Hands-On: HBO Go for Android

2011-04-29 15.29.40

We were expecting to see HBO Go launch in early May, but it’s been greenlit a bit early and you can grab the app today and catch up on Game of Thrones from you iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. So how does the new app perform? Read on to find out.

Upon first launch, you’ll be asked to choose your cable provider to validate that you’re a HBO subscriber. In this case, I was using Comcast/Xfinity. In order to successfully log in, you have to use the Comcast-provided email that you were given when you first activated the service. You can log into your account with your e-mail address you use to pay bills online but since that is not the primary email address for the account, you may get stuck.

HBO Go offers up a large selection of videos to watch, and you can view them over WiFi or over your network’s data service. The idea is great, but it’s not as easy to get up and running as it should be. One issue that I encountered was that after logging in, a notification pops up saying, “This network is restricted by Parental Control settings.”  After spending half an hour with customer service, the notification ceased and I was good to go.

After signing in successfully, another small issue began to happen. Every time I watched a video, a rotating circle to signify that the video was buffering was always in the middle. Even when a video was playing back fine, the circle remained. The trick to solve most problems with HBO Go seems to be uninstalling and reinstalling the application. This solved the buffering circle for video playback for me and has fixed the Parental Controls notification for others.

Even at its best, Go still needs a lot of work. Initially, I couldn’t find any filtering options within the application, but they do exist. You have to hit menu and then go to the filters through there. It’s simple, but we’d like to have them on the front page of the app, not hidden. While HBO Go is a much better experience on the computer, it takes the “Go” out of the service.

Issues aside, HBO Go is obviously very new and development team behind the app has some work cut out for them for the experience to become as solid as they may have envisioned it to be. Should this stop you from trying out HBO? Well, it depends on how much you want to watch the premium channel on your phone or computer. We’d actually be surprised if we didn’t see an update to the application to fix bugs, but then again, the few bad experiences we’ve heard so far may be unique. Let’s hope so.

If you want to give it ago, you can grab HBO in the Android Market, and Apple’s App Store right now.

 

  • http://twitter.com/AirForceOne888 Air Force One

    Not sure which version you are using but with the Android version if you want content filtering press menu>>categories>>then select whatever content filter you want. For example : movies, series, etc..

    You must be using the iOS version because the android version has been bug-free on my Thunderbolt. I have not needed to call customer service or uninstall and reinstall, and the HBO GO app certainly does not need a need a lot of work. It works fantastic as is.

    • Not

      Not for me. On droid x. Multiple problems.

  • Stevesobczak

    how did you, they comcast fix this problem, i get the same error:
    “This network is restricted by Parental Control settings.” After spending half an hour with customer service, the notification ceased and I was good to go.

    • Jrshorti

      How did you get this fixed. I am experiencing the same problem

      • http://twitter.com/fundun John Dunmire

        I have a Droid X with the Gingerbread leak. I side loaded from the XDA forum link and was getting the Parental Controls error. I added parental controls and changed movies from NC-17 to R and the error went away.

  • Acesem

    all I have to do to fix the parent control settings issue was to go to my tv set up a parental controls Pin and remove any blocks

  • Danielle Royster

    I think it’s great that HBO has designed an app for its subscribers to watch more content on the go. I think it’s very useful for people who didn’t already have that option. I actually work and subscribe to DISH Network and I have the Sling Adapter connected to my DVR and synced with my phone so I can watch as much TV as I can no matter where I’m at, without channel restrictions. Once I open up the DISH Remote Access app, I have my TV at my fingertips! I do know that there’s one company that doesn’t allow HBO to really be on the go and that’s Verizon FiOS. Verizon will allow it’s customers to access HBOGO but only if they are connected to the their internet. I love DISH Network and I am always recommending that people check out DISH Network and experience a value unseen by any other provider!

    *Danielle

  • Meatsprocket

    it keeps saying this Go ID is being used by another computer or device on my android phone. (Galaxy s)

    it works fine on my laptop. I shut down the laptop just to make sure it wasnt runnng in the background but it still wont let me play video on my phone…Any suggestions?

    • Sesame

      You have to log out to use different devices. You can’t be logged in on both a phone and a laptop at the same time, which is quite annoying.

  • Annoyed

     Who’s the genius that decided real time streaming was the way to go with this. Horrible picture quality and constant interruptions.  You’re lucky if you get through a full show.  Somebody needs to be fired.  You can’t deliver media over the internet without significant buffering to account for slowdowns.  What are they smoking?

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/Q25ZVACF3NQLY5KHZ23PUNZYGE B A

      works fine for me.  Have watched 5 episodes and only had slight buffering on one of the occasions.  Not perfect…but hey doesn’t cost anything extra beyond the hbo subscription.

  • Beth

    what should the settings be on the phone to view it on the TV. Can’t get the TV to work as the monitor.  Have used the input switches on the TV.
    Thanks.

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