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

Satiate your need to watch HBO wherever you are

It's now 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
 Lifewire

Overall Findings

HBO NOW
  • Standalone streaming service.

  • Access to all HBO content.

  • Recalls watch history and allows you to continue play where you left off.

HBO GO
  • Requires an HBO cable/satellite subscription.

  • Access to all HBO content.

  • Recalls watch history and allows you to continue 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.
 Lifewire 

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

One of the biggest problems for cord cutters is that there are so many services, including cable replacements like Sling TV and general streaming services like Netflix, that it's pretty easy to end up paying as much, or even more, for streaming services than you would for cable.

Price: Depends on Cost of Cable Package

HBO NOW
  • $14.99 per month.

HBO GO
  • Included with 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, but you need to factor in the benefits of cable TV—and all 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

HBO NOW
  • Standalone streaming service that does not require existing cable or satellite package.

HBO GO
  • Requires an HBO cable/satellite subscription—either 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 directly on your 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, then HBO GO is free. If you don't have an HBO subscription, then HBO GO isn't an option.

Content: Same Content, Different Subscription

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

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

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

Neither HBO NOW or HBO GO include a live feed of the HBO channel. Most shows become available to stream on the service around the time they are broadcast on the HBO channel, but there is no option to watch a live stream of the channel itself.

HBO adds new movies and rotates out older movies every month throughout the year. In addition to 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 that's somewhat similar to streaming services like CBS All Access. These kinds of single-channel subscriptions can build up your entertainment bills. The appeal comes down to the individual's taste and preference. For a lot of cord-cutters, HBO is worth the $15 a month.

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