How to Watch HBO Go on Your TV Today and Tomorrow

August 3, 2011
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Thanks to the special FIOS offer to try out HBO, Starz and Showtime for the first three months free, the Hub has been enjoying all of the great content available on HBO Go. HBO Go gives you access to all of the HBO original series as well as their current movies and other featured content. You can watch content on your computer’s browser or use one of the mobile apps available for the iPad, iPhone or Android. While the mobile apps provide a great experience, what if you want to watch HBO Go on the best screen in the house?  While Curb Your Enthusiasm is well suited to the iPad, the cinematography of Game of Thrones demands a large screen HDTV.

At last May’s Streaming Media East conference, HBO announced that HBO Go was also going to be available on a variety of connected TVs, game consoles and streaming devices. In addition to the devices that can currently access HBO Go listed below, our sources tell us we should see HBO Go in the Samsung TV app store shortly (it was announced last March). This would bring HBO Go to the newer Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. In this morning’s earnings call for Time Warner, the parent company of HBO, they reiterated that HBO Go is coming to game consoles this year as well.

But, what if you want to enjoy HBO Go on your TV today?  What are the options? We tried using AirPlay to push the content from our iPad to Apple TV. Unfortunately, you can only push the audio to the TV not the video. HBO would have to enable this in the app. Instead, here are the devices and ways to bring HBO Go to the best screen in your house:

Options to Watch HBO Go on your HDTV today:

Both the Boxee and Google TV can easily run the HBO GO app since they have web browsers with a full-blown version of Adobe Flash. While it’s functional, navigating around the browser is not a pleasant user experience. At least both Google TV and the Boxee provide full keyboard remotes to facilitate the sign-in process. It will be interesting to see how the HBO Go app works on game consoles since they don’t run full-versions of Flash.

While there’s no doubt that HBO offers some of the best content out there, they need to improve the audio and video quality, in order to stream to the living room. While the quality is fine on a mobile phone or iPad, it doesn’t scale well to the big screen. While watching on the Boxee, it’s easy to notice pixelization. Judging by eye, the stream appears to be standard definition. The audio is in stereo, not surround sound. Most other video streaming services such as VUDU and Netflix provide selected content in 1080P and Dolby Digital. To be fair, HBO’s service is relatively new and hopefully, improvements in picture and sound will come as other devices are enabled. Perhaps it will even be in time for season 2 of Game of Thrones.

Update: It’s come to our attention that the newer Samsung HDTVs (UNxxD7000 and 8000 series) as well as the BD-D6500 Blu-ray Player have a built-in web browser that allows access to HBO Go today. As for the HBO Go app in the Samsung TV app store, we were recently told by Samsung to “stay tuned”. Read the latest update at Where is HBO Go in the Samsung App Store?

Update 2: It was announced that HBO Go will be available on all Roku devices at the end of October. The details are here.

Update 3: Read our hands-on review of HBO Go on the Roku

Update (2/16/2012): Add select 2010 and 2011 Samsung Smart TVs to the list of HBO GO devices. XBox 360 should be next.

Update (7/27/2013): Read our review of the HBO GO app on Apple TV in 1080P. The HBO GO iOS app also supports Airplay as well. Finally, HBO GO also supports Dolby surround sound and closed captions on most of its connected TV apps.

Tags: Boxee, Google TV, HBO, streaming

4 Responses to How to Watch HBO Go on Your TV Today and Tomorrow

  1. 5Media FRT on August 5, 2011 at 6:08 am

    HBO GO App, launched for iOS and Android users, has successfully made it to 4 million downloads http://radiomobiletech.com/news/news-news/hbo-go-app-grabs-downloads-outliving-hit-xbox-and-ps3.html

  2. Info Tech on August 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    This is an excellent step from HBO Go with providing services to be available on a variety of connected TVs, game consoles and streaming devices.

  3. [...] While select high-end Samsung Smart TVs (and other connected devices) have been able to access HBO GO via their Flash-enabled web-browsers, it was a sub-par experience. As an app, HBO GO is easier to navigate and also offers 720P HD video (at least on the Roku). In addition, HBO announced this past January that Dolby Digital Plus is also coming to the service but they have not provided any dates as of yet. Stay tuned. [...]

  4. Sharon on November 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    If I fix my tv to use it as the internet , can I then have hbo go through that?

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