How to watch HBO’s ‘The Idol’ without cable

HBO’s flashy new drama ‘The Idol’ premieres on June 4. Here are the best ways to watch:

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The wait is over. No, Euphoria isn’t back — but a series by its creator Sam Levinson, alongside The Weeknd and Reza Fahim, seems up to the task of filling its shoes. The Idol, a long-awaited HBO Original series steeped in controversy(opens in a new tab) from the get-go, premieres Sunday, June 4, and certainly has the potential to take over the internet.

The first two episodes of The Idol premiered at Cannes(opens in a new tab) film festival, making it the first TV show to officially debut at the festival. Reviews are mixed, but the majority note the use of Levinson’s trademark flashy cinematography that made us fall in love with Euphoria.

Want to see it for yourself? Here’s what you need to know to watch The Idol on HBO.

What is The Idol on HBO about?

As Mashable contributor Lex Briscuso so eloquently put it, “The Idol is a raucous, engrossing ride on an industry nightmare train bound to careen off a cliff.” Intrigued? To put it simply, it centers around pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) as she attempts a comeback after a year-long break. Her guide back to stardom? Tedros (Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye), a powerful and mysterious manager/producer/club owner.

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As Briscuso noted in her review that the series tends to “pander to the sexual fantasies of men in power,” but ultimately, is “a surprisingly nuanced, well-rounded, and deliciously bold take on the cost of fame and the drive for greatness.”

The final trailer gives you a little more insight into the Euphoria-esque nature of the show.

Where can you watch The Idol?

The Idol premieres on both HBO and Max (formerly known as HBO Max) on June 4 at 9 p.m. ET. Interestingly, the 9 p.m. Sunday slot is known for HBO’s premium content — such as Euphoria, The Last of Us, and Succession. HBO reserving the prestigious spot for The Idol proves the network has a lot of faith in the series and expects it to attract its loyal late-night audience.

If you’re a premium cable subscriber with HBO access, you’re set to tune in on June 4 at 9 p.m. sharp. Cord-cutters, on the other hand, will have to subscribe to Max, the network’s streaming counterpart, to watch episodes as they’re released. See below for the best ways to subscribe for free (or at least for a deal).

Can you watch The Idol on Max for free?

Best way to watch for free: Seven-day free trial via Amazon Prime Video(opens in a new tab)

Amazon Prime members, it’s your time to shine. Max doesn’t offer a free trial of its service by signing up through Max. The only way to secure a free trial at the time of writing was via the Prime Video Max add-on. You’ll get seven days for free(opens in a new tab) by signing up for Max through your Prime Video account, then your card will automatically be charged $15.99 per month for ad-free Max until you cancel. If you don’t mind waiting to watch The Idol, you can certainly sign up for your free trial around the time of the season finale and binge-watch all the episodes for free.

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Best for existing AT&T customers: Max (with ads)(opens in a new tab)

Existing AT&T customers, if you haven’t checked to see if you’re eligible to get Max for free, go check your account(opens in a new tab). The following wireless plans give users access to Max for free: AT&T Unlimited Elite, AT&T Unlimited PlusSM, AT&T Unlimited Plus EnhancedSM, AT&T Unlimited ChoiceSM, AT&T Unlimited Choice IISM, AT&T Unlimited Choice EnhancedSM, AT&T Unlimited &MoreSM Premium. Max is no longer offered to new customers, so if you change your plan or move your service, you’ll lose your Max benefit.

Best for Cricket customers: Max (with ads)(opens in a new tab)

It’s a bit less complicated for Cricket customers. If you’re on the $60/month Cricket plan, congrats! You get Max (with ads) for free(opens in a new tab). Existing Cricket customers on a different plan can upgrade or change to the $60/month plan to get the included perk. Just choose to connect with a provider when you log in to Max, select Cricket, and enter your credentials. Then you’re free to stream The Idol and all of the other HBO originals.

More Max streaming deals

Don’t qualify for any of the free options above? There is still a way to save on a Max streaming subscription, but it requires some commitment. If you only want to watch The Idol (although we suggest sticking around for other hits like Barry, Succession, and Euphoria), you can also sign up for a monthly subscription and cancel once the season concludes. Technically, this won’t save you any money on a subscription, but it will keep you from spending a lump sum of cash all at once.

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Best for most people: Max (with ads) annual subscription (opens in a new tab)

All in on Max and want to commit to a year of streaming? An annual subscription with ads(opens in a new tab) will cost you $99.99 — which is 17% less than if you paid for a year in $9.99 monthly installments. A year-long commitment means you can watch The Idol as it unfolds, then check out other hit shows on Max that we highly recommend, like Barry and Succession. While the streamer promises you won’t have to watch more than four minutes of ads per hour of streaming, if you have the cash and want an ad-free experience, you can save 20% by signing up for Max ad-free for $149.99/year (as opposed to $15.99/month).

Want to watch The Idol and poke around to see what Max is all about? Sign up for a basic monthly subscription for $9.99/month(opens in a new tab). Watching with ads saves you $6 per month and shouldn’t interrupt your viewing experience too much. Plus, with a monthly subscription, you can cancel at any time to avoid further charges.

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