After two long years, it's finally happening: on April 14, the eighth and final season of HBO's award-winning fantasy series Game Of Thrones will premiere around the world. In Australia, the only "official" way to watch Game Of Thrones concurrently with the US is through Foxtel.
However, there are a few options available that don't require you to sign up to a costly pay TV subscription - some of which are technically legal. Here are all the ways to watch Game Of Thrones Season 8 in Australia.
Watch Game Of Thrones On Pay TV
As we pointed out last season, only an idiot would sign up for Foxtel's $49 Drama + Entertainment pack just to watch Game Of Thrones. While Foxtel has waived the cost of the iQ4 box and installation fee, you're still looking at a minimum of $588 over the 12-month contract - which is silly money even for a die-hard GoT fan.
If you have no interest in Foxtel's other Pay TV content, this is obviously a dumb way to go.
Watch Game Of Thrones On Foxtel Now
Foxtel Now (formerly Foxtel Play) is Foxtel's on-demand streaming service. Somewhat disappointingly, Foxtel has moved Game Of Thrones over to its Essentials pack this year, which will set you back $25 per month. Previously, it was possible to watch it on the entry-level Pop pack for $15. In other words, you now have to pay an additional $10 per month.
On the plus side, there's no lock-in contract and new customers get a free 10-day trial, so this still works out much cheaper than Foxtel's full Pay TV service.
Watch Game Of Thrones On HBO Now
HBO Now is a Netflix-style streaming service that is not currently available in Australia. 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.
If there's one basic, essential security feature that you should be using whenever you're online - it's a VPN. In 2017, we rounded up the best five but as our desire for increased privacy and unrestricted access on the internet grows, so do the amount of providers. It can be hard to sift through them all to find what the service you're looking for.
So we've taken a look at the best VPNs for Australians over the year and for the upcoming year.
The service comes with a 30-day free trial and then costs US$14.99 per month. Just be mindful that the legalities of geo-blocking circumvention are a bit murky.
Get Game Of Thrones On iTunes / Google Play
Foxtel's exclusive rights to Game Of Thrones only last for the duration of the season's run. After that, it becomes available to rent or purchase digitally from Google Play and iTunes. 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.
Watch Game Of Thrones On DVD / Blu-ray
They say physical media is dead - we beg to differ. The Blu-ray release of Game Of Thrones always has a superb transfer, offering the very best audio and video quality on the market. Plus, you get exclusive special features and dinky packaging to put on your shelf. The only downside is the wait: you're looking at around ten months after the final episode airs, which is a long time to avoid spoilers!
Game Of Thrones Torrents
Rest assured, every episode of Game Of Thrones will be appearing on illegal download sites within minutes of their maiden broadcast. There's no stopping the spread of torrents: for every site that gets knocked offline or banned by the government, two seem to spring up in its place. And like Jon Snow, they often refuse to stay dead - and bypassing the government blocks is easy.
Each year, Australia is crowned the pirate capital of the world in response to our insatiable appetite for Game Of Thrones torrents. A recent study by Finder found a whopping 32 per cent of Aussie 'GoT' fans plan to pirate season 8.
We're not sure this is such a good idea. Following the passing of anti-piracy legislation in Australia, where do you now stand on pirating the show?
Accessing Game Of Thrones this way 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 complaining that the availability options are too limited.
With Foxtel and HBO stepping up the war on piracy - and our own government blocking websites at the behest of rights holders - you can expect your naughty downloads to be scrutinised more than ever. Our advice is to keep things legal.