The latest series of Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire are online on Blinkbox today. Previously only seen on Sky Atlantic, the popular US shows join a line-up of HBO programmes on the film and TV rental service.
You can buy individual episodes or the entire first and second seasons of head-lopping fantasyfest Game of Thrones and Martin Scorsese's sharp-suited Prohibition potboiler Boardwalk Empire. Blinkbox is the only place in the UK you can currently watch either show -- neither is on iTunes, inexplicably. And they wonder why people pirate...
Other HBO offerings include WW2 epics Band of Brothers and The Pacific, and all four seasons of deep-South, deep-vein drama True Blood. Classic shows such as Flight of the Conchords, The Sopranos and The Wire are also on offer, as well as less well-known programmes like bigamy drama Big Love and quirky comedy Bored to Death. Here's the full line-up:
- Game of Thrones (Seasons 1 & 2)
- Boardwalk Empire (Season 1 & 2)
- True Blood (Seasons 1-4)
- The Wire (Seasons 1-4)
- Generation Kill
- Rome (Seasons 1-2)
- The Sopranos (Seasons 1-6)
- Hung (Seasons 1-3)
- Entourage (Seasons 1-8)
- Flight of the Conchords (Seasons 1-2)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm (Seasons 1-8)
- Eastbound and Down (Seasons 1-3)
- Sex and the City (Seasons 1-6)
- Bored to Death (Seasons 1-2)
- Six Feet Under (Seasons 1-5)
- Treme (Seasons 1-2)
- John Adams
- Big Love (Seasons 1-5)
- How to Make It in America (Seasons 1-2)
- The Pacific
- Band of Brothers
- Mildred Pierce
When you buy a film or TV show on Blinkbox it's stored in your library by the Blinkbox website, and can be downloaded to your computer or streamed online. You can watch your Blinkbox rentals and purchases on a PC, Mac, smart TV, Blu-ray player, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or an iPad.
The first HBO programmes are available from today, in some cases ahead of their DVD and Blu-ray release. The second season of Game of Thrones is expected to go on sale before Christmas, while Boardwalk Empire's second series lands on disc in the US late this month. That's quite a coup for Blinkbox, which tends to be forgotten when discussing the online streaming market dominated by Netflix and Lovefilm.
Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire first appeared on Sky Atlantic, the channel dedicated to heavyweight US shows. The best thing about Sky Atlantic is that you get to see new episodes concurrently with their US run, doing away with the lengthy wait for new episodes of favourite shows that invites many to pirate new episodes. But as it's a Sky channel, you need a dish and pricey contract.
Sky has just launched Now TV, an online catch-up and on-demand service that lets you watch Sky Movies channels without a dish or Sky contract. Sky Sports will be added to the service shortly, and Sky told me that Sky Atlantic will definitely follow, along with Sky 1, Sky Arts and Sky Living. A date hadn't been confirmed yet -- but if Sky wants to continue to monopolise HBO shows it had better not hang about.
Are you a Blinkbox user -- what do you think of the service? Are you a fan of Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire? And what's your favourite HBO show? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.