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.