Difference Wiki

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

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 24, 2023
HBO Go was a streaming service for existing HBO subscribers; HBO Now was a standalone streaming service without needing an HBO subscription.

Key Differences

HBO Go was essentially a streaming extension for existing HBO cable subscribers. This meant that if you already had an HBO subscription through a cable provider, HBO Go was available to you as an added benefit. HBO Now, in contrast, was introduced as a standalone streaming service. It was designed for cord-cutters who wanted HBO content without subscribing to a cable package.
HBO Go allowed those with an HBO subscription to watch its content on the go, on various devices like smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. HBO Now provided essentially the same library of HBO content but was targeted at a different audience – those who had moved away from traditional cable.
Interestingly, both HBO Go and HBO Now offered the same content library. This included HBO's original series, movies, documentaries, and other specials. The distinction was purely in how users accessed and paid for the service.
Over time, the lines between HBO Go and HBO Now blurred, leading to some confusion among consumers. HBO eventually made the decision to streamline its offerings, and as of my last update in 2022, both HBO Go and HBO Now have been phased out in favor of HBO Max, a more unified streaming platform.

Comparison Chart

Subscription Requirement

Required HBO cable subscription
No cable subscription required

Target Audience

Existing HBO cable subscribers
Cord-cutters and those without cable

Content Library

HBO's original series, movies, specials, etc.
HBO's original series, movies, specials, etc.


Included with HBO cable subscription
Separate monthly fee


Phased out in favor of HBO Max
Phased out in favor of HBO Max

HBO GO and HBO NOW Definitions


The streaming counterpart to HBO's cable service.
Using HBO Go, I streamed HBO content on various devices.


A standalone streaming service from HBO.
I subscribed to HBO Now to watch Westworld without cable.


A streaming service for HBO cable subscribers.
With HBO Go, I could watch Game of Thrones on my tablet.


HBO's answer to the cord-cutting trend.
HBO Now was perfect for me since I didn't have a cable subscription.


HBO's mobile extension for its traditional subscribers.
While traveling, HBO Go was my go-to for entertainment.


HBO's digital offering for non-cable subscribers.
Without a cable package, HBO Now was my way to access HBO hits.


HBO's online portal for its cable audience.
HBO Go was a perk that came with my cable package.


A direct-to-consumer streaming service from HBO.
HBO Now catered to viewers like me who had ditched traditional cable.


A digital platform for existing HBO cable users.
Thanks to HBO Go, I didn't miss an episode of my favorite show.


An independent streaming platform for HBO content.
HBO Now allowed me to enjoy all HBO shows for a monthly fee.


Who was the target audience for HBO Now?

HBO Now targeted cord-cutters and those without a traditional cable subscription.

Why were HBO Go and HBO Now phased out?

They were phased out in favor of a unified streaming platform, HBO Max.

Did HBO Go and HBO Now have the same content library?

Yes, both services offered the same HBO content library.

How did the cost of HBO Now compare to HBO Go?

HBO Go was included with an HBO cable subscription, while HBO Now had a separate monthly fee.

Was HBO Now available outside the U.S.?

HBO Now's availability varied, with certain regions having access and others not.

Did I need the internet to use HBO Go or HBO Now?

Yes, both services required an internet connection to stream content.

Could I download shows on HBO Go or HBO Now for offline viewing?

As of my last update, certain content was available for download on both platforms, but availability varied.

What was HBO Go?

HBO Go was a streaming service exclusively for existing HBO cable subscribers.

Did HBO Go or HBO Now have live broadcasting?

No, both platforms were primarily for on-demand streaming of HBO's library.

Were there any exclusive shows on HBO Now compared to HBO Go?

No, both platforms shared the same HBO content library.

How did the user interfaces of HBO Go and HBO Now compare?

While both platforms had distinct interfaces, they were designed to be user-friendly and intuitive.

Could I share my HBO Now account with friends or family?

While it was technically possible, sharing account details was against HBO's terms of service.

Could I use HBO Go without an HBO cable subscription?

No, HBO Go required an existing HBO cable subscription.

Was there a difference in streaming quality between HBO Go and HBO Now?

Both platforms aimed to offer high-quality streaming, but the quality could vary based on the user's internet connection.

How did HBO Max differ from HBO Go and HBO Now?

HBO Max combined the offerings of both platforms and added an expanded content library beyond standard HBO programming.

Were there free trials for HBO Go or HBO Now?

HBO Now typically offered a free trial for new subscribers, while HBO Go's availability was tied to an HBO cable subscription.

Did HBO Go or HBO Now offer 4K streaming?

As of my last update, neither platform natively supported 4K streaming.

What happened to my HBO Go or HBO Now subscription when they were phased out?

Most subscribers were transitioned to HBO Max, but specifics could vary based on individual circumstances.

Were there parental controls on HBO Go or HBO Now?

Yes, both platforms offered parental control settings to restrict content based on age.

Could I use HBO Go or HBO Now on multiple devices simultaneously?

Yes, but the number of simultaneous streams was limited and varied by account.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons