When it comes to television shows, there’s no doubt that HBO offers some of the best series out there. Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Wire, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Deadwood are just some of the best TV shows ever made. And that’s not including top-rated movies that are exclusive to the network.
Now that cord-cutting is quickly becoming the wave of the future, more and more people are opting for streaming services rather than getting a massive cable package with channels you don’t need.
If you are a massive fan of shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld, you are probably thinking of subscribing to HBO GO or HBO NOW. And like many people, you are likely wondering what’s the difference between the two.
HBO GO vs HBO NOW, which premium subscription is right for you? Let’s find out!
HBO GO vs HBO NOW: What are the differences?
Let’s get this out of the way, HBO GO and HBO NOW feature the same content.
Regardless of which service you wish to use, every TV show, movie, documentary, sporting events, and comedy specials will be available for your viewing demand. Both apps display the “Featured” content section that will show most of the noteworthy content in HBO. The “Just Added” section is for all the new stuff that has been added to the service.
Like all good streaming services, both HBO GO and NOW will remember where you left off, no matter if you watched it on a device or TV. Of course, this is a great feature if you want to pick up where you left off in a seamless manner.
The main difference between the two is that HBO GO is a streaming service that comes with your pre-existing cable subscription. So, if you have availed of HBO with your cable package, you can use HBO GO for watching content on-demand from just about any other device that you own. Quite simply, without a cable subscription, you will not have any means to access HBO GO. You just need a password and username to access GO from any device.
On the other hand, HBO NOW is a standalone streaming service that is available to everyone. That’s right, you don’t need to have a cable subscription to enjoy HBO NOW. Think of it as Netflix but only for HBO shows and movies. All you need to do is download the HBO NOW app and sign up for an account. You can subscribe straight from HBO or through another service like Amazon Prime. You need an HBO NOW email and password to sign in.
HBO GO vs HBO NOW: The Cost
As mentioned, HBO GO comes with your cable subscription so the monthly cost will depend on your cable provider. In some cases, some providers will gladly throw in a free year or two of HBO for new subscribers. So basically, it’s free HBO GO as well. In my experience, my provider gave me four months of free HBO which means that I was able to use HBO GO for free within those months.
In some areas, an HBO cable package can cost as little as $10 or as high as $20. Again, the cost will likely depend on the provider. Keep in mind, that’s on top of your monthly cable bill so it can really add up.
Cord-cutters, on the other hand, will likely prefer HBO NOW since it’s just a flat rate of $14.99 a month. After all, it’s catered towards everyone, not just cable subscribers. If you are a new user, you can avail of the 3-day free trial for HBO NOW.
HBO GO vs HBO NOW: Supported Devices
HBO GO has been around since 2010 while HBO NOW was only launched in 2015. As of this writing, both services now support a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, game consoles, and streaming sticks.
DigitalTrends has created a handy device guide for both HBO GO and NOW. Check it out!
HBO Go vs HBO Now Comparison Chart
As you can see, both HBO services support a wide range of devices. If you have a fairly modern device or TV, you should have no problem using both HBO NOW and GO.
Now that we have covered the supported devices for both services, it’s time to talk about their respective restrictions.
Fortunately, they are not that many.
Between the two services, HBO GO is the more complicated streaming service. In order to use GO on a supported device, you will first need to authenticate your account with your cable provider which most people don’t like. While this can be quite tedious, there are no limitations regarding the number of devices that can be tied down to the account.
You can also add limitless devices to your HBO NOW account, plus you will not be required to authenticate anything with anyone. You simply need to sign up for an account, then use the email and password to log in to NOW.
So. is it possible to stream multiple devices simultaneously? According to the HBO NOW Help Center:
Yes, in most cases, members of your household can sign in to HBO NOW on different devices, and watch different shows at the same time.
Your HBO NOW email and password should not be shared with anyone outside your household. For security reasons, the number of simultaneous streams is limited.
If you get the “Streaming HBO NOW on too many devices simultaneously” message, HBO recommends that you try signing out and back in the app or you can sign out and restart the device.
As for the actual number of simultaneous streams, I really have no idea since HBO is quite vague about this topic. I’ve tried streaming two devices at once with no problem but your experience could vary. I’ve read that up to 3 devices can use the service at once.
Which Streaming Service is Better?
HBO GO vs HBO NOW, which is the better service?
As you can see, there’s not much difference between the two services. This will all depend whether you have a cable subscription or not.
HBO GO comes with your cable subscription, so the cost can be flexible. You might be able to negotiate with your cable or satellite provider to throw in HBO for free or for a lowered price. If you can get HBO for free or less than $15, then it’s a no-brainer to opt for GO.
On the flip side, HBO NOW is more catered towards those who have decided to cut the cord. For a $15 fee per month, you can access to some of the best original programming on the market with some top-rated movies thrown in the mix.
What if you only need HBO for a short amount of time like for binge-watching Game of Thrones or Westworld? Well, this is where HBO NOW shines. This is because HBO NOW offers a free trial for one month which should be long enough to binge-watch any TV series.
Either way, both HBO GO and NOW are excellent ways to enjoy HBO content everywhere. I just wish that they could improve their mobile apps because it’s really quite terrible but that’s a topic for another day.
What do you think of HBO GO and HBO NOW? Have you tried any of the two services before? Feel free to share your experience in the comments!