For all the talk about television networks and cable providers jumping into the 21st century with apps for accessing premium entertainment on the go, through just about any device, cable cutters are all to painfully aware of one huge caveat – you have to be subscribed to your cable or satellite television provider in order to enjoy premium television shows on your devices.

HBO, by and large the most prominent provider of original television shows, has an excellent HBO Go service available on multiple platforms, but again – you need to be a cable customer which means paying a ridiculous cable bill of hundred bucks per month or more.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Turns out you can in fact enjoy shows like Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Leftovers, Silicon Valley and more, without committing your soul to a cable provider. You only need to know the magic word to keep HBO without paying for the additional 500 channels you never watch…

Geoffrey Fowler wrote a nice article over at The Wall Street Journal about exposing “the secret code” to getting HBO without paying for a big cable package.

I should point out that only a handful of biggest providers seem to be willing to compromise with their customers who just want access to HBO.

Here’s what you need to ask for:

  • Comcast: “Internet Plus”
  • Time Warner Cable: “Starter TV+HBO and an Internet plan”
  • Verizon FiOS: “50/25 Mbps + Local News and Sports + HBO (or Showtime)”
  • AT&T U-verse: “HBO Internet Plus”

A word of caution:

A warning anytime you try to downgrade or cut off service: Cable companies sometimes can unfortunately make things confusing, or even confrontational, with their customers.

They could at any time change the names of these special options, or ditch them completely. Either move would be the wrong choice. If they do, or hassle you to keep higher-paying services, just keep saying: “I want Internet and HBO.”

You’ll be basically downgrading your full-blown subscription to a cheaper package with less content and services so it pays to weigh for yourself if you can do without hundreds of additional channels you never really watch anyway.

As a bonus, the aforementioned basic service packages are way cheaper than higher-tier services they tricked you into buying. If you’ve ever dealt with the likes of Comcast and others, you’re aware these conglomerates leverage the popularity of HBO to upsell you to their most expensive offerings.

The price difference alone is worth spending some time yelling at your customer service representative over the phone.

Specifically, the author of the article was able to downgrade his triple-play Comcast family subscription to the more affordable “Internet Plus” with a few basic channels (HBO and HBO Go included) and broadband Internet, cutting his monthly bill from $212 to just $75.

Apple TV (HBO Go activate 001)

The downgrade eliminated landline phone service through the cable company, but who needs a fixed line these days?

It’s important to keep in mind that you’re still required to subscribe to some kind of service to get HBO. That’s because HBO to this date refuses to offer online-only subscriptions for cable-cutters who’d like to enjoy premium HBO shows on their computer and mobile devices.

Of course, you could always borrow a friend’s HBO login and do away with your cable package altogether but an HBO spokesman cautioned that those logins are “limited to those residing in the home.”

Hopefully, this trick will work for you. If so, please share your experience with fellow readers down in the comments.

  • Hopefully, this trick will work for you

    1. You shouldn’t have to use tricks like this just to signup without expensive packages.
    2. This is still limited to the US-of-A, if you travel (or don’t live in the US) good luck getting your fix abroad. The entertainment industry would stand to make a lot of money by providing licenses for use all around the world instead of partaking in region blocking, etc. Too bad they can’t see this…

    • Bugs Bunnay

      how would they tell if you try to access it out of the country? does fake gps work? or does the app have access to your phone’s data location?

      • dsgcobra

        usually goes by the IP address that is connecting, they would be able to tell the country you are connecting from.

      • im2slick4u

        They can tell where you are based off of your IP address

      • Eduardo

        If you’re outside the US, you could connect to a US-based VPN.

  • Ara Rezaee

    Watch Game of Thrones on your friends TV, there! you don’t have to pay at all!

  • I just used my friend ID.
    It works in other states and country. I don’t know how but it works. I have Fios.

  • TwinSon

    Movie Box. I win.

    • Tony Trenkle Jr.

      One of the BEST reasons to jailbreak! If not for Movie Box, I would’ve gotten the iOS 8 beta on my iPad awhile ago.

      • Unknown

        You don’t have to jailbreak to install movie box you know. All you need is a developer account and sign the app your self and or use zeusmos. That’s it.

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        I don’t have a developer account though.

      • R4

        Neither do I, I just got isigncloud

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        Ah ok. Well I’ll do some research on that

    • Sound_Mind24

      How, you need internet.

      • Don’t you need Internet to stream anything on the Internet?

      • Sound_Mind24

        Correct. But I guess his point is that you only have to pay for internet, not cable.

      • TwinSon

        Considering how you just used “internets” to post that, I don’t feel that questions needs an answer…

        But in my SPECIFIC case, I have the Unlimited Everything plan on T-mobile for $70 a month.


    As a cable cutter this is great information Christian, I hope providers start parting out more of their networks in this manner (only pay for what you use). I’ll be calling comcast soon.

  • Dan

    My trick?

    1. download utorrent
    2. Go to the Pirate Bay
    3. download
    4. enjoy

    • Bugs Bunnay

      you might want to add a proxy like getprivate before downloading. some people get piracy notifications from their service providers

      • Dan

        I use a vpn (ipredator) but it’s not really needed. I live in Canada and there are no real laws against downloaders, never got a warning in 10 years. I only download tv shows though since the Netflix selection sucks in my country and cable fees are insane for American TV. I buy my games and apps.

  • furetmalicieux

    The Pirate Bay..

  • slamfest

    Just use PopcornTime

  • Yujin

    Too much work. Popcorn time!

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  • therealjjohnson

    This isn’t a trick. It’s a package readily available to anyone. They proactively tried to sell it to me when I just wanted to get internet by itself. How it’s written it seems like this is some deep dark secret lol.

  • therealjjohnson

    Here’s a thought…if there is a service that provides something you want, and millions of people want it too, just pay for it.

  • Jae. Just J.

    This “you could always borrow a friend’s HBO login” since your friend lives with you, and you split the cable bill but he/she is the only name on the account as we all know iDB would never condone stealing or gasp, pirating. 😛

  • Blip dude

    Just borrow a friends credentials. No money wasted on cable packages, and no time and storage space wasted on torrents. Some HBO shows are already available for Digital Copy and/or Ultraviolet. Just look for the codes on eBay if you really want to own a series.

  • felixtaf

    I have invested my cable bills in TB’s of HDD’s, because the quality uploads in TPB is getting bigger and bigger and am replacing my TV rips with Blue-ray rips.

    TPB FTW – No tricks!

  • Alex Adam Viruet

    There’s a service I use; it’s nationwide; it’s cheap; the only problem: only works with the Rokus; it’s a private channel that you can add; the name is Nanoflix Connect; This service is a combination of things; MovieBox;ShowBox; Redbox; 120 live TV channels including HBO; PPV events etc (IP TV) ; TV series with subtitles; adult channels with parental control; anyway you paid via Paypal only $20.00 USD/ month without contracts; best part you can go with any country with the service.

  • Travis Thomas

    Just buy an amazon prime membership for $99 a year. On the Amazon Instant video app prime members get access to all of the HBO Go content!!

  • laxman

    Another thing makes me remember that Game of Thrones isnt going to come back till March next year……

  • Byron C Mayes

    I’m fine with cable-only HBO requiring some sort of cable subscription to view off-cable. It’s a cable channel and always has been.

    What miffs me is the broadcast networks — NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX — requiring a cable subscription when they broadcast over the air. Tell me how to get those on my iPad without paying a cable bill and I’ll be all over it.