I just watched the first episode of “House of the Dragon” at a friend’s house and would like to compare it to the first episode of “Game of Thrones”. How can I just watch one episode without buying an entire season? I don’t have HBO…
The landmark HBO series Game of Thrones had a remarkable 73 episodes, spread across eight seasons, and I can still remember the visceral impact of that first episode when I watched it. Quite unlike anything before it in the TV or streaming world Game of Thrones paired up big drama, big violence and breathtaking visual effects to create a blockbuster that people still rewatch to this day. After many years, HBO has finally released a related show, House of the Dragon, that ostensibly takes place 200 years prior to the original series, though in the same locations and, presumably, with some of the same families.
If you have HBO or HBOMax, then you have access to the entire Game of Thrones series, from that groundbreaking first episode to the somewhat disappointing fizzle of a last episode, all those years later. Without HBO, however, you have to hunt the series down. One possibility is to check with your public library; they might have a DVD set you can check out. But if you really just want to see a single episode, then the easiest way is to go online and rent it for a couple of dollars. On a PC the easiest way to do that is through the Microsoft Store; a standard definition (SD) episode will cost you $2.99, which isn’t bad for an hour of solid entertainment!
FINDING GAME OF THRONES IN THE MICROSOFT STORE
Launch the Microsoft Store app to start. Most people don’t realize that it includes movies and TV shows, and while they’re rarely much of a bargain ($19.99 is typical for a digital movie, more expensive than buying the DVD at Target or Walmart) it is incredibly convenient and if your viewing party includes a half-dozen kids, it’s still a bargain compared to a night at the movie theater. Click on “Movies & TV” on the left side.
You can see Jordan Peele’s intriguing horror film Nope has the main display, but you can scroll down to see other featured movies or TV series. Or, even easier, type in the name of the series into the search box:
There are clearly games that refer to the show by title on the list, and I have no explanation for “of thrones”, the top match, but either the second or third are in fact correct matches. Choose either and you’ll get to this screen:
See that “Buy from $99.99”? Don’t panic. You don’t have to choose that option (though it’s worth pointing out that if you did, you’d be paying about $1.40/episode. Then again, you can subscribe to HBO for a month for only $14.99 and binge the entire series). Scroll further down and you’ll see episodes by season:
There’s the episode you want! Season 1 Episode 1 “Winter is Coming”. The individual episode starts at $2.99. Click on that button and you’ll see the options:
If you have a big screen – like a TV or 30″ or bigger monitor – then you’ll want to pay the slightly higher price to get high-def (HD), it’ll look a lot better and crisper. Watching it on a laptop or mobile device? Then SD might work fine and will save you a buck (which might be important if you get hooked and want to watch the rest of the first season).
I’ll stick with Standard Definition by choosing that from the menu.
PAYING FOR GAME OF THRONES THROUGH THE MICROSOFT STORE
A window will pop up that should have all your payment information. The Microsoft Store requires a registered address and a stored credit card for transactions (though you can use a PayPal account too if you set it up). Here’s what I see:
That looks good and I’m not accidentally paying for a dozen episodes or the entire series – my total is $2.99 plus tax – so I’ll proceed. A click or tap on “Buy” and…
I’m dropped right back to the Store’s listing for Game of Thrones. Where’s my darn episode? Well, it turned out that I had something incorrectly configurated with the Movies & TV app, which is what’s supposed to open up instantly. No worries, in Microsoft Store, I scroll down to the episode guide and it’s a bit different:
Okay, a click or tap on “Watch” and Movies & TV will be correctly launched now that I fixed things. Hopefully you won’t encounter this slight hiccup and will jump straight to…
I jump into Purchased and there it is, ready to play. Not only that, but I can download this episode if I want to perhaps watch it while on a plane flight or driving cross-country to grandma’s house or similar by clicking on the downward pointing arrow icon. Or, let’s just watch the darn thing! Click on the triangle and, finally…
Okay, now I need to duck out and watch that episode so I hope this gets you up and running, able to watch whatever episodes or movies you’d like on your Windows PC. Enjoy House of the Dragon too. So far, it’s terrific.
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Windows since the beginning. While you’re here, please check out my extensive Windows help area for hundreds of other useful tutorials and how-to articles. Thanks!