While there is no shortage of streaming apps, the HBO Go app has something that none of the others do — a LOT of HBO programming. All of it. (Okay, most of it.) And the newest episodes, streaming live.
Launched in 2010, HBO Go has grown in popularity along with the growth in devices that can use the streaming app. And while HBO inked a deal this year with Amazon Prime for exclusive streaming rights to much of the HBO catalog (“Sopranos”, “True Blood” and “Flight of the Conchords” and many more), the most extensive options and current episodes are only available via HBO GO. Movies, Series, Sports, Documentaries and Late Night. So you could be caught up on “Last Week Tonight” by tomorrow!
Where is it Available?
iPad, iPhone, Android phone and tablets, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Samsung Smart TV, and Kindle Fire. Comcast, however, still will not allow users access to the app via PS3. The list of devices they (and other providers) do allow can be found here. And if all else fails, you can always stream via your web browser.
How the HBO Go App Works
After downloading, HBO Go home screen will prompt you to choose your cable or media provider (Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, U-Verse, DirecTV, etc) and provide login details. Search content by category or title. All content is included with an HBO subscription. And yes, it’s still only available as part of a cable or satellite subscription. Unless, of course, you live in Scandinavia.
What to Watch?
Of course you are going to watch every episode of “Game of Thrones” and “True Detective”, but here is some other programming to get the most out of your subscription:
1. Comedy: Nobody has the no-holds-barred comic collection of HBO. Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Bill Maher, Dave Chappelle, Ricky Gervais are the tip of the iceberg. If you’re streaming at work though, make sure you keep your headphones on. NSFW is probably putting it mildly.
2. “Sex and the City” vs. “Girls”: Watch every episode of both series and compare Millennials to Gen Xers via their HBO personas.
3. Miniseries: HBO kept the miniseries alive when everyone else had let it go. And they have some great ones. If you’ve heard people talk about “Angels in America” or “Band of Brothers”, you can finally watch them yourself.
4. Movies: While HBO GO does not have the monster collections of Netflix and Amazon Prime, there are films here that are not yet available to stream on either of those streaming giants. Currently, this list includes “Ride Along”, “Riddick”, and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, and “Dallas Buyers Club” among others.
5. Music and Documentaries: Foo Fighters have a series launching October 17. Beyoncé and Jay Z have a concert special. There are additional documentaries on topics ranging from terrorism in Kenya to LGBTQ issues in the US and the New York Review of Books.
6. “Entourage” vs. “Silicon Valley“: Each has a star and his groupies. They’re just…very different groupies.
7. Boxing: You never know when a fighter could go for an ear.
“The Larry Sanders Show”, “Mr. Show with Bob and David”, “Tales from the Crypt” and the George Carlin specials, among others have not made it to HBO Go for reasons ranging from interest level to contract disputes. However, some of these missing shows, such as “Tenacious D” can still be streamed on Amazon Prime.
HBO GO makes HBO programming more accessible for subscribers…and often their friends and family members. HBO is aware that subscribers share their logins and only hope that this creates more subscribers. When HBO Go has very publicly crashed during episodes of “True Detective” and “Game of Thrones”, it was widely accepted to be those people borrowing logins, rather than legitimate subscribers, bringing down the servers. As HBO has been the well-publicized target of piracy due to the exclusivity of its shows and the excellence of its content, maybe the HBO GO app is their answer. If you want to “borrow” their programming, at least someone you know is paying for it.