The sixth season of HBO's award-winning fantasy series Game Of Thrones is less than a month away. On April 25, GoT fans will finally discover the fates of Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister -- all of whose lives hung in the balance last season. Unfortunately, Foxtel still has the Australian broadcasting rights stitched up. With that said, there are still a few options available that don't require you to sign up to a costly pay TV subscription. Here's how to watch Game Of Thrones Season 6 in Australia.
The idiot's way of watching Game Of Thrones is to pay for Foxtel's Drama Combo subscription which costs $46 per month on a 12-month contract. This works out to a minimum of $552 over the course of the year, plus $125 in equipment and installation fees. If you have no interest in Foxtel's other entertainment offerings, this is obviously way too much money.
Fortunately, there are a handful of cheaper options available; some of which provide immediate access without breaking the law. Let's take a look at each in turn.
Get the whole season "free" with Telstra
Telstra is currently offering broadband customers a free three-month subscription to Foxtel's Platinum HD Package. Normally, this package costs an eye-watering $134 per month. There is no lock-in contract, which means you're free to cancel Foxtel as soon as Game Of Thrones finishes. Telstra is also waiving the usual set-up costs.
However, while there is no lock-in contract for Foxtel, there is a lock-in contract for Telstra broadband. Nevertheless, if you're already a Telstra customer or are looking to sign up, this deal is definitely worth considering. You can find our more about the promotion here.
Subscribe to Foxtel Play for three months
Sadly, Foxtel's online streaming service Foxtel Play isn't offering a $5 per-month promotion like last year. However, new customers can get two weeks for free. To get Game Of Thrones, you'll need the Premium Movies & Drama package which works out to $45 per month. Thankfully, there are no lock-in contracts.
If you cancel your subscription as soon as Season 6 ends, you're looking at a total spend of around $112 (when you subtract the two free weeks.) This is more expensive than last year, but remains a far more cost-effective option than joining Foxtel proper. The deal also includes access to Foxtel's BoxSets channel which provides on-demand access to every episode of Game Of Thrones. Find out more here.
[Update: We just heard from an inside source that Foxtel Play's $5 deal will be returning just in time for season 6 of Game Of Thrones. Hurrah!]
Purchase a season download
Foxtel's exclusive rights to Game Of Thrones only last for the duration of each season. After that, it becomes available from all the usual suspects including Google Play, iTunes and Quickflix. Last year, Season 5 popped up on iTunes and Google Play barely 24 hours after finishing its run on Foxtel. If pricing is the same as last year, you can expect to pay $27.99 for the full season in standard definition, or $32.99 in high definition.
The downside to this method is that you'll need to wait until the final episode airs. On the plus side, you can then binge-watch the whole thing in one go and you'll have (more-or-less) permanent copies.
Wait for the DVD or Blu-ray
If you're the patient type, buying the show on physical media is a perfectly sound solution: it's legal, ensures high quality and comes with oodles of special features that you won't find on Foxtel or iTunes/Google Play. However, you will need to wait around ten months -- which is a long time to avoid spoilers.
Sneak onto HBO Now
HBO Now is a new streaming service that is currently restricted to North American customers. However, it's technically possible to scam your way in using an Apple TV media player, a VPN service and a fake US iTunes account.
The service comes with a 30-day free trial and then costs $14.99 per month. Just be mindful that the legalities of geo-blocking circumvention are a bit murky.
This obviously isn't legal, but we suspect it's what most non-Foxtel customers will end up doing. Many will justify the decision by either purchasing the Blu-ray at a later date or mounting an unconvincing "non-availability" argument. (As this article shows, there are plenty of options out there for paying customers.)
We don't advocate piracy at Lifehacker, so proceed at your own risk!
See also: Our Favourite 25 Game Of Thrones Posts