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HBO Max vs. HBO Now vs. HBO Go: What Are the Differences?

WarnerMedia has launched the much-hyped HBO Max, promising a large catalog of exclusive and original streaming content. But how is HBO Max different from the HBO Now and HBO Go?

With so many HBO-branded packages, it can get confusing for the average consumer. So, in this article, we look at HBO Max vs. HBO Now vs. HBO Go to help you decide which service to choose.

What Is HBO Now?

hbo now streaming service

HBO Now is HBO’s standalone streaming service for the United States. It is similar to Netflix in that users stream directly from HBO and therefore do not require a third-party site, service, or cable package.

HBO Now costs $14.99/month, excluding tax. Since the service does not form part of a cable package, you are billed monthly and can cancel your subscription at any time without being locked into a longer contract period.

HBO Now includes the full catalog of HBO content, including popular HBO series, but not content from other WarnerMedia properties.

What Is HBO Go?

hbo go streaming website

HBO Go is the streaming app for customers in the United States who have a cable TV package subscription to HBO. Unlike HBO Now, HBO Go is part of a TV package and is not a standalone service. Without a cable account with an HBO subscription, you can’t log into the HBO Go app.

The price of HBO Go varies according to the channel subscription prices for different cable providers.

However, it provides access to the exact same content and catalog as HBO Now.

What Is HBO Max?

hbo max streaming service

HBO Max is also a streaming platform for HBO movies and series. However, rather than only featuring HBO content, it also offers content from across WarnerMedia’s catalog. The platform will also host original content specific to HBO Max called Max Originals.

The service includes all of HBO’s catalog, as well as titles from other WarnerMedia networks and franchises. This includes content from DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes Cartoons, and select TCM classic films.

An HBO Max subscription costs $14.99/month (excluding tax) if purchased directly from HBOMax.com. However, WarnerMedia states that if you buy it as part of a package or from another provider, prices may vary.

For example, if you purchase HBO Max access via Hulu, YouTube TV, or your cable provider, prices may differ. AT&T and other internet providers also include access to HBO Max as a part of certain packages.

HBO Max Vs. HBO Now Vs. HBO Go: The Main Differences

With so many HBO-branded streaming apps, it’s no wonder that people are confused about which service to use and subscribe to. So what’s the difference between HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max?

HBO Now and HBO Go differ in terms of how you access HBO content: either as a standalone streaming service for the former, or through a cable TV package for the latter.

HBO Max, on the other hand, is essentially the replacement for HBO Now and HBO Go. It offers a central platform through which HBO subscribers can access content, with a bigger catalog of series and movies thanks to the inclusion of WarnerMedia properties. HBO Max also includes Max Originals, which will be exclusive content that can’t be streamed on any other platforms.

While HBO Go and HBO Now still remain functional, this appears to be for the benefit of devices and providers that don’t yet support HBO Max. HBO Max is essentially the future of streaming HBO content thanks to its more centralized login process and larger catalog.

How to Get HBO Max

HBO Max is only available to customers in the United States and select US territories. The streaming platform cannot be accessed from outside the US. But how do you subscribe to the service if you want the expanded catalog on offer?

The process differs slightly depending on whether you already have an HBO subscription or are a new customer.

Existing HBO Subscribers

Existing direct-billed subscribers for HBO Now are automatically upgraded to HBO Max at no extra cost, so long as the update is supported by your device. The subscription plans are the same price when billed directly by HBO, making the transition seamless.

However, customers billed through Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Optimum, and Verizon Fios Internet can also upgrade their HBO Now app to HBO Max without paying extra.

HBO Go users are able to move to HBO Max, but this will depend on cable provider support for the new platform.

According to WarnerMedia, HBO Go users direct-billed through AT&T, AT&T TV, DIRECTV, U-Verse TV, Cox, Hulu, Optimum, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios TV, or select independent providers can also access HBO Max at no extra cost.

If your cable provider supports HBO Max, you will be able to use your cable account details to log into HBO Max. But if you get the error message “Currently Unavailable” when you open HBO Max, this means your provider doesn’t currently support the service.

New HBO Subscribers

If you don’t already subscribe to HBO through one of its older services or a third party, you can get HBO Max by signing up on the HBO Max website. This is the most direct way to access the service.

You can also sign up via the HBO Max app on Android, iOS, or Samsung smart TVs.

Other providers who offer HBO Max access include:

  • Apple TV Channels
  • Hulu
  • YouTube TV

Alternatively, you can sign up for HBO Max via your cable provider.

HBO Max is also available through certain internet providers, including:

  • AT&T
  • Consolidated Communications
  • Liberty
  • Optimum
  • Verizon

You will have to check which packages and plans include HBO Max access as part of their bundled services.

Which HBO Service Should You Subscribe To?

If you’re not currently subscribed to a streaming service for HBO content, HBO Max is the way to go. It’s the same price as HBO Now and offers more content. Of course, you might still use HBO Go if your cable provider doesn’t provide access to HBO Max yet.

However, if you’re looking for an alternative streaming service, there are many others you can choose from. Take a look at our list of the best TV streaming services for more options.

Read the full article: HBO Max vs. HBO Now vs. HBO Go: What Are the Differences?

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The 10 Most Relaxing TV Shows on Netflix

What do Breaking Bad, Hannibal, and The Americans have in common? They’re all quality shows deserving of the awards that came their way. However, they’re also dark, heavy, and difficult to watch when you’re stressed. They’re definitely not relaxing TV shows.

Sometimes you just want to come home, plop down on the couch, and watch a palate cleansing-type of show to help you unwind. For that, you’ll want to check out these relaxing Netflix shows. You could even use these TV shows to help you fall asleep, if you want.

1. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Imagine a talk show hosted by comedian Jerry Seinfeld where every guest is one of his famous friends. And then imagine it takes place inside a café as well as the car ride there. No scripts. No self-promotion. It’s entirely authentic, genuine, and absolutely hilarious.

Just look at the name of the show, it says it all: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The episodes are about 15 to 20 minutes long, and each one features a vintage car picked by Seinfeld himself to match the personality of that episode’s guest.

It’s the ultimate show for when you want to shut off your brain and just have a laugh.

2. Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere

Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere is basically the same thing as The Joy of Painting, but the episodes are taken from the 1991-1992 seasons of the show, and not all of the episodes are there.

But who cares? Nothing beats the feeling of watching Bob Ross paint up another scenic masterpiece, complete with his soft voice and gentle encouragements. Looking for a relaxing TV show you can fall asleep to? Then look no further.

3. Chef’s Table

Have you seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi? If you have and you liked it, then you really should watch Chef’s Table. Directed by the same person (David Gelb), Chef’s Table is one of the best Netflix documentaries for foodies.

Every episode focuses on the life and cuisine of a world-class Michelin-starred chef, and brings out the human element that’s often missing in food documentaries.

If that sounds boring, think again. Not only is Chef’s Table a beautifully shot show, it’s deeply engrossing and inspirational. The hours will melt away as you watch.

4. Explained

While Explained is a Netflix show, it feels more suited for a YouTube series in that every episode is about 15 minutes long, educational, entertaining, and entirely self-contained to a single per-episode topic.

There are Explained episodes for cryptocurrency, K-pop, esports, the stock market, cricket, the longevity of life, and more. It’s enough to give you a general understanding of a topic’s history and importance, and it’s presented in a mostly unbiased way that’s engaging—and surprisingly relaxing.

5. The Great British Baking Show

Also known as The Great British Bake Off, this show is perhaps the most wholesome reality TV competition you’ll ever watch (rivaled only by MasterChef Junior).

The Great British Baking Show has amateur bakers face off in a series of elimination rounds until there’s a winner. But the best part is that it’s devoid of the hardcore competitive spirit that props up most American reality shows. It oozes with kindness, humor, and great food.

6. Terrace House

Have you ever wanted to watch Big Brother or The Real World but without any of the fabricated drama or scripted narratives? Then you should give Terrace House a try.

Six strangers come together to live in a shared house for a month, with hidden cameras everywhere. However, this is a Japanese reality show, and there’s a different culture and atmosphere than what you normally see in American reality TV. It’s soft, it’s polite, and it’s a joy to watch.

The original Terrace House (Boys and Girls Next Door) ran for three years in Japan, but Netflix revived it in 2015 with Boys and Girls in the City. This was followed by the sequels Aloha State and Opening New Doors. Only the Netflix-produced ones are available on Netflix.

7. Our Planet

The world around us is incredible. We’re lucky to live on Planet Earth, surrounded by so much natural beauty, and Our Planet is a documentary series that brings the exotic jungles and deep ocean seas right onto your TV screen.

It’s hosted by Sir David Attenborough, who provides insightful and calming commentary and also fronts some of the best BBC documentaries on Netflix. The show was also film entirely in Ultra High Definition, which makes the visuals even more stunning. There’s something meditative about watching nature play out in some of the most remote corners of the world.

8. Samurai Gourmet

Samurai Gourmet is a light-hearted show that follows a newly retired Japanese man who roams his neighborhood and explores the rich culinary offerings therein.

In a word, Samurai Gourmet is refreshing. Few shows are as easy to watch as this one, and it demands nothing of you in return.

9. Aggretsuko

Aggretsuko is a Japanese anime that’s ultra cute, but it’s not a kid’s show. The cuteness contrasts against the main character’s mundane and frustrating office life, as well as her secret love of death metal karaoke.

The episodes are short at just 15 minutes apiece, so you can pop them on whenever you—like the main character—feel like you need to blow off some steam.

10. The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes

The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes is a documentary series fronted by British architect Piers Taylor and property developer (and actress) Caroline Quentin. They head to remote locations and check out some fantastic custom-designed homes, exploring how they’ve been built to adapt to their surroundings.

Though you might get a bit of house envy when watching it, this is still a delightful show to watch. Seeing the creativity on display is inspiring, but there’s also no drama or competition about it—this is purely a relaxing, friendly look at how other people live.

Use Meditation Tools to Relax Even More

These are some of the best TV shows to put on when you’ve had a stressful day and want something cheerful and fun to help you relax. Or even to fall asleep to.

And if you want to relax even more, you should try out these easy meditation tools for beginners to learn mindfulness.

Read the full article: The 10 Most Relaxing TV Shows on Netflix

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Binge-Watching vs. Binge-Racing: What It Is and Why You Should Try It

Everyone knows about binge-watching, which is where you watch lots of episodes of a TV show in a row without a break. These days, mainly thanks to streaming, binge-watching is a mainstream activity. Because binge-watching lets you finish a show before any spoilers hit the internet.

However, have you heard of binge-racing? Which is one step up from binge-watching. Binge-racing is a competition to complete a TV show within a certain amount of time. And in this article we explain exactly what binge-racing is and what the pros and cons of binge-racing are…

What Is Binge-Racing?

Binge-watching is when you watch lots of episodes of the same TV show back-to-back. It’s long been a concept, but was really popularized with the boom of streaming services such as Netflix.

However, for television fans, binge-watching just isn’t enough any more. Now, there’s the next level, and it’s called binge-racing.

what is binge-racing?

Binge-racing is where fans commit to finish shows within 24 hours of their release.

You probably think that sounds mad. How can you possibly finish an entire TV show in 24 hours? The truth is, you can’t, unless it’s a new show with not many episodes. However, what you can do is speed through one season of a show as soon as it gets released on Netflix in your region. That’s what binge-racing is all about.

When Did Binge-Racing Begin?

Netflix coined the term in 2017. In a press release at the time, Brian Wright, Vice President of Original Series, said:

“There’s a unique satisfaction that comes from being the first to finish a story—whether it’s the final page of a book or the last, climactic moments of your favorite TV show. Netflix allows you to watch in a way you never could before, and there’s nothing better than seeing a show engage our members and ignite a passion for viewing.”

Between 2013 and 2016, the amount of people binge-racing increased more than 20 times. With Netflix now offering a wider range of content, and there being lots of other great streaming services, there’s no doubt that the amount of people binge-racing will have increased.

Binge-racing is a global phenomenon and brings a spirit of competition to proceedings. Binge-racers don’t just want to skim through the storylines, they want to be the fastest to do it. For them, the speed of watching is an achievement to be proud of. Similar to how some people speed-run their way through video games.

The Pros and Cons of Binge-Racing

If you have ever marathoned a show before, you probably know what’s good and bad about binge-watching. So let’s take a closer look at binge-racing and discuss the pros and cons of the practice.

Pro: You Get a Show Watched Quickly

If you choose to binge-race a new show, you guarantee only spending one day (and one night) on it and not an hour longer.

When you’re facing a choice between watching a great TV show or doing something productive, the chances are you’ll go for the first option. With the amount of great content available on streaming services, it becomes all too easy to procrastinate and keep choosing TV over completing work.

It might seem odd, but by choosing to take a break and watch the whole season in one go (and in under 24 hours), you’re choosing to be more productive. Rather than being distracted by this interesting show for weeks, you can get it over with quickly and get back to your normal schedule afterwards.

Pro: You Don’t See Spoilers

We all have that one friend who spoils shows and movies on social media, even when they know you haven’t seen it yet.

It goes without saying that if you’re the first one to finish a new show, you no longer have to worry about spoilers. Plus, if your friend turns out to be a binge-racer too, they’ll probably be a little too busy with their own viewing deadlines and won’t have time to spoil things for you.

Con: It’s Easy to Miss Crucial Details

One obvious downside of speeding through new shows is that you risk missing the little things that might be crucial to the plot.

In order to avoid that, we recommend taking your binge-racing seriously, planning your sessions, and being fully prepared for them. Stock up on snacks and make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before. And of course, one sure way to avoid missing small details is to have a binge-racing buddy that you can discuss the show with when you’re finished.

Con: It Can Make You Less Social

Unfortunately, if you don’t find anyone who shares your passion for binge-racing, it might make you a little less social in the long run.

You’ll become that person who has already “seen it all”. Which means that while your friends are discussing the first few episodes of that new amazing show they’ve started, all you’ll be able to do is nod and smile as you don’t want to spoil any important plot twists for them.

the number of binge-racers

However, if you do happen to find yourself a binge-racing buddy, it’s hard to imagine an experience more fulfilling. Being stuck on that same couch together for 24 hours is a great chance to bond. As long as you both have the same policies about talking (or not talking) while watching TV.

Why Become a Binge-Racer?

First, “binge-racer” is a great name. If you’re already a fan of binge-watching, why not take it one stage further?

Second, binge-racing is perfect if you want to watch more TV and can’t afford to spend too much time on all of the shows. Binge-racing will help you bring more organization into your TV viewing habits. You’ll have to be aware of new shows prior to their release. Plus, you’ll probably have to plan every single session of binge-racing in advance.

And of course, you get to be a part of a growing trend which everyone will probably be doing in the future. Especially when the robots take our jobs and leave us with more free time on our hands!

How to Find the Best Netflix Shows to Binge-Race

According to Netflix, in the past four years, the number of binge-racers all over the world has grown from 200,000 people to more than 8 million.

the most binge-raced shows

In 2017, the top 10 binge-raced shows included Gilmore Girls, The Defenders, and Stranger Things. However, it varied by country. For example, Club de Cuervos was most binge-raced in Mexico, while Ecuador were all about Fuller House. Interestingly, Canada had the most amount of members of the binge-racing club.

If you decide to jump on the bandwagon and become a binge-racer, you just need to find the right show to kick start your habit. Binge-racing is all about watching a whole series as soon as it drops, so your best bet is to keep an eye on shows coming soon to Netflix and other streaming services.

However, if there’s a show you’re keen to binge-race that has already aired, you can always watch a previous season over a weekend and still consider yourself a binge-racer.

What Shows Should You Binge-Race?

Have we managed to get you excited about this emerging television trend? Now that you know what binge-racing is and why you should consider trying it, the only thing left is to pick a show to watch.

If you need help deciding what to watch, here are the best TV shows to binge-watch when stuck indoors.

Image Credit: jameschipper/Depositphotos

Read the full article: Binge-Watching vs. Binge-Racing: What It Is and Why You Should Try It

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You Can Now Watch More Free TV on The Roku Channel

The Roku Channel now offers more than 100 channels for free. Which means cord-cutters and other fans of free stuff now have more content to choose from. And to help users navigate the free stuff, Roku has also launched a Live TV Channel Guide.

In 2017, Roku launched The Roku Channel. This was a free, ad-supported channel full of movies. It has since evolved into a hub full of channels showing a diverse range of content. Most of which is free to watch if you’re willing to put up with the occasional ad.

The Roku Channel Expands Yet Again

As of the start of June 2020, The Roku Channel boasts more than 100 channels in the US. This is thanks to an expansion adding another 40 channels. These include The Bob Ross Channel, Vanity Fair, Wired, XUMO Free Movies, Redbox Free Movies, and Reuters.

The channels offering free content include news, sports, kids, and lifestyle programming. And there’s also Spanish-language channels, including AFV Español, América TeVé, Latido Music, Love Nature Español, MOOVIEMEX by Pongalo, and Pongalo NovelaClub.

“Now more than ever it’s important for our users to have easy access to free content, such as news, and the ability to find it quickly. We’re excited to enhance the streaming experience through a Live Channel TV Guide and bring more free content from The Roku Channel to the forefront.”
— Ashley Hovey, Director, AVOD Growth, Roku.

With so many channels and so many thousands of hours of programming available on them, Roku has also launched a new Live TV Channel Guide. As the name suggests, this lets you see at a glance what’s playing on the live TV channels now and in the future.

The Live TV Channel Guide is accessible via a new Live TV tile on The Roku Channel. You can also press left on your Roku remote to open it when watching something. When you open it you’ll see a list of channels, plus what’s playing now and in the future.

The Best Streaming TV Services to Watch

The Roku Channel is one of the best streaming TV services. There are plenty of others, both free and paid, so don’t bother watching content that doesn’t interest you. With its broad range of channels and TV guide, The Roku Channel is a good place to start though.

Read the full article: You Can Now Watch More Free TV on The Roku Channel

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How to Play Video Smoothly on Your PC: Here’s What You Need

Watching choppy video playback is like sailing choppy waters: rough, frightening, and may lead to nausea. While modern hardware can handle most tasks you can throw at it, every so often, you’ll encounter an issue. Choppy video playback, whether through a DVD or online, happens.

Here’s how to fix it!

What Factors Affect Video Playback Quality?

Smooth video playback boils down to a few hardware and software choices. These choices affect offline and online video playback differently. Here’s what can negatively affect video playback:

  1. An outdated media player
  2. A low-performance PC which would stifle high-quality Blu-ray playback
  3. A souped-up PC, but a bad internet connection

Whatever the case, smooth video playback is within your sights.

Two other factors impact playback quality: offline or online video.

Offline Video Playback Quality

Choppy offline video playback concerns playing video from video files or DVDs. This is different from online video playback, due to network connection or other service issues (more on these in a moment).

There are certain steps you can take to ensure smooth video playback with an offline source.

  1. Update your media player
  2. Install and update video and audio codecs
  3. Check your hardware capabilities
  4. Update your GPU drivers

Let’s take a look at those steps in a little more detail.

1. Update Your Media Player

The first thing to do is to update your media player. There are many excellent free video players for Windows. If you use a third-party media player, head to the company’s website and download the latest software version.

2. Install and Update Video and Audio Codecs

Second, ensure that all video and audio codecs are installed properly. Codecs, to put it simply, process audio and video data. Sometimes certain video formats are not playable on your PC. This is because you do not have the appropriate video codec installed.

Codecs sometimes become damaged or corrupted, which may lead to jarring playback. To fix them, download, and install codec packs.

Microsoft has an official codec pack for these exact purposes. Download the file, then double-click to install, following the on-screen instructions.

Video codecs are a little confusing. If you want to learn more, here’s all you need to know about video codecs, containers, and compression.

3. Check Your Hardware Is Capable

Ensure that your PC is within the hardware range necessary to playback these videos. Video formats come with different qualities that determine their ease of playback.

For example, a 1080p video playing at 30 FPS (frames per second) will require slightly less performance than the same video at 60 FPS. The difference grows when comparing 1080p video with 4K or UHD video.

The same goes for video rendering. While video playback consumes less performance than video rendering, both involve PC performance. Generally, the more powerful hardware you have, the better the video playback will be. If you have very old hardware, video playback can struggle for a few reasons.

For instance, an old 5400RPM hard drive (or even a 4800RPM) might struggle to process a massive 4K video file quickly enough for stable video playback. You might run into similar issues using a drastically underpowered CPU, or if the system has a seriously small amount of RAM.

There are solutions for these issues. For example, the VLC media player is well known to assist with smooth video playback on older hardware. Or, you might have an older system with a discreet graphics processing unit (GPU). Some media players can use the GPU hardware acceleration to shift some of the video processing load from the CPU, helping video playback.

There is no exact rule of thumb for minimum hardware required for smooth video playback. If you have a PC built in the last few years, you should not struggle with offline video playback of 4K and other high-resolution video formats.

Hardware and Video Encoding

There are other issues with hardware, such as GPU and video encoding compatibility issues. Even some modern GPUs that can play the latest games on high settings won’t work with certain video encoding types.

If you have a modern GPU and powerful system yet still encounter video playback issues, double-check if your GPU supports the video encoding type you’re trying to use.

vlc media player show codec information

4. Update Your GPU Drivers

Fourth, and finally, ensure you install up-to-date GPU drivers.

The GPU drivers will allow for the maximum output of your hardware. As the CPU and GPU are often the main indicators of PC performance, updating their drivers will ensure video playback. At the very least, it can eliminate some video playback stuttering issues.

Find out how to replace outdated Windows drivers with our handy guide.

Online Video Playback Quality

Smooth online video playback often comes with the same requirements as offline video playback. Yet, there are a few additional parameters to look out for.

  1. Is your internet fast enough?
  2. Are other programs using your internet?
  3. Disable hardware acceleration in the browser
  4. Update your web browser

1. Is Your Internet Fast Enough?

The first question you must ask for online video playback relates to your internet speed. Streaming Full HD, UHD, and 4K video online is a data-intensive task. The data requirements vary slightly, but in general, you need:

  • 2-4Mbps for standard-definition video playback
  • 5-10Mbps for high definition video playback
  • 25Mbps minimum for 4K video playback

There are variations between online video streaming services, too. Netflix requires at least 3Mbps for standard-definition video playback, whereas Amazon Prime Video requires just 0.9Mbps.

With online video playback, a faster internet connection will always yield better results.

2. Are Other Programs Using Your internet?

Second, ensure you are not clogging your network with data-hungry programs.

You can do this by right-clicking on your Taskbar and selecting Task Manager. You will see the Processes tab of your Task Manager.

Click on Network tab (and percentage number indicating network usage) to see which programs other than your browser are hogging up data.

windows task manager show network use

That also goes for RAM usage. Remember, smooth online playback requires optimal hardware.

Click on the Memory tab to order your selection from most usage to least. Right-click any program not necessary for video playback (that is also not essential to your PC use) and select End task. This will free up some performance power.

The Windows Task Manager is a versatile tool. Here are some Windows Task Manager tricks you can use to manage your system better.

3. Disable Hardware Acceleration in Browser

Third, disable hardware acceleration.

Hardware acceleration allows browsers to hand off certain tasks to certain hardware parts. While your CPU can render, say, 3D models, it’s better to use a specialized hardware component, such as the GPU, to render that model.

That’s because it can do so more quickly and usually has more processing power available to complete the activity. Sometimes this process can lead to playback issues.

Check the Video Player Type

Google Chrome is permanently disabling Flash Player at the end of 2020. The majority of browsers are switching to HTML5, a more secure and stable video playback option. If the video player is attempting to use a Flash Player, your browser may no longer support that option.

As Adobe will stop officially supporting Flash at the end of 2020, the Flash Player will become (even more!) insecure.

4. Update Your Web Browser

Update your web browser. Current browser versions can handle high-quality video playback, as more video repository sites like YouTube allow for higher quality footage uploads. Old browser versions, or bugged browser versions, may limit video playback.

How to Smooth Out Choppy Video

To summarize, here’s how you stop your video playback problems:

  1. Are you using the most recent version of your media player?
  2. Do you have the codecs required to watch that video format?
  3. Is your hardware powerful enough?
  4. Do you have the latest drivers installed?
  5. Is something clogging up your network or consume your RAM or CPU capacity?
  6. Have you disabled your browser’s hardware acceleration?
  7. Is your web browser up-to-date?

Fortunately, ensuring smooth video playback is a simple and non-invasive procedure.

VLC Media Player is one of the world’s most popular video players. Here are the best VLC features you’re not using—but absolutely should be!

Image Credit: Dmitriy Kozhanov/Shutterstock

Read the full article: How to Play Video Smoothly on Your PC: Here’s What You Need

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The 15 Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix

There is evil in this world. The kind of evil that you can’t even imagine. To get a glimpse into these stark realities, watch the best true crime documentaries on Netflix. True crime is an addictive genre, and these are the best examples of the genre to binge-watch.

This list of true crime documentaries is available on Netflix USA and most other regions. And if something is not available in your area, you could always try one of the VPNs that work with Netflix in order to watch them.

1. Making a Murderer (2015)

  • How long is it? 20 episodes, one hour each.
  • In one line: Don’t always trust the cops.

This is Netflix’s biggest hit in the true crime documentaries genre. Making a Murderer tells the story of Steven Avery, and it gripped viewers across two seasons. Having been proved innocent for one crime, the same cops charge him with murder. Is he guilty or is he being framed? This eye-opening documentary is one of the best shows to binge-watch on Netflix.

2. Strong Island (2017)

  • How long is it? 1 hour 47 minutes.
  • In one line: A rare insider’s look at a family’s struggle to deal with injustice.

If you get the rare 100% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes, you’re definitely among the best true crime documentaries on Netflix. Strong Island is a filmmaker’s internal search for answers. It’s the story of a murdered brother, a killer that goes free, and a family that struggles with grief and injustice. This deeply personal film is like nothing you’ve seen before.

3. Wild Wild Country (2018)

  • How long is it? 6 episodes, 64-71 minutes each.
  • In one line: A religious cult takes over a country, plans mass poisoning and bomb blasts.

Controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Rajneesh Osho and his follower Ma Anand Sheela bought a large piece of land in Oregon. The idea was to set up a commune for their followers. But the local townspeople weren’t happy with how Osho, Sheela, and their followers conducted themselves. It quickly devolved and escalated into a violent battle.

This true crime documentary gets plenty of interview footage with Sheela from 2018, who makes no denials about what she did, making this a riveting watch.

4. The Keepers (2017)

  • How long is it? 7 episodes, 1 hour each.
  • In one line: Can you solve a murder mystery 50 years after it happened?.

What starts off as a murder investigation of a case from the 1960s turns into something far more sinister in The Keepers. This mini-series uncovers the corruption of officials and exploitation of children in a school in the US And it’s remarkable how as the investigators find more clues, the stories of witnesses start changing.

This one is a must-watch for fans of Twin Peaks.

5. Casting JonBenet (2017)

  • How long is it? 1 hour 20 minutes.
  • In one line: Revisit an infamous murder mystery from the 1990s in a whole new way.

Another one for Twin Peaks fans, Casting JonBenet is a different kind of true crime documentary film. It’s about the unsolved death of six-year-old child beauty pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996. Now, filmmakers try to cast people from the local community in a re-enactment of the murder mystery. And in the process, they uncover startling tales from all participants.

6. Amanda Knox (2016)

  • How long is it? 1 hour 32 minutes.
  • In one line: An international miscarriage of justice in the new media world.

Amanda Knox is a name you probably already know. In 2007, as an exchange student in Italy, Knox was jailed for murdering another student. It was an international media sensation, as she spent four years in prison. Eventually, she appealed her ruling and the Supreme Court of Italy freed her in 2015.

This documentary traces the whole saga and shows how the media and social networks affected this trial. It’s one of the best Netflix documentaries of 2016.

7. Evil Genius (2018)

  • How long is it? 4 episodes, around 50 minutes each.
  • In one line: One of the most bizarre crimes in US history has an even stranger backstory.

Pizza delivery man Brian Wells shot to fame as the “pizza bomber.” In 2003, Wells was in a live televised standoff with the police, where he had a bomb around his neck, which eventually went off. If that sounds bizarre, wait till you see the backstory about the people who forced him into that situation.

The tapes and interviews of purported mastermind Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong will send chills down your spine. In our opinion, after Making a Murderer, this is the best true crime documentary currently on Netflix.

8. The Confession Killer (2019)

  • How long is it? 6 episodes, around 45 minutes each.
  • In one line: Henry Lee Lucas confessed to over 100 murders, but did he really do it?

Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing over 100 people, and was convicted of killing 11 of them. It was a sensational case in the 1980s, earning him the notorious title of America’s most prolific murderer. But once this Netflix documentary shines a harsh light on the facts, things start to unravel.

Was Lucas not mentally sound? Did the police lead him to confess crimes he didn’t commit so that they could shut cases? The fallout of the investigation is as interesting as the case itself.

9. The Confession Tapes (2017)

  • How long is it? 7 episodes, 50 minutes each.
  • In one line: A signed confession doesn’t mean it’s the truth.

Once the suspect gives a full confession, that’s the end of the case, right? It has to be the truth, our brain says. Watch The Confession Tapes to see why this couldn’t be farther from it.

The seven-episode series is a shocking look at police tactics to make a suspect confess to something he or she didn’t do. These are cases where the confession was overturned, so the victims get to talk about how they were duped by the people meant to protect us.

10. Don’t F*** With Cats: Hunting an internet Killer (2019)

  • How long is it? 3 episodes, around one hour each.
  • In one line: Internet sleuths try to figure out the identity of a cat murderer before things escalate.

The internet loves cats. But one day, a grisly video went viral about a boy suffocating two cats to death. The killer was careful to leave no clues, but internet sleuths banded together to figure out who he was. It was only a matter of time before he escalated his crimes. And as they started getting closer, an even ghastlier video surfaced.

Don’t F*** With Cats isn’t earning points for its narration or editing, but it’s a must-watch true crime documentary for the internet age.

11. The Staircase (2018)

  • How long is it? 13 episodes, 45 minutes each.
  • In one line: A high-profile murder trial under the media glare, and often touted as one of the best true crime documentaries.

Several critics hail The Staircase as one of the best true crime documentaries of all time.

In 2001, Author Michael Peterson’s wife Kathleen fell down the stairs and died. But investigators were quick to point out that the injuries were not consistent, and suspected the husband of murder. And slowly it emerged that a friend of Peterson’s died 18 years ago at the bottom of a staircase with injuries to her head.

The media and the documentary closely follow Peterson’s trial over 18 years to make for a riveting binge watch. Originally a 10-part series, Netflix produced three new episodes on updates to the case, and you can now stream all 13 episodes.

12. Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (2019)

  • How long is it? 4 episodes, one hour each.
  • In one line: Extensive interviews with one of the most famous serial killers of all time.

After Ted Bundy’s imprisonment, journalists Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth interviewed him extensively, with over 100 hours of conversation. Conversations With a Killer exposes these tapes, mixed with interviews of Bundy’s family and friends, law enforcement officers, and survivors of his attacks. It’s a unique look into the mind of one of the most famous serial killers of all time.

13. The Fear of 13 (2015)

  • How long is it? 1 hour 36 minutes.
  • In one line: The greatest “standup crime” act you’ll ever see.

Nick Yarris is a death row inmate who petitions the state for the only thing he can ask for: an execution. And to plead his case, he stars in this tell-all documentary.

Like the best stand-up comedians, Yarris has a gift of verbal storytelling that will give you goosebumps. He makes you live ever single moment with him. No recreations, no silly effects. It’s just a man talking into the camera. And it’s the greatest true crime story you’ll ever hear.

14. The Innocence Files (2020) and Exhibit A (2019)

  • How long is it? 8 episodes, around one hour each.
  • In one line: Attempts to set free those inmates who were wrongfully convicted

Both Exhibit A and The Innocence Files have a similar theme: wrongful convictions. Exhibit A focuses on how prosecutors can misinterpret and manipulate forensic evidence. The Innocence Files follows eight cases by The Innocent Project, which seeks to exonerate inmates who don’t deserve to be behind bars.

Neither series necessarily has a happy ending, so keep that in mind while you watch. It’s more about facing the realities of a harsh legal system. While separate, these are some of the best true crime documentaries to watch.

15. Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

  • How long is it? 90 minutes.
  • In one line: One of the strangest crimes where a girl is kidnapped by the same man twice, while the family knows about it…

It’s almost impossible to believe what’s happening on the screen while watching Abducted in Plain Sight. A teenage girl in suburban America goes missing. And it turns out that a neighbor and family friend abducted her, drugged her, and molested here.

However it then gets even stranger, with extramarital affairs involving the kidnapper, alien conspiracy theories, and a second kidnapping and abuse of the same girl by the same man. Abducted in Plain Sight is a shocking revelation of how criminals use grooming and manipulation.

Go Beyond Documentaries for More Crime Viewing

In case you missed it, there’s a must-watch Netflix show called American Vandal that parodies this new genre of true crime documentaries. Plus there are plenty of true crime shows that aren’t documentaries but faithful recreations. You should check out Wormwood, American Crime Story, and The Legend of Cocaine Island.

While true crime documentaries are currently in vogue on Netflix, don’t miss out on crime shows either. Many of them use true crime for inspiration. In fact, if you like them gritty, shows from the UK tend to be better than American series. Try the best British crime dramas on Netflix to get a taste of high quality television.

Image Credit: Syda_Productions/Depositphotos

Read the full article: The 15 Best True Crime Documentaries on Netflix

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The A-Z of Netflix: The Best TV Shows to Binge-Watch

Netflix is the best video streaming service around, especially if you prefer watching TV shows over movies. It has such a wide variety of content available, we saw fit to make an A-to-Z list of the best shows to binge-watch on Netflix.

All of these shows are available on Netflix USA, while most of them should be available worldwide. And if you can’t access them in your country, you can always watch Netflix through a VPN.

A is for Altered Carbon

  • Seasons: 2
  • Episode Runtime: 45-60 minutes
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller

Altered Carbon mixes a murder mystery with science fiction to make for compelling binge-watching. In the year 2384, anyone’s memories and consciousness can be transferred to a new body. To investigate his own death, a wealthy man in a new body recruits a rebel soldier. It’s a story full of twists and turns.

B Is for Black Mirror

  • Seasons: 5
  • Episode Runtime: 48-60 minutes
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror is a bleak look at how the gadgets you take for granted are shaping your present and future. Each episode is self-contained, with the common theme of looking at how science and technology affects society.

You don’t need to watch episodes in order, so you can start with the best Black Mirror episodes to mess with your head. Once you’re done with the series, watch the interactive movie, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

C Is for The Crown

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, History, Period

Queen Elizabeth II has overseen some of the most tumultuous times in modern history. The Crown takes a deep look at how she came into power, the early years of her reign, and her relationships with important political figures of the 20th century.

The actors deliver stunning performances, with Claire Foy leading the first two seasons and Olivia Colman taking over from the third. John Lithgow is especially great as Sir Winston Churchill.

D Is for Daredevil

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 52 minutes
  • Genre: Action, Superhero, Crime

It doesn’t matter whether you’re into comic book heroes or not. Daredevil is one of the best Marvel shows on Netflix. The world has gone gaga over the show’s breathtaking action scenes, and the acting performances by the villains.

Make sure you start watching this on a long weekend though, as you won’t be able to stop binge-watching it. Unfortunately, Netflix pulled the plug after the third season for corporate reasons, but it remains one of the best action shows you’ll watch.

E Is for Easy

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 30 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama

Easy is one of the Netflix originals everyone should be watching. Set in Chicago, it tells the stories of different people in each episode, usually played by recognizable actors like Orlando Bloom, Emily Ratajkowski, and others.

Easy has finished its three-season run, so you can get through all the 25 episodes in one weekend. Easy is a slice of life comedy that will appeal to fans of shows such as Master of None.

F is for Fauda

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 45 minutes
  • Genre: Action, Thriller

Israeli series Fauda is among the best TV shows on Netflix, earning critical acclaim across the world. The New York Times even voted it as the best international show of 2017. Fauda is set in the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Israeli counter-terrorist forces tracking down a mysterious Hamas terrorist.

With high production values, Fauda exposes the nuances of the conflict while being packed with action, drama, and politics. It’s hands-down one of the best foreign Netflix shows worth watching.

G Is for GLOW

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 30-35 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sport

In the 1980s, during the peak of the pro-wrestling culture, an ambitious entrepreneur launched the Glamorous Ladies Of Wrestling (G.L.O.W.). This is the story of the women of GLOW, told with panache, dollops of humor, and plenty of throwbacks to 80s glam culture. Alison Brie is incredible as the lead, ably supported by the rest of the cast. The show gets Emmy nominations every year, and wins the stunt coordination award.

H is for Hemlock Grove

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 45-60 minutes
  • Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Mystery

The small town of Hemlock Grove is full of secrets: supernatural beasts, psychological and biological experiments, superpowered humans, and mysterious murders. Poor werewolf Peter must now uncover these secrets to clear his name, aided by his rich friend Roman. Hemlock Grove wrapped up its three seasons, so you can binge-watch it from start to finish.

I Is for Iron Fist

  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode Runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Action, Superhero

Iron Fist is, in some ways, “Batman Lite”. The heir to a billion-dollar company returns after being missing for years, with mystical powers and insane kung-fu skills. He is “Iron Fist,” tasked with the solemn duty of stopping the evil forces of “The Hand”. This is another collaboration between Marvel and Netflix, so superhero geeks will have a good time with it.

J Is for Jessica Jones

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 52 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, Action, Superhero

While Jessica Jones is also a part of the Marvel-Netflix franchise, it’s not only for those who like comic book characters. The show is far more nuanced, with plenty of commentary on feminist issues. Of course, there is also plenty of butt-kicking thrown in for good measure.

With its three seasons wrapped up, you can binge-watch the adventures of Krysten Ritter in the titular role with plenty of guest appearances from other Marvel characters.

K Is for The Kominsky Method

  • Seasons: 2
  • Episode Runtime: 22-30 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy

Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin star in this buddy comedy that anyone who wants a lighter, sitcom-ish show will enjoy. Douglas plays the titular Kominsky, a grouchy acting coach, with a grumpy best friend in Arkin, who is also his agent and a recent widower.

The show has an excellent star cast of supporting actors in Nancy Travis, Jane Seymour, Paul Reiser, Lisa Edelstein, and Sarah Baker. It’s perfect binge-watching for some light fun.

L Is for Last Chance U

  • Seasons: 4
  • Episode Runtime: Around 60 minutes
  • Genre: Sports, Reality, Drama

Last Chance U is like one of the typical American sports movies coming to life. A team of talented athletes, who come from challenging backgrounds, struggle with their academic performances. A tutor has to get them to graduate on time. The coach has temper issues.

Spread across four seasons with different cases, by the end of it you’ll start believing in the old adage that reality is stranger than fiction.

M Is for Making a Murderer

  • Seasons: 2
  • Episode Runtime: 60 minutes average
  • Genre: True Crime, Thriller, Documentary

This documentary series focused on Steven Avery is like no other. Wrongly imprisoned for a crime, Avery finally got justice when DNA testing proved his innocence. But just as he celebrated his freedom, a new case was filed against him, and it seems like the authorities don’t want him free. Is the evidence against him real or planted?

Critics and fans laud Making a Murderer as one of the best true crime documentaries on Netflix.

N Is for Narcos

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 50 minutes average
  • Genre: Crime, Biography, Drama

Colombia is notorious for its cocaine exports, and drug lord Pablo Escobar was the kingpin. Narcos is a recreation of his infamous lifestyle and control over the country, and how American and Colombian forces took him down. It’s a gripping series for anyone who loves crime dramas. And once you’re done with it, watch the Narcos: Mexico spin-off about the drug trafficking world of Mexico.

O Is for Orange Is the New Black

  • Seasons: 7
  • Episode Runtime: 52-60 minutes
  • Genre: Crime, Comedy, Drama

Piper Chapman, just another New Yorker, is convicted of an old crime and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Orange Is the New Black is a look inside women’s prisons, and the trials and tribulations of an outsider trying to adjust. That’s just the first season though; Chapman adjusts by season two, and the series then takes new twists and turns. Look out for “Crazy Eyes” Warren, the show-stealer.

P Is for The Punisher

  • Seasons: 2
  • Episode Runtime: Around 50 minutes
  • Genre: Action, Thriller

After his debut in the Daredevil series, Frank Castle AKA The Punisher quickly became a fan favorite and got his own show. Jon Bernthal stars as The Punisher who is here to take out bad guys without any mercy. It received particular praise for its portrayal of PTSD and war veterans, a recurring theme in the grimy action-thriller series.

Q for Queen Sono

  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode Runtime: 30-45 minutes
  • Genre: Action, Spy, Thriller

Are you looking for a good ol’ action-packed spy thriller? Queen Sono doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but instead gives it a new world. Set in Africa, the titular spy played by Pearl Thusi is full of attitude, action, and allure.

She and her geeky partner, both spies in a South African firm, will do what they can to rid the continent of violence. And behind it all, Queen Sono is out to find the person who killed her mother.

R Is for Riverdale

  • Seasons: 4
  • Episode Runtime: 42 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, Young Adult, Mystery

Archie Andrews and the gang are back in this new take on the lives of the teenagers from the famous comic books. Apart from getting a 21st century makeover, Riverdale is also dark and gritty, unraveling a murder mystery in this small town. There are some consistent mature themes throughout this series, so it’s not exactly kid-friendly like the comics.

S Is for Stranger Things

  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode Runtime: 50 minutes
  • Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Set in 1983, Stranger Things takes you back to an innocent time, reminiscent of how Steven Spielberg’s E.T. did. One among a group of 12-year-old friends goes missing, and his buddies will do anything to rescue him.

Enter a world of supernatural monsters and experimental mad scientists, as Stranger Things takes you on the ride of your life. And once you’ve finished it, here are some other shows for fans of Stranger Things.

T Is for Trailer Park Boys

  • Seasons: 23-30 mins
  • Episode Runtime: 50 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy

Originally a TV series, Trailer Park Boys was saved by the internet and now resides on Netflix. Set in a fictional trailer park, the show follows the lives of three pals who frequently find themselves on the wrong side of the law. It’s an endless cycle of one scheme after another, but somehow it never gets old. Once you finish the series, check out the three mini-movies and the animated series.

U Is for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

  • Seasons: 4
  • Episode Runtime: 25 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy

Kimmy Schmidt was held captive for 15 years in a bunker, conned into thinking the world had ended. Finally freed at 29-years-old, she is now trying to adjust to life in the 21st century, with her actor roommate and socialite employer. Created by 30 Rock’s Tina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has finished its four season run so you can binge it from start to end.

V Is for Versailles

  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode Runtime: 52 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, History

King Louis XIV, the king of France in 1667, decided to make the grandest mansion in the world. But while the Palace of Versailles is a historical landmark today, there were a lot of complications that went into building it. As noble families had to adjust to rural life, politics, intrigue, and drama weren’t too far away. Revisit this fascinating history through the now-finished series.

W Is for The Witcher

  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode Runtime: 47-67 minutes
  • Genre: Fantasy, Action

Henry Cavill stars as Geralt of Rivia in a Netflix adaptation of the popular book and video game series. The Witcher is a “monster of the week” show with high production values and inspired action sequences. This is a show for mature viewers only, with unabashed gore, strong language, and nudity. Catch up on the first season now, with the second season slated to release in 2021.

Y Is for You

  • Seasons: 2
  • Episode Runtime: 45 minutes
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller

Bookstore manager Joe Goldberg becomes obsessed with a customer, writer Guinevere Beck. In an exposition of how little privacy we have, You shows how Goldberg feeds his obsession by using technology to stalk Beck and get close to her. If you want to see how your gadgets can lead to a slow unraveling of your identity, while following a thriller storyline, You is for you.

Z Is for Z Nation

  • Seasons: 5
  • Episode Runtime: 42 minutes
  • Genre: Action, Horror, Drama

A zombie virus has spread across America, and only one man has survived being bitten by a zombie. The man is in New York, and he needs to make his way to the last functional lab in California to help them create a cure with his sample. The remaining uninfected humans across the U.S. must help mankind’s last hope travel across the country, through hordes of zombies.

The five-season series has wrapped up, so get ready for a zombie-hunting binge-watch.

Binge-Watching Beyond Netflix

As you may have noticed, X is missing from our A-Z list of shows to binge-watch on Netflix. Simply because we couldn’t find a show worth recommending. However, if you know of one, feel free to recommend it in the comments below.

And remember, Netflix isn’t the only streaming service in town. An Amazon Prime subscription comes with Prime Video, and Disney+ is the hottest new streaming app on the market. All of which provide ample opportunity to binge-watch TV shows.

For more recommendations, check out our list of the best TV shows to binge-watch across streaming services.

Read the full article: The A-Z of Netflix: The Best TV Shows to Binge-Watch

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How to Watch HBO for Free

If you’ve been feeling left out from your friends’ conversations about Game of Thrones or Westworld, you might be looking for ways to watch HBO. For years, HBO has been producing binge-worthy content that’s only accessible to paid subscribers and people who pay for TV packages.

While HBO doesn’t come free (at least by legitimate means), there are still several ways you can sign up (and even stack) free trials. Not to mention that you can still watch some HBO shows and movies online for free, and some services even offer a complimentary subscription to HBO.

Do you want to start watching HBO for free? Then read on to find out the many ways you can get a free trial to HBO, and other ways to get HBO free.

1. Sign Up for a Free Trial on HBO.com

HBO Free Trial HBO Website

HBO offers a seven-day free trial of HBO Now right on its website. That means one whole week of streaming free content to your phone, tablet, computer, or TV before you have to start paying $15/month.

If you don’t cancel your subscription at least 24 hours before your trial ends, HBO will charge you the price of the subscription. You should also keep in mind that the free trial is for new customers only, so you won’t get to start a trial twice.

Get: An HBO Now Free Trial on HBO.com

2. Get an HBO Free Trial on Hulu

Hulu HBO Free Trial

Already have Hulu? You’re in luck—Hulu offers a week-long HBO free trial for its subscribers.

Once you sign up for the trial, you can start watching HBO alongside all of your favorite shows on Hulu. When the trial ends, you’ll have to pay for the price of the Hulu subscription, as well as the $15/month HBO add-on.

Get: An HBO Free Trial on Hulu

3. Get an HBO Free Trial on Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime HBO Free Trial

Like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video also offers an HBO add-on for current subscribers. You can start a seven-day free trial of HBO through Amazon Prime, giving you access to HBO’s library of movies, TV shows, and documentaries.

If you decide to keep your HBO subscription, you’ll have to pay $15/month in addition to your Amazon Prime subscription. It’s also worth mentioning that Prime Video already comes with a handful of HBO shows that don’t require the Amazon Prime HBO add-on. That said, make sure you’ve exhausted the existing HBO options before starting the free trial.

Get: An HBO Free Trial on Amazon Prime

4. Get an HBO Free Trial on The Roku Channel

HBO Free Trial Roku Channel

Although The Roku Channel has tons of movies and TV shows available for free, you’ll have to pay to stream any HBO content. The only way to access HBO for free on Roku is with a seven-day free trial.

Once the trial ends, you’re subject to a monthly fee of $15. The free trial through Roku is the way to go if you don’t want to pay extra for Hulu or Amazon Prime, and if you want access to a library of hundreds of free content.

Get: An HBO Free Trial on The Roku Channel

5. Take Advantage of Free HBO Max With AT&T

Watch HBO Max AT&T

HBO is bundling its newest streaming service, HBO Max, with any AT&T plan. With HBO Max’s library of popular HBO shows, Max Originals, and other WarnerMedia content, HBO Max is set to become one of the best TV streaming services out there.

If you already have any of these AT&T services (or plan to get one), you can stream HBO Max free of charge:

  • DirecTV Premier
  • DirecTV Lo Maximo
  • AT&T TV Now Max
  • U400 and U450 TV
  • AT&T Unlimited Elite wireless plan
  • AT&T Internet 1000

To access your complimentary HBO Max subscription, simply sign into HBO Max with your AT&T login information. Without an AT&T plan, you’ll have to pay $15/month for an HBO Max subscription.

Get: HBO Max

6. Watch Free Episodes on the HBO Website

Watch Free Episodes HBO Website

There are a ton of amazing shows to watch on HBO. If you’re not ready to make the commitment (or just want to see what HBO has to offer), you can watch free episodes and documentaries on the HBO website.

Although the site gives you access to several full-length documentaries, most of the free episodes are just pilots—you’ll have to get a free trial or a paid HBO subscription if you want to see more. That aside, it’s still a great way to get a feel for some of HBO’s best series, such as The Wire, Game of Thrones, and The Sopranos.

Watch: Free Episodes on HBO

7. Watch Clips from HBO Shows on YouTube

Watch HBO Clips Free on YouTube

Not comfortable getting an HBO free trial? Luckily, you can always watch clips and trailers of HBO shows and movies on YouTube. The short videos from shows like Westworld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Big Little Lies can help you decide whether you want to pay for a full-fledged HBO subscription or not.

For the largest collection of clips and trailers, head to HBO’s own YouTube channel. Otherwise, searching for videos of an HBO show or movie you’re interested in will yield tons of results from third-party channels.

Watch: HBO Clips on YouTube

8. Check With Your Cable or Satellite Company

HBO Free Online With TV Package

If you haven’t ditched cable yet, you might be able to get HBO for free or at a discounted price. Several popular cable companies like Verizon FiOS, DirectTV, Comcast, and Cox include HBO in certain packages.

For example, with the DirecTV Choice package, you’ll get HBO included with the price for one year, and that’s in addition to an HBO Max subscription. Even if your cable or satellite plan doesn’t include HBO, it doesn’t hurt to call up your service provider to see if they’re offering any special HBO deals or free trials.

The Best Ways to Watch HBO Free Online

Once you run out of free HBO trials, you’ll have to pay the price of the subscription. The monthly price of HBO isn’t cheap, so taking advantage of any introductory free trials, free HBO videos online, and special offers for cable customers is a good idea before you commit.

Now that so many TV shows and movies are available online, it’s the perfect time to consider getting rid of costly cable and satellite TV. And these awesome live TV streaming services might just convince you to cut the cord.

Read the full article: How to Watch HBO for Free

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You Can Now Watch Together on Plex

Plex has launched Watch Together, a new feature which lets you watch movies and TV shows together with friends far away. So, whether you want to watch on-demand content or something from your own library, you can now do so with the people you care about.

An Alternative to Yet Another Quiz Night

The COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns around the world to stop it spreading, have changed everything. Shops, bars, restaurants, and movie theaters have all closed their doors, leaving many of us at a loss for what to do for fun and relaxation.

Some people have turned to hosting quiz nights on Zoom or Houseparty. However, if that sounds too much like hard work for you, perhaps you would prefer to watch your favorite movie with friends. Which is where Plex’s new Watch Together feature comes in.

How to Watch Together With Friends on Plex

As announced in a post on the Plex Blog, Plex has launched Watch Together. As the name suggests, this lets you watch content on Plex with your family and friends. However, crucially in these troubled times, they don’t have to be in the same room as you.

Watch Together lets you watch content together with family and friends online. Whether it’s a free, on-demand movie or TV show, or content from your personal media library. And Plex will keep the content in sync for everyone, allowing you to sit back and relax.

To use Watch Together on Plex, just find the movie or TV show you want to watch, click the three-dot More menu, and select Watch Together. Then, just invite your friends and click Start. The content will play on everyone’s devices at the same time.

Everyone watching together can control playback, which means you need to be careful who you invite. Watch Together is supported on Android, iOS, tvOS, Fire TV, NVIDIA SHIELD, and Roku. Just update to the latest release to ensure compatibility.

Other Ways to Watch Together With Friends

Plex is keen to point out that this is currently only an experimental feature. So beware that there could be bugs and frustrations involved. Still, the company is actively seeking feedback, so why not give Watch Together a go and let Plex know what needs changing?

Plex isn’t the only platform to offer its users a way to watch content together with friends online. So, for those who are bored while stuck at home, here’s how to watch Netflix with friends far away and how to watch YouTube videos with people online.

Read the full article: You Can Now Watch Together on Plex

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10 Relaxing Movies to Fall Asleep to on Netflix

Sometimes you want to get away from loud action movies and watch something quiet and contemplative. That’s why we’ve rounded up these relaxing movies to watch on Netflix.

These are movies to fall asleep to. Not because they’re bad, but because they don’t have any loud explosions and action sequences likely to wake you up with a start if you doze off.

1. Julie and Julia

Julie and Julia is a comedy drama starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Stanley Tucci. Do you really need to know more? OK, it features lots of cooking because it’s based around the life of chef Julia Child and food blogger Julie Powell.

This is really two (true) stories in one, but it never feels bogged down by it because it’s light, breezy and ultimately a whole load of fun.

2. Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

Disney not only produces great feature-length movies, but lots of innovative and fun shorts too. This collection packages up 12 of them, including The Little Matchgirl, The Ballad of Nessie, Tangled Ever After, and Frozen Fever.

Each short is introduced by different members of Disney, briefly-yet-interestingly talking about their work. The great thing is that if you feel yourself falling asleep, you can pause and not feel like you’re stopping something halfway through.

If you enjoyed watching this, you should also check out the best movies and TV shows available on Disney+.

3. The Edge of Seventeen

The Edge of Seventeen is worth watching for the always spectacular Hailee Steinfeld alone. She plays young girl Nadine, who is trying to make it through school with her best friend. However, when that friend begins dating her older brother, Nadine’s life is thrown into turmoil.

This is better than the usual coming-of-age movie. The Edge of Seventeen is well observed, witty, and modern. If you like John Hughes movies, or comedies like Clueless and Mean Girls, you should enjoy this.

4. The Little Prince

The Little Prince is a fantasy adventure based on the novella of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Much like the source material, the story is full of childlike wonder, framed as an elderly aviator telling his young neighbor about his life.

The Little Prince blends different styles of animation together gracefully. It’s a great watch for younger children, but its timeless message will surely appeal to all ages. Besides, you’re never too old to hear a fairy tale before bed.

5. The Artist

The Artist is a superb choice to fall asleep to because it’s a silent film. That means there can be no shouting or screaming dialogue to suddenly wake you up. It won lots of awards on its release in 2011, including three Oscars, and it’s easy to see why.

The Artist is about a young actress and a silent film star and their relationship as talkies are coming into fashion. It feels simultaneously old school and modern, with two dazzling stars, sly comedy, and a pitch-perfect score.

6. Mary and the Witch’s Flower

If Mary and the Witch’s Flower looks like a Studio Ghibli film (all of the Studio Ghibli films, ranked), that’s because the studio behind it was founded by some former employees. It’s just as charming as Ghibli’s productions, with evocative drawings, delightful animation, and enchanting music.

The story centers around young Mary, who finds a rare flower that grants magical powers. She enters a floating magical academy, but soon discovers that not all is as it seems. While it’s a simple tale, it’s still charming and makes for a relaxing watch.

7. Always Be My Maybe

Ali Wong and Randall Park are on top form in Always Be My Maybe, a movie about childhood friends who reconnect years after their teenage relationship went down the drain.

While this is a romantic comedy, it skirts the usually clichés and the end result is a feelgood, infectiously charming watch. You should try to stay awake long enough to witness a great cameo from Keanu Reeves.

8. Song of the Sea

Song of the Sea is an animated film set in Ireland, which is an appealing concept in itself. What’s more enticing is that this mixes stellar visuals with a melancholy fantasy story, as a young boy discovers that his sister is a mythical being who can transform herself into a seal.

You should definitely pay attention to the story if you can, but even if you don’t then you’ll be transported by the colorful and otherworldly art. Perhaps you’ll dream that you’re in the same world, if you’re lucky!

9. The Princess and the Frog

While Walt Disney came to fame with hand drawn animation, the studio relies more on 3D nowadays. That’s exactly why The Princess and the Frog is such a breath of fresh air and stands alongside classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

With a twist on the traditional tale, here the lead character Tiana kisses a frog and turns into one herself. She then goes on an adventure to try to become human again and achieve her dream of owning her own restaurant. The Princess and the Frog is full of great songs that will be perfect accompaniments to your slumber.

10. Saving Mr. Banks

You can’t go wrong with Tom Hanks. Saving Mr. Banks sees him take the role of the ultimate dream maker: Walt Disney. The film is set during the early 1960s, during which time Disney was trying to get the rights to author P.L. Travers’ (played by the great Emma Thompson) books—one of which is Mary Poppins.

Of course, we all know that he succeeds in that quest, but it’s the journey that’s interesting because P.L. Travers is unimpressed by Disney’s bright lights. Saving Mr. Banks is a sentimental, sweet watch that won’t offend. Perfect for bedtime viewing.

Relaxing TV Shows to Fall Asleep To

Not only are these all excellent movies in their own right, but they also make for quiet, contemplative watches. Which makes a refreshing change from the usual Hollywood action fare. And makes them perfect movies to fall asleep to.

If you want some more things to watch as you nod off into dreamtime, here are some relaxing TV shows to watch on Netflix when you’re stressed.

Read the full article: 10 Relaxing Movies to Fall Asleep to on Netflix