HBO fans have it great these days. Subscribers can watch their favorite shows and movies whether seated in front of their TV or on a device while riding the bus to work. This freedom comes from the company’s twin streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now, which allow subscribers to experience the wonders of Westworld and Westeros using their PlayStation 4, iPhone, or other HBO-compatible device.
With two different ways to stream the network’s coveted library of original content, there are probably some people who are wondering what sets the two services apart from each other. Like all siblings, the two have strong similarities, but there are some important differences that render each unique.
Let’s compare HBO Go against HBO Now. The good news is, they have a lot more in common than you might think.
Every film, comedy special, and television series HBO offers is available regardless of whether you opt for HBO Go or HBO Now, and most content is available via both services at the same time as its original broadcast. The interfaces for both apps are also very similar — so much so, in fact, that the methods for navigating one will transfer to the other. They’re easy to figure out, with helpful sections that showcase both “featured” content and new releases.
So, what do the two services cost? Well, this is where things get a little tricky.
HBO Now costs a flat rate of $15 per month. It’s a stand-alone package, which means it doesn’t require a cable subscription to use. HBO Go, on the other hand, is free with an HBO subscription — but that’s the only way to access it. So, in order to use HBO Go, one must first have HBO; and in order to have HBO, one must be paying for cable or satellite.
There are also some providers that offer HBO access to internet-only customers, who can simply access the content online. An HBO subscription can also be added to services such as Amazon Prime Video, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu (HBO is not currently offered on Sling TV due to a contract dispute). You can also get HBO through Apple’s revamped TV app, which actually has a couple of features that aren’t included with the regular HBO Go interface (and don’t cost extra).
The vast majority of users access HBO Go via a cable or satellite subscription. The monthly rate for HBO varies between providers and plans, and sometimes special offers will further reduce the price. Some providers have even dropped HBO subscriptions to as little as $5 a month, but you could be paying anywhere from nothing (via an introductory offer) to $20 on top of what you already pay for cable.