HBO GO vs. HBO NOW

When it comes to choosing the right streaming platform, there are many names in the mix. And things get even more confusing when there are multiple platforms from the same provider. How do you know which one to go for?

HBO GO and HBO NOW have a lot in common. In fact, both feature the exact same content. But, there’s one noticeable difference, and that’s how you actually get access to each platform. HBO NOW is a standalone service available directly from HBO. You purchase HBO GO through your TV provider. 

Compare HBO GO vs. HBO NOW

Both HBO GO and HBO NOW offer similar functionalities and content, but there are a couple of key differences.

HBO GO HBO NOW
PriceVaries by provider $14.99/mo.
Free trial lengthN/A 7 days
Unlimited HBO accessYes Yes
Multi-device streamingYes Yes
TV provider required?Yes No

While you still have access to the same great shows across multiple devices, the way you purchase both services differs. For HBO GO, you need a cable subscription that comes with HBO. HBO NOW on the other hand, is a standalone app that you buy on a monthly basis — it doesn’t require a cable TV contract. You can get it direct from HBO or as an add-on through Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and other streaming providers. 

The cost of both services differs, too. In fact, it’s not really clear exactly how much you pay for HBO GO — it depends on your cable provider.

Which HBO streaming service is right for you?

Both options provide access to the same content. If you’re a thrill seeker, you’ll be spoilt for choice with HBO’s library. It boasts some of the best action, drama and horror movies of all time — there’s plenty to choose from whether your niche is James Bond, John Wick or Natalie Portman in the Black Swan. 

You also have access to plenty of binge-worthy, HBO original series, including Watchmen, Silicon Valley, His Dark Materials and Big Little Lies. Plus, several original series come with behind-the-scenes footage, such as interviews with cast members.

Both services are easy to use, but HBO GO requires a lengthier set up because you need to contact your cable provider, add HBO to your subscription and then log in with your cable provider’s details. With HBO NOW, you simply download the app, sign up and away you go.

You’re better off choosing HBO GO if you already have a cable subscription that offers HBO as part of, or on top of, your package. Opt for HBO NOW if you don’t have cable, but still want access to the same content library.

HBO GO vs. HBO NOW cost

HBO NOW costs $14.99/mo. You pay for this as you would any other streaming service, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

HBO GO’s pricing isn’t quite as clear since it depends on your cable provider — prices range from $5/mo. to $25/mo., on top of your existing cable subscription. Some cable providers throw in HBO GO for free as part of your package, especially if you’re already paying a high price for your cable. Others may offer it for free or at a discount for a certain period before charging you a higher monthly rate. 

Consider how much you pay monthly for your cable and how much it would be to add HBO GO. If that tips you over $14.99/mo., it might be better to stick with HBO NOW.

You can cancel your HBO subscription any time, but again the process is different for each service. To cancel HBO NOW, visit your profile on the app and deactivate the auto-renew option. Make sure you cancel 1-2 days before your next billing cycle to avoid being charged. For HBO GO, contact your TV Provider directly. 

HBO GO vs. HBO NOW compatible devices

Both services basically offer the same compatibility, aside from the fact that HBO NOW doesn’t work with TiVo. 

HBO GO:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire Tablets
  • Android phones, tablets and TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • iOS – includes iPad, iPhone and macOS
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • TiVo
  • Windows desktop
  • Xbox One

HBO NOW:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire Tablets
  • Android phones, tablets and TV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • iOS – includes iPad, iPhone and macOS
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • Windows desktop
  • Xbox One

Extras

If you’re looking to stream more than just HBO, you can purchase bundles with other streaming platforms. Not only do you get access to more of your favorite series and movies, but it can help you save money, too. This is only available with HBO NOW, which means it doesn’t require a cable subscription.

  • HBO NOW & Amazon Prime Video bundle: $22.98 for the first 3 months, then $27.98/mo.
  • HBO NOW & Hulu bundle: Free for 7 days, then $14.99/mo.
  • HBO NOW & AT&T TV NOW bundle: $65/mo.

Upcoming HBO series and movies to watch

HBO is always adding great content. Here are some of the best series and movies on the horizon:

  • Bad Education – Expected Spring 2020
  • Barry Season 3 – Expected Spring 2020
  • Euphoria Season 2 – Expected Summer 2020
  • Gorilla and the Bird – TBD
  • They Both Die at the End – TBD

The takeaway

HBO is up there with some of the biggest streaming players right now, and it’s easy to see why. With a wealth of movies and series, plus exclusive unseen footage, HBO guarantees never-ending entertainment. It’s got action, drama and suspense galore. But, if you’re looking for an easy-watch rom-com or a family favorite, there’s some room for improvement. If you’re a cable subscriber, you can go with either service. For non-cable viewers, HBO NOW is pretty much the only option. 

Elly Hancock