HBO GO vs. HBO NOW: What's the Difference?

Satiate your need to watch HBO wherever you are

HBO Go and HBO Now have been discontinued. HBO Max replaced HBO Go. HBO Now is now called HBO. HBO Max offers all the same content as the HBO app, plus a massive library of content from other Warner Media properties. This article exists for archival purposes.

It's possible to stream movies, series, and specials from the HBO content library on any app-enabled device, be it a phone, laptop, smart TV, streaming stick, or set-top box. All you need is one of HBO's two streaming services: HBO NOW or HBO GO.

HBO Go vs. HBO Now

Overall Findings

  • A standalone streaming service.

  • Access all HBO content.

  • Recalls watch history and continues play where you left off.

  • Requires an HBO cable or satellite subscription.

  • Access all HBO content.

  • Recalls watch history and continues play where you left off.

The only important difference between HBO NOW and HBO GO is that HBO GO is for people who have HBO subscriptions through their cable or satellite provider. Subscriptions are also available through Amazon Prime. HBO NOW, on the other hand, is available to anyone, much like Netflix or Hulu.

HBO NOW and HBO GO apps side by side.

If you have an HBO subscription, you can use HBO GO to watch HBO shows and movies on your phone, tablet, computer, or another app-enabled device. If you don't have a subscription, there is no way to get HBO GO. That's why HBO NOW is ideal for cord-cutters.

One problem for cord-cutters is that there are many services, including cable replacements like Sling TV and general streaming services like Netflix, that it's easy to pay as much, or more, for streaming services than for cable.

Price: Depends on Cost of Cable Package

  • $14.99 per month.

  • Included with a premium cable or satellite subscription.

A bit more expensive than Netflix, HBO NOW costs $14.99 per month. That may save you money when compared to the cost of a premium cable subscription. However, you need to factor in the benefits of cable TV (and the other channels and DVR features available with it) when assessing the overall value of HBO NOW vs. HBO GO.

Access: Anyone, Anywhere vs. Cable Subscribers

  • A standalone streaming service that doesn't require an existing cable or satellite package.

  • Requires an HBO cable or satellite subscription through a cable provider, satellite TV provider, or Amazon Prime.

The HBO NOW app can be downloaded on a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or other streaming device and watched on a TV or mobile device.

HBO GO can also be viewed on any device with the app, but it only exists for paid cable subscribers. It is only available to people who subscribe to HBO through a cable or satellite package. If you have an HBO subscription, HBO GO is free. If you don't have an HBO subscription, HBO GO isn't an option.

Content: Same Content, Different Subscription

  • Same content as HBO, but with no live feed.

  • Same content as HBO, but with no live feed.

HBO NOW and HBO GO include the same content. That includes all of HBO's original shows, from The Sopranos to Game of Thrones. It also includes all the movies that HBO currently has the rights to broadcast and stream.

HBO NOW and HBO GO don't include a live feed of the HBO channel. Most shows become available to stream on the service around the time a show is broadcast on the HBO channel, but there is no option to watch a live stream of the channel.

HBO adds new movies and rotates out older movies every month throughout the year. Along with recently released movies that aren't available on other streaming services, HBO regularly includes older movies in its rotation. For more information about movie availability, check out HBO's list of new releases.

Final Verdict: Get HBO NOW if You Don't Have Cable

Since HBO NOW only provides access to HBO content, it falls into a category similar to streaming services like Paramount+. These kinds of single-channel subscriptions can build up your entertainment bills. The appeal comes down to your taste and preference. For many cord-cutters, HBO is worth paying $15 a month.

Download For:

  • What happened to HBO Go?

    HBO Go was a streaming app that came along with an HBO cable or satellite subscription. You’d use Go to access content from the HBO library. HBO Go was discontinued as of July 31, 2020. WarnerMedia came to agreements with many cable providers so that HBO customers could sign into HBO Max, the newest HBO streaming entity, for the same price. 

  • What happened to HBO Now?

    HBO Now was a service for those who didn't have HBO in their cable or satellite package. The HBO Now service was rebranded as HBO, but HBO Max is now the featured streaming service.

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