HBO Go vs. HBO Now: What’s the Difference?

Whether you want to watch Game of Thrones, Westworld, or a huge variety of some of the best films ever made, HBO is one of the best places to do it. There are two different apps that offer HBO content: HBO Go and HBO Now. But which should you use?

Credit: HBO

(Image credit: HBO)

HBO Go and HBO Now have one small but significant difference between them, and it will determine which service you need.

What’s the difference?

The only functional distinction between the two is that HBO Go takes advantage of an existing HBO subscription, whereas HBO Now is a totally standalone service. In other words: If you already subscribe to HBO through your cable or satellite service, you want HBO Go. If you don’t have HBO and want to subscribe to it totally apart from any other kind of cable or satellite program, you want HBO Now.

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In terms of content, there’s no difference between HBO Go and HBO Now. They both give you access to everything HBO has to offer, including live broadcasts and a pretty generous back catalog of both original shows and hit movies.


HBO Now costs $15 per month. HBO Go does not cost anything by itself, but since you need an existing cable or satellite subscription, you’ll have to pay whatever your local provider demands. This can vary extensively depending on the packages available to you.


HBO Now used to be less widely available than its Go counterpart; now they’re both pretty much everywhere. You can access both services on computers, Android, iOS, PlayStation, Xbox, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Android TV and lots of other platforms.

Adding It On

HBO Go and Now are the two most common ways to get HBO content alone, but not the only ones. Amazon Channels, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue all sell HBO as an add-on for $15 per month. There’s no huge advantage to having these add-ons instead of HBO Now, but if you use Amazon, Sling or PS Vue a lot, it could help to have all of your content in one place.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.