Tag Archives: HBO Go

Episode 128: Game of Thrones season 5, episode 1 recap


We welcome everyone back to Westeros by way of recapping the first episode of season 5.

This gives us a way to discuss HBO Now, the new standalone streaming service from HBO that does not require a cable subscription.

Jeremy has already signed up for HBO Now. Have you?

We also discuss how much better HBO Now is than the old HBO Go. The big difference is that HBO has a new streaming partner to provide high quality video and service.

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Episode 124: We welcome our streaming future


We take a deep dive into Sling TV, the first major streaming TV option available that includes a package of popular cable channels.

What makes this option so compelling is that it includes ESPN and several other channels for $20. With ESPN now available without a cable subscription, the landscape for over-the-top video has changed dramatically.

It’s one thing if a niche channel like HBO allows for streaming without cable, but it’s quite another if the heavyweight in cable, ESPN, is willing to go cable free.

We discuss whether or not we would describe to an entire year of a service like Sling TV or HBO Go or would we do it only for certain shows?

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Episode 121: HBO Go without a cable subscription (above board this time)


HBO Go will finally be available without a cable subscription.

This is huge news for cord cutters.  HBO is one of the big reasons that many people keep cable. But how much will it cost? I don’t think it will be cheap.

We also discuss the merits of CBS also offering a streaming service now as well. CBS is free, after all. So will people pay to be able to stream it as well on different devices?

We also discuss how streaming a la carte could work. We then discuss if this could be the catalyst for sports leagues getting rid of blackout restrictions?

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Episode 106: HBO I-got-my-password-from-my-parents


We discuss HBO Go by way of Game of Thrones.

We also discuss net neutrality, and why it’s important. Like Netflix? Want HBO Go to not require a cable subscription? Well, you better start supporting net neutrality.

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Episode 77: Microphone in the wrong computer


Jeremy and I agree that the new Independence Day movie will be one of the best movies ever. Awfully (good) as Jeremy says.

That leads us naturally into a discussion about Netflix, Arrested Development and the future of TV shows on Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services.

We also discuss how HBO, Netflix and others don’t need as many successful shows as a broadcast network would need in order to be successful.

We also discuss the latest Apple TV update and how both HBO Go and WatchESPN require a cable subscription to use, which is a big change from the past.

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HBO doesn’t want your money

HBO confirms that they don’t have plans, for the time being, on allowing people to purchase HBO without a cable subscription:

“Take My Money, HBO!” is a very simple Web page that was started this week by Jake Caputo, a Web designer who wants to be able to subscribe to HBO via the Internet. The page asks: “How much would you pay monthly for a standalone HBO GO streaming service? Enter a number and Tweet it to let HBO know we want it and we will pay.” The page quickly gained attention from others like Mr. Caputo who want to subscribe to HBO without having to subscribe to a cable or satellite provider like Comcast or DirecTV.

Of course, HBO’s message included the words “for now” — a reminder that as the economics of television change, so too could HBO’s calculations about its relationships.

This will change in time. Will it be a year? Five years? 10 years? I don’t know, but the market will break HBO. The people will break HBO.

The future is in streaming and mobile, two things HBO does terrible or not at all. HBO can’t keep delivering a product that doesn’t work for people without cable and doesn’t work for mobile users.

In the short term, I’d settle for HBO making its mobile product better.

In the meantime, HBO will continue to lead in piracy and people will continue to share HBO Go accounts and do group viewings. Make no mistake, people are watching HBO content. It’s HBO’s choice on how many people they want to actually pay for it.

Episode 38: To go or not to go

This actually happened. And it happened several times while trying to watch one episode on HBO Go.

We discuss the usability issues with HBO’s app HBO Go.

Besides the problem with using it on the go, it’s a pretty good app. Make of that what you will.

We also discuss our iPad setups for work, and how we use the iPad to get stuff done.

We then discuss how we’re all lucky be subjected to a second unskippable government warning before movies we buy. Double your pleasure.

And then we discuss how the American Community Survey is in jeopardy. It’s kind of a BFD.

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Game of Thrones looks terrible streaming over hotel wifi (HBO No Go?)

This is an actual screenshot from my iPad. I usually don’t write actually, but I thought I’d clarify that this did in fact happen.

This is why HBO Go needs offline caching.

The only way I could watch the latest episodes of Game of Thrones in any respectable manner while I’m traveling is to pirate the episodes and watch them when they are done downloading. Watching Game of Thrones on hotel wifi over the HBO Go app was a bit like watching late 1990s Web video. It was blocky, pixelated and prone to stopping randomly.

The best is when HBO Go drops down to an audio-only stream. Yes, instead of providing offline caching or selling digital episodes via iTunes or Amazon during the season, HBO believes showing a blank screen with audio is a good solution.

This actually happened. And it happened several times while trying to watch one episode.

HBO Go is not a to go app.

Why is HBO Go not a to-go service?

The problem with HBO Go is that the name is really misleading.

In what world is HBO Go a to-go app and service for viewing TV shows? Not in this world, that’s for sure.

There will be no HBO episodes on a plane, train or automobile, because you cannot cache episodes on HBO Go for when you don’t have an Internet connection. I’m traveling this week for seven days to Pittsburgh, and it looks like I won’t be able to catch upon Game of Thrones while I’m traveling. It would seem to me that one of the main reasons for HBO Go would be to allow viewers to catch up on TV shows.

The hotel wifi will almost certainly not be good enough for me to stream episodes. It’s not just that HBO Go requires an Internet connection, it needs a good one, especially if you like viewing your video at anything above 1995-online video quality. So, I have to ask, how is HBO Go, a to-go app and service?

I cannot watch episodes on the go with it. I cannot at all. The only thing HBO Go is good for is watching episodes in my own home when I’m away from my own TV. Or if I were to visit a relative or a friend with a fast Internet connection and wanted to watch TV by myself (it’s HBO Go, not HBO social).

Can someone explain why HBO Go doesn’t support caching of episodes?

This issue doesn’t get to the biggest issue with HBO Go; the service requires a cable TV subscription, tethering users to TVs, cable and old ways of thinking about video. I’d love to use HBO Go as a standalone service for $10-20 a month for the pleasure of watching HBO shows without needing cable. I’d be able to watch shows on my TV via a Internet-connected setup box such as the XBOX 360, Apple TV, Boxee box or one of the many other ones. And, in this post-cable world, I’d love to be able to watch my favorite shows on the go.

But, let’s get back to the first major issue with HBO Go: it requires a strong Internet connection. In HBO’s world, a world that wants to protect traditional cable viewing at all costs, how could someone possibly want to watch an HBO show on an airplane?

Crazy right? And why would anyone want to watch an episode of Game of Thrones on a plane via an app called HBO Go? I can’t imagine why Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated shows.

HBO is one of those companies that complains bitterly that people pirate their content, but doesn’t try to provide legal content in ways that people want to use it. The only way to do mobile viewing of an HBO show is to wait for up to a year after the season airs and purchase it on iTunes, Amazon.com or another digital service. Then you can load it onto a mobile device and view it. Very user friendly and modern. Who wouldn’t want to be a year behind on a TV show, all because they wanted to be able to watch TV on a mobile device.

That’s the only legal way. In 2012. I may not have an MBA, but I’m pretty sure that making it easy for people to buy your content is a good way to get them to actually buy it.

As it stands, HBO Go is a good way to watch HBO on an iPad or a laptop on a couch, but nothing more (I don’t understand the concept of putting HBO Go on set-top boxes, since the only way to get HBO Go service is to have cable in the first place, and cable boxes are in fact set-top boxes). This is not a to go service, but I hope that eventually HBO adds both the ability to download shows for offline viewing (or viewing when wifi speeds aren’t fast enough) and the ability to subscribe to just HBO — not the rest of the trash on cable.

Since I don’t have a cable subscription, this whole post is purely academic, of course.