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LAST UPDATED: February 25th, 2023
HBO GO falls under the realm of HBO services. HBO GO is different than HBO NOW, the stand-alone streaming service offered by HBO. HBO NOW is available to anyone who wishes to purchase the subscription. HBO GO is a service designed for those who currently pay a TV provider for cable or satellite services. While there are differences between the streaming services, the content and user experience is almost identical.

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The Good

  • Over 125 exclusive series
  • No commercials or ads
  • Available on many devices

Unlimited Access

HBO has set it up so both HBO GO and HBO NOW subscribers can enjoy the exact same content. This includes all movies and television programs found in their content library. HBO GO subscribers have unlimited access to any and all HBO shows. There are no limitations on episodes or seasons. Unlimited access is also extended to hit movies, sports, documentaries, and comedy specials. Not only is access unlimited, it is also instant. Subscribers do not have to wait until the next episode or season is out before they can enjoy their favorite HBO programs. HBO has over 125 exclusive shows available to their subscribers. Additionally, subscribers also have access to over 650 movies in their content library. With all of the content to choose from, subscribers can also rest assured that they will not have to sit through long commercial breaks since the service provides an ad-free experience.

Device Availability

HBO GO is available on the following devices:
  • Apple iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV
  • Android phones, tablets, and Android TV
  • Amazon FireTablets, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick
  • Computers via web browser
  • Chromecast
  • PlayStation 3 and Playstation 4
  • Roku
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
With so many compatible devices, it is nice that there is no restriction on the number of devices a customer can sign into. Subscribers will need to "activate" each device the first time they use HBO GO, but after that, the device is all set up. The interfaces for both HBO GO and HBO NOW are almost identical. Simultaneous streaming is also available with both HBO GO and HBO Now. That means that members of your household can sign into several devices and watch different content at the same time without getting locked out.

The Bad

  • Advertised as free
  • Must have a cable or satellite subscription
  • Authentication through provider

Advertised as Free

While HBO GO is advertised as "free," that is a little bit deceiving. HBO GO is not a typical streaming service, so it can be branded as free, but there are still associated costs. HBO GO users have to already have a cable or satellite service. These services often times cost a great deal each month. Additionally, subscribers have to also be paying a monthly subscription fee for HBO alone. That subscription fee typically ranges from $10-$20 each month. There are deals where HBO is free to new TV customers, but those trials usually expire after 30-90 days. So while downloading and signing into HBO GO is "free," subscribers are already paying for the service in other ways making HBO GO a conveniently added "perk."

Must have a Cable or Satellite Subscription

Unlike most streaming services, HBO GO limits who can access the service. Consumers who want the HBO subscription will have to utilize HBO NOW. HBO GO is specifically designed for those who have an HBO subscription with their cable or satellite television provider.

Authentication Through Provider

Authentication on each new device can be somewhat of a time-consuming process. HBO GO subscribers will have to authenticate their services through their cable or satellite provider. HBO NOW edges out HBO GO in the following areas:

  • No authentication required
  • No cable/satellite services necessary
  • No limitations to subscriber-base

Streaming Restrictions

While there is no cap on the number of devices subscribers can sign into, there are restrictions associated with simultaneous streaming. If multiple devices are simultaneously streaming the same movie/episode, they will likely not run into a problem. However, if the devices are watching different content, restrictions can apply.

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The Bottom Line

Deciding between HBO GO and HBO NOW has appeared to create the most confusion for streaming enthusiasts. However, HBO has made it relatively simple. HBO GO is strictly for those who have a satellite/cable provider with an HBO subscription, while HBO NOW can be enjoyed by anyone for a monthly subscription fee. For those who want to enjoy HBO content and are already paying a cable or satellite provider for television services, HBO GO is an excellent option. With HBO GO, subscribers can expect:

  • Unlimited access to HBO content
  • Instant viewing capabilities
  • Unlimited activated devices
  • Simultaneous streaming
  • Cable/Satellite provider necessary

We recommend reviewing the top rated companies before making a final decision.

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Lauren Maitland, FL

My experience with HBO GO has been completely awful. It's almost impossible to watch anything on it at all. I have been using it on a Samsung TV, on which every other streaming service works just fine. For some reason HBO GO will not load 85% of the time. I have to go back to the home screen and then back into the show anywhere from 3 to 25 times for the show to play and sometimes it just won't play at all. If I do get HBO GO to work, but then need to pause it, it will rarely start playing again. It also has this issue when the show transitions from one episode to the next. When the show does play, the sound cuts out for a few seconds every minute or so, and it is constantly freezing. Again, every other streaming service works just fine, so I know it is not the internet. My biggest complaint is the mostly non-existant customer service. There is no number to call for help. You can only contact them by email. This is absolutely ridiculous for a company as big as HBO. The only reason they get 2 stars rather than one, is because of the quality of content. HBO does make some very entertaining television. However, their streaming service and customer service both need major improvements. Just a side note, the TV I have been watching HBO GO on is my room mate's and is logged into her account. I do however have my own HBO service through my Amazon prime account which I have significantly less issues with.

3 years ago

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J Bell St Louis, MO

The content is good, but it is not easy to find. The main reason for 2 stars is the continuous prompts to activate/login. Setup/activation/login should be a one-time event, but it is required frequently. This is incredibly inconvenient when activation is setup through my spouse's account/phone and we aren't watching tv together. When this happens I usually give up and just watch Netflix, Amazon, or YouTube.

4 years ago


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Rocio Diaz Tallahassee, FL

Not worth the money as most of the highly desired tv shows and movies are not available unless you have all the add-ons of the most expensive version of HBO. Not worth it if you want to see big titles.

3 years ago