3 April 2013 5:58 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

A million illegal downloads later, HBO still won't just take your money – but there are signs things could finally change soon

Don't let the slowly warming days and budding trees fool you, winter has come – at least for the millions of eager fans who hunkered down for the Game of Thrones season three premiere last Sunday.

While HBO reported that 4.4 million viewers tuned in to the premier officially, another cool million were downloading the show illegally via torrents. That's a "mind-boggling" amount of downloads for one day, says piracy tracking blog TorrentFreak.

The Us and UK were the top sources of torrent download requests, followed closely by Australia.

Game of Thrones was also the most pirated show of 2012, so these premiere figures come as no surprise. But such numbers reignite the decoupling-from-cable issue which continually haunts the premium cable channel – will it ever make its digital platform, HBO Go, available without a cable TV subscription? »

- Nadja Popovich

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