Video streaming platforms have ended up gaining a lot of hype lately and that too, quite a positive one. Gone are the days when people preferred sticking with their conventional TV channel lineups and the entire TV watching practice which felt pretty monotonous and boring more often than not. There were a few channels accessible and the chances of missing a favorite TV show due to busy daily routines were always lurking around the corner. And all that came along with not so high-definition video quality as well as a significant cable subscription fee. Thank God, if it wasn’t for novel innovations like streaming services and mobile apps……… Well, let’s just not think of the unthinkable!
Circa 2010, the folks at HBO® brought entertainment enthusiasts across the U.S. a video streaming service known as HBO Go – a service that was initially available through Verizon FiOS® and progressively expanded to other providers e.g. AT&T, Xfinity, Cox, Charter Spectrum™. HBO Go was not available as a standalone service, instead came when you subscribed to the HBO® channel included in your cable TV plan.
Later in 2015, HBO® gave us HBO Now, so not only the pre-existing HBO® customers could enjoy On Demand content, but others too. HBO Go and HBO Now are more like HBO® channel’s extensions, just that one is essentially a TV Everywhere service that lets you watch HBO® on the go and comes in partnership with your cable or satellite TV connection, while the other can be independently subscribed to.
Well, let’s face it, HBO® has indeed revolutionized the way video content is accessed. Now before we hop towards discussing the distinctive differences that set GO and Now apart from each other, let’s talk a little about the OG in the house. You know, the Original Gangsta aka HBO® itself.
HBO® – A Brief History
HBO® or Home Box Office initially debuted in the year 1972 as a typical cable TV channel. Back in the time, when cable TV service was still in its initial phase, HBO® tried to do something different from its competitors of the time. It chose to take a shot at innovative content creation – and because of that, we got to see some true all-time HBO® classics down the line - Eddie Murphy: Delirious, Kids in the Hall, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, etc. until the Game of Thrones came to reign the throne of TV entertainment.
Originally named the Green Channel, HBO® started its journey as a premium channel that would air movies and sporting events; something that bagged a lot of oohs and ahs at the time. The novelty of the idea behind the manifestation of HBO®, however, allowed it such critical acclamation that eventually the channel made history with one of its shows ‘The Sopranos’. Throughout the show’s entire run it bagged a whopping 112 nominations and 21 wins. So, we can conclude this part by saying that HBO® surely set the trend and smoothed the path for the evolution of TV entertainment – and proved to be a true revolutionary in terms of shaping content creation and devising means of distribution, a quest that was further sophisticated courtesy of the boom of technology in the 21st century.
Let’s pivot back to our initial discussion, shall we? Although, HBO Go and HBO Now are often identified as two similar services from HBO®, if you look just close enough, you’ll find a number of distinct features that set these two services apart. Thus, if you’ve been confused about these two services being the same, allow us to walk you through the prominent differences that make Go and Now unique, each in its own right.
HBO Go vs HBO Now
Difference between HBO Go and HBO Now
HBO Go is not available as a standalone service. To experience HBO Go, you’ll have to subscribe to HBO® as part of your TV service plan, or to say the least it would not be a possibility for you to explore! Essentially speaking, HBO Go is a free video streaming service that allows you to catch up on your HBO® favorites while you are on the go. Whether you log onto the HBO® website or stream via the app that is available for download on video game consoles and digital media players, you can only demand HBO® content for viewing if you are already subscribed to the premium channel.
HBO Now is an à la carte video streaming app – accessible independent of a subscription to HBO® quite unlike its successor which necessitates signing up to a typical cable or satellite TV service. Just a smartphone that is connected via high-speed internet, and you are good to watch an array of your favorite shows, On-Demand, to your heart’s content.
The Cost of Subscription (HBO Go vs HBO Now)
HBO Go is technically free-of-cost. Users who are able to access HBO Go get to avail themselves of this TV Everywhere service by subscribing to HBO® as part of their cable or satellite TV service plan. So basically, HBO Go is something that comes included in the fee you are charged by your cable service provider. In other words, you can say HBO Go costs the same as your HBO® subscription – what you pay your cable or satellite TV service provider, is essentially what you pay to get this TV Everywhere service from HBO®.
HBO Now, on the other hand, comes at a flat rate of $14.99 a month (plus applicable taxes). Since this app lets you watch all of HBO’s best shows, movies, and what-not, the under $15 tag seems like a pretty go catch if you ask us! No wonder, the service boasted 5 million subscribers by February 2018, barely 3 years following the launch in April 2015.
Accessibility of Content
When it comes to content, HBO Go lets you access all HBO series and movies that you can watch aired on HBO® via your cable or satellite TV subscription. All you need to do is download the app on a device of your choosing, and demand your favorites wherever you are, whenever you want. You get to stream a selection of movies released in the theatres, original HBO® series and new episodes of the current ones, once aired on the linear HBO® channel.
HBO Now also lets you access all of HBO’s best that is out there, albeit without necessitating a subscription to HBO® through your cable or satellite TV service provider. You can subscribe to this On Demand streaming service via HBO® or a digital subscription provider like Hulu, and also through an internet service provider that partners with HBO®. Having downloaded the HBO Now app, you can then begin watching all of HBO’s content, on your own timeline, and on any compatible device. As with HBO Go, you cannot access near-real-time streams of the linear HBO® channel, but a plethora of titles, both original and from content partners, is available for viewing On Demand.
Now comes the most dreaded part – compatibility limitations. Seemingly HBO Go is quite hassle-free in terms of using on varied commonly employed devices. The limitation that forms a sort of roadblock is that you’ll have to verify the compatibility of your device through your TV service provider. Although, this added step can prove a little time consuming, given that HBO Go lets a full spectrum of devices through, we’re sure you wouldn’t have any problem getting each of your devices connected.
HBO Now is the same in terms of compatibility with varied devices, however, unlike HBO Go, it only requires authentication from your end. All that’s needed is your HBO Now credentials for you to access the app on any device. With that on hand, you can connect as many compatible devices as can be supported by your internet connection, and entertain yourself with a seemingly endless array of video content to turn your boring days around.
So, Which One is Better After All (HBO Go vs HBO Now)?
HBO Go vs HBO Now, which one of these is better? There is not supposed to be a war over here exactly, because let’s face it, at the end of the day, both are HBO® offsprings. However, just for the sake of it, we’d definitely like to give our own two cents on the matter – whether Go and Now is the same or is there something which makes one better than its counterpart? Well, for starters, HBO Go and HBO Now, both don’t have major idiosyncrasies, just a few subtle ones for the most part.
HBO Go is intended to combine with the linear HBO® channel subscribed to via cable or satellite TV providers. On the other hand, HBO Now is more like a Rogue Bludger and needs no backing from a TV service provider subscription. All you need to do to make it work is a simple and direct subscription to the On-Demand streaming service and the app. And there, you’re good to go!
So the bottom line is what do you find more conveniently fitting into your lifestyle and your budget. Both ways, you get to consume video content from our beloved Home Box Office On Demand, only the how of things draws a line between the two choices.
How to Get HBO Go and HBO Now?
Getting HBO Go requires no hefty sciences whatsoever. Whether you’re an Android user or an iPhone admirer, just go to your respective app store and download the app for free, that is if you already have an HBO® subscription via your TV service provider.
As for HBO Now which works independently, you can just subscribe to the service whichever way you find convenient, download the app on your smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop, for your respective operating system and bingo! HBO Now also offers a 7-day trial for you to judge whether or not you want to continue using the service.
Devices Compatible with HBO Go and HBO Now
Both HBO Go and HBO Now are compatible with a wide array of devices. Here are the ones that allow you to download Go and Now apps:
Amazon Fire TV & Tablets
iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
All Android-supporting phones and tablets
Play Station 4
Samsung Smart TVs
Is There Something New in the Works from HBO?
Since every other service aspires to be the best, there was no way HBO® could have remained behind in the race. That’s right. To make sure users are always in it for something new and extra, HBO® is all set to introduce HBO Max to the world.
Expected to enter the market in May 2020, HBO Max is another streaming service backed by the innovative content of HBO® linear channels and the classics from the likes of Warner Bros - HBO Max is licensed to show Warner Bros. big-budget video content online. What makes HBO Max a tough cookie for all competitors taking part in the fast-raging streaming war, is the sprawling number of titles anticipated to be onboard - big-budget exclusives starring renowned names.
HBO Max is anticipated to cost about $15 a month (essentially the same as HBO Now), slightly more expensive than a Netflix subscription that stands at $12.99 a month. Despite the fact HBO is considered a front-runner, competing against Netflix that already stands at 167 million subscribers from across the world, this new endeavor is nonetheless a gamble. HBO Max is trying to keep its calm and as rumor has it working on the creation of a sequel of the ever-so-loved sitcom of all times i.e. Friends. So, it is possible, that with a Friends reboot HBO Max would set off towards a great start.
Which Shows and Movies Will Be Available on HBO Max?
Apparently, this particular video streaming platform will include some of Warner Bros. eminent licensed content, such as Rick & Morty, The Big Bang Theory, South Park, Friends and more. Besides these options, HBO Max will release 31 new shows in its first year and 50 new shows in the second. So, those who are planning to subscribe to HBO Max, are in for a treat.
Summing it up!
Video streaming has probably become the primary way we all watch content online. Since the practice of ‘cord-cutting’ is gradually turning into a norm, expectations are, by 2022, there will be 55 million ex cable TV users who would have cut the cord by then. Video content streaming is replacing the traditional TV watching practice and seeing this as an opportunity, existing TV service giants are hopping onto the bandwagon trying to reap the benefits to the fullest. So, let’s see if the online content streaming trend will continue to grow the same, or will soon end up meeting with a novel and innovative competitor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does HBO Max intend to replace HBO Now?
At the moment, HBO Max is not aimed at replacing HBO Now. Instead, the new platform will stream content from WarnerMedia with the most number of exclusive and original shows.
How much does HBO Go cost?
HBO Go is free. To use this service, all you need is an HBO subscription via your cable/satellite TV provider and you can enjoy your favorite shows On Demand via the app or your browser.
How much does HBO Now cost?
HBO Now costs $14.99 a month.
When will HBO Max be released?
HBO Max is expected to release in May 2020.
Are HBO Now shows available for download?
HBO® doesn’t allow its shows to be downloaded, so, sadly you won’t find HBO shows available for download, anywhere.
Is HBO Go available with HBO?
Yes, HBO Go is available with every HBO® subscription that comes with a cable or satellite TV service. To use it, however, you’ll have to sign in with your TV provider username and password. That’s pretty much it.
How is HBO Go, Now and Max different from each other?
HBO Go is a free application that you can only use in conjunction with an HBO® subscription via your cable or satellite TV service provider. HBO Now, however, is the standalone version of that On Demand streaming service that lets you stream video content upon direct and independent subscription to the service. Finally, HBO Max is yet another standalone streaming service from HBO® that is anticipated to stream high-budget video content from Warner Bros. along with some exclusively available original series.