HBO/Cinemax Free Preview (and IFC too!)

If you have DIRECTV it’s time to get that DVR working overtime because pretty much every provider is offering a free preview of HBO and Cinemax this weekend to coincide with the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones.

The preview is on today and lasts until April 14. During this time, all the HBO and Cinemax channel is open to you. That means hundreds of hours of entertainment all available for free, capped off with the long-awaited premiere of Game of Thrones season 8 on Sunday.

It’s no surprise that AT&T is pushing this premiere very hard. AT&T owns DIRECTV satellite service and also HBO. The show is reputed to be the most expensive in history, with each of the last six episodes costing roughly $80 million. That’s a lot, but I’m sure the folks at HBO would gladly greenlight another 50 episodes if the Thrones producers wanted to do them. It’s a truly global sensation.

A little more about the free preview

HBO and Cinemax start at channel 501 in your guide. You’ll find something for everyone with a truly massive selection of movies and showGs. Everything you record off satellite stays on your DVR indefinitely, so make sure you stock up.

You’ll also have access to the complete on demand library for HBO and Cinemax as well during the free preview. Most on demand programming is good for about a month after you record it, so make sure that you get to that stuff first if you’re planning to fill up that DVR.

Oh yeah, and IFC too

Surprisingly, there’s a second free preview on DIRECTV this week. IFC on channel 333 is free to everyone. It’s a great little channel that deserves more attention than it gets.

IFC has been around since 1994. Originally known as the “Independent Film Channel,” it was started to highlight high-quality films from unknown filmmakers. Like pretty much every other channel, it started to morph into a general-purpose “lifestyle” channel in the late 2000s. The focus now is on original programming for people with a somewhat dark and refined sense of humor.

So get watching already

I can’t imagine that I need to push you very hard to start watching HBO and Game of Thrones. You can start by bingeing on early seasons if you have never seen the show. I think the best option if you want to really get caught up is to watch all of season 1 then skip straight to season 7. You’ll miss several really important bits of plot but you can use the web to fill in the gaps. At least you’ll get a reminder of where it all started and you’ll be ready to watch on Sunday.

A bit of warning, especially if you don’t have AT&T internet

I am guessing that the web is going to be pretty congested on Sunday as everyone tries to watch. I’ve heard AT&T is adding as much extra capacity as they can to try to compensate, but I don’t know much about other service providers. Satellite TV service doesn’t get congested no matter how many people watch, so remember, the best way to watch the battle for Westeros is on DIRECTV!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.