Review: Deep Dive Into HBO GO

HBO GO LogoThe HBO GO service is a game changer. HBO has made a significant investment in steering customers to its new streaming video service with the idea that HBO is available almost anywhere.  Yes, this means you can watch Game of Thrones” while sitting on your own throne. Or “Taxicab Confessions” while riding in a taxi.  Or “True Blood” while giving blood. (I think I just wrote HBO’s next promo.)

I’ve spent time with the iPhone, iPad and Web versions of HBO GO since the official U.S. roll-out May 2nd. (There is also an Android version I did not get to try.)  Here is a deep, deep dive into HBO GO.

Summary

GO:

  • Extensive library of content
  • No commercials
  • Multiple platform support (iPod, iPad, Android, Web)
  • Resumes playback at pause point (at least on same device)
  • Free for HBO subscribers
  • Great video quality on high speed connections
  • Watchlist for favorite shows
  • Appealing visual design

NO GO:

  • Low bandwidth forces streaming to audio-only mode
  • No mobile device video output to TV screen
  • HBO GO pre-roll plays every time on resuming playback
  • SMS & alerts exit video playback rather than just pausing
  • No download option for offline use
  • Parental controls not in app and can be hard to find on provider’s Web site
  • No closed captions yet

Signing Up

You start by choosing your TV service provider/distributor/MVPD/cable/telco/satellite company and then going through a process of signing in with your existing login for that provider.  If your provider does not yet participate in HBO GO, you’re out of luck.

In my case, Charter TV is participating as a beta test, so I signed in with my Charter account from within the app.  This is the account you use from then on to sign into HBO GO.

HBO GO Choose ProviderHBO GO iPhone App Charter Login Screen

Next, I had to set up an HBO GO profile.   I had one glitch the first time I tried it. I filled out the registration form on the iPhone and then clicked on the terms of use link at the bottom (those terms you always read so bad things don’t happen, right?).  The app went to the terms page, but all my info was gone when I went back to the profile registration form.

HBO GO iPhone App Profile Creation

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