PC devices, is by figuring out a method to securely, effectively alter your IP address to change your "location" to within the US -- without having to physically move to the states, of course!
After discovering this as the solution, I researched a whole bunch of viable options to use for changing your IP address and quickly determined that the very best option is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN.)
How to Use a VPN to Watch HBO NOW on Your PC
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
There are a very large amount of VPN providers that offering different levels of service at differing prices, so I checked out a whole bunch of the ones with the best reputations; reviewed them; then decided to go with ExpressVPN -- purely because it offers me the best level of service for my budget.
So for the purpose of this quick step-by-step setup guide, I will use ExpressVPN as the example.
Firstly, go to ExpressVPN's website and signup for a plan that best suits your needs and price preference. Then you will be taken through the simple payment and account confirmation stages. Here's how this process looks:
When you've completed the signup process, which just takes a minute max, you will then be prompted to download the VPN software onto your PC.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
As you will see in the download area on the ExpressVPN site that you are linked to within your confirmation email, you can install and setup the VPN on practically every device you would ever want to use to watch HBO NOW on.
Go ahead and click on the Windows download option, and the software will download to your PC:
The software will download very quickly, since it's super 'lightweight', meaning it takes up very little memory on your PC.
Installation is straightforward, like any software install you've done on your PC. Just follow the steps and click through until it is installed. No "tech expertise" required to get this VPN installed.
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
To connect to the VPN, simply open up the freshly installed software and you will be presented with the main interface. You will see right away that this software is incredibly simple to use.
This is the point in the process that you choose which location you want to change your IP address to, so be sure to select a server location in a US-based city, of which you have a lot of choice.
Once you've chosen a US-based location, click "Connect" and in a moment you will be fully connected to the VPN. This will have changed your real IP address to now show your location as within the US.
Here's how clean the ExpressVPN interface looks on both my Mac and Android devices:
Step 4: Setup US iTunes Account
This step is just for those of you that do not yet have a HBO NOW account. If, like me, you already have one - then you are ready to go ahead and access the service to your heart's content!
To get a HBO NOW account, you need a US iTunes account (as you can only sign up for HBO NOW via iTunes or Optimum. So go ahead and create a US iTunes account via the site and your already-connected US VPN connection. You won't be required to provides any credit card details for this, so that's good.
Once you've setup your US iTunes account, you will now be able to go to HBO NOW and sign up via this.
Step 5: Setup HBO NOW Account and Enjoy
You will now be able to watch HBO NOW on your PC (or any device you like!) via your VPN from any location outside the US.
The added bonus of using a VPN as the solution, is that once you're connected on it; you have a layer of privacy protection on your online activity, which keeps your behaviour and data almost untraceable back to your location or identity. Awesome!
So there you go - a full, quick, effective step-by-step guide on how to watch HBO NOW on PC devices by using a VPN. This entire process should take you no more than 5 minutes max.
As I said earlier in this guide, there are a lot of VPN service providers options to choose from, and although I went with ExpressVPN, there are a bunch of viable high-quality options in addition to this one. So here are the top five providers I personally reviewed for you to check out:
Thanks for reading my quick guide. Hopefully you are now sitting back in your non-US based location, enjoying your favourite HBO NOW shows.
If you have any feedback or questions on this, go ahead and let me know via the comments section below.
Happy HBO NOW'ing!