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HBO free preview coming to select US TV providers for five days

HBO free preview fall 2022 DirecTV
(Image credit: DirecTV)

Many TV viewers across the US are getting access to an HBO free preview this week, September 6-10, giving them a taste of what the marque cable network has to offer. The free preview, which also includes Cinemax, is being offered by select TV providers and only for the five days. But during that time viewers can see House of the Dragon, Westworld and many of the biggest movies of the last few years.

The best way to see if this HBO and Cinemax free preview is available to you is to check your specific cable provider. But we can confirm that DirecTV, DirecTV Stream, U-Verse, Dish Network and many smaller, regional TV providers. All you need to do is visit the HBO and Cinemax channels on these services and start watching.

UPDATE: It also looks like YouTube TV is offering this free preview, though you may have to search for HBO/Cinemax channels depending on how you have your lineup organized. 

For DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and U-Verse, the offering includes both the live linear channels and on-demand access to HBO and Cinemax content. It is unclear if that is the case across the board on providers running these free previews.

With the on-demand aspect, you can catch up with any of the HBO shows that you may have missed, including the first three episodes of House of the Dragon. The first three episodes of House of the Dragon are also going to be airing on live HBO channels multiple times over the course of the free preview. DirecTV has a full HBO schedule (opens in new tab) throughout the free preview for those interested.

This free preview does appear limited to the HBO linear channel, meaning that the HBO Max subscription service and its offerings are not available. So that means you can’t watch Hacks, The Staircase, Our Flag Means Death, The Last Movie Stars or more HBO Max original series as part of the free preview. However, if you were to sign up for HBO through your TV provider full time following the free preview, you would be given automatic access to HBO Max.

HBO Max is of course also available as its own stand-alone streaming service.

Once the free preview is over, if you want to continue watching HBO and/or Cinemax, check with your TV provider on how to add the cable channel full time. 

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.