HBO Go Is Going: One Writer's Plans in the Era of HBO Max

Diane Snyder
HBO Go
HBO

HBO is changing the way many subscribers stream their favorite shows. The premium channel responsible for hit series like Watchmen, Succession, and Westworld is saying goodbye to its HBO Go streaming app on July 31, but not all users will have an easy time switching to its new recently launched HBO Max app.

That’s because HBO Max isn’t available on Roku or Amazon Fire smart TVs or other streaming devices, which, according to estimates, account for 70 percent of the streaming devices in the U.S. 

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HBO Go, which launched in 2010, was the original streaming app for users who subscribe to HBO through cable and satellite providers. While Go currently has free access to HBO Max and its exciting additional content, subscribers will only be able to log on to it by going to hbomax.com and signing in through their cable or satellite provider. (Here’s a full list of HBO Max providers.)

So, if you don’t have the right type of smart TV, you’ll be stuck watching HBO Max on your computer, laptop or phone. If you want to stream to a larger screen, there’s always the option of connecting your computer to your TV, but that in and of itself requires a strong internet connection.

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Other possibilities include signing up for HBO directly through the HBO app (the rebranded version of the HBO Now streaming app). That gets you the channel’s regular offerings minus the additional content on HBO Max. But, it’s a way to stream HBO shows if you can’t access HBO Max.

To be sure, it’s a complicated landscape. I’m one of those subscribers who counted on HBO Go to watch a lot of the cable channel’s content on my Roku TV. I’ve known since HBO Max launched at the end of May that Go would soon be gone, but I thought by now HBO’s parent company, WarnerMedia, would have struck a deal with Roku.

Luckily, I have a DVR and can record currently airing shows like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and I May Destroy You. To catch up with older shows that aren’t currently airing, I’ll have to watch them on another device. (Or, perhaps I’ll see if I can check them out from the library on DVD. There’s a radical idea in 2020!)

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Not an insurmountable problem by any means, but it’s ironic that at a time when we’re supposed to have a tremendous about of choice in what we watch, we’re still hampered by bureaucratic stalemates. Remember when you wanted to watch, say, Doctor Who, but your cable company didn’t offer BBC America? Some things don’t change.

Yes, now there are ways around it: Get a new TV or streaming device, watch your program on a smaller screen like a tablet or phone, but they can be complicated and costly for people who want their TV-watching experience to be one of the easier aspects of their day.

How will you be watching HBO once Go goes? Or will you simply stop watching? Sound off below.