The end of July meant the end of HBO Go, the HBO app that, for a run of about ten years, provided HBO subscribers with access to just about the entirety of HBO original shows.
HBO Go is dead because of the arrival of HBO Max, the newly launched streaming service that includes all HBO programming, as well as a giant if ever-shifting library of classic movies as well as original shows. HBO, while removing HBO Go, is also rebranding HBO Now as simply “HBO,” in order to avoid confusion. Although if you’re not a journalist who covers this sector, and you didn’t understand any of that, I don’t blame you. And that’s before we get to the ongoing dispute which means that HBO Max can’t be viewed on a Roku or Amazon Fire device. HBO Go was available on those devices until the end of July, but is now gone, just like everywhere else.
HBO Go launched in February of 2010 and Roku became the first streaming platform to carry it, the following year.
Up until that point, if you wanted to catch up on The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood,Sex and the City or any of the other classic HBO original shows, you had to either wait for the new season to come around, watch re-runs whenever HBO felt like showing them, or buy a DVD set, which could run as much as $100 per season of each show. And a lot of people did – DVD sets of The Sopranos were huge sellers back then. There was also the option of watching episodes of the shows through cable on-demand, but that was unreliable and didn’t always have everything available.
But then came HBO, which suddenly made every season of every one of those shows available, for free with the cost of a cable subscription. This made binge-watching a reality, three years before House of Cards debuted on Netflix.
HBO Go was so popular that non-cable subscribers demanded a version for cord-cutters – remember the “Take My Money, HBO” campaign? – which led to the creation of HBO Now in 2015.
I understand why HBO Go is no more, and as an HBO cable subscriber who also gets HBO Max, I won’t be missing out on any content. But I’ll always have a soft spot for HBO Go, which was nothing less than a miracle when it first arrived back in 2010.