HBO Now Less Than Satisfying

It’s my day off.  This is a non-developer post so if you’re expecting Xojo related stuff come back later.

I admit that we’re not typical television viewers.  We just don’t watch live TV anymore.  What we’ve gotten in the habit of doing is watching TV series on Netflix through our Apple TV.  All the joys of TV without the annoying commercials and we can binge watch two or three episodes at time whenever we want.

We’ve gone through the entire Star Trek universe (some twice with our two boys being such disparate ages), Sherlock Holmes, FireFly, Babylon 5 (when it was available for streaming), Doctor Who, Torchwood, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Battlestar Galactica, and many other series that are forgettable.

The point is that we pick and choose what we want to watch.  Yes, we have cable but it’s the bare bones minimum package.  Our city is one of the lucky places to have Google Fiber and we plan on cutting the cord and getting rid of cable entirely (assuming they ever wire up our neighborhood).  We don’t watch live TV now so why should I keep paying for a service we don’t use?  That money adds up.

When Apple announced that HBO Now was coming to the Apple TV I was excited.  Having a free month was a great incentive so I signed up and so far I’ve managed to go through several seasons of Game of Thrones but I am not impressed with the app.  Let me rephrase it:  I HATE this app.

The HBO Now app crashes – a lot.  In the span of an hour episode today, in the middle of the afternoon, it crashed six times.  I don’t know if it’s HBO, AppleTV, my ISP, or a combination of all three but it sucks and I cannot recommend that you purchase the service.

Every time I start the HBO Now app I feel like I’m rolling a saving throw and must get a 20 or it crashes.  Apparently the die is weighted wrong because I can’t remember a time where I started it and it just played with no issues.

I find the UI to be awful.  I’m watching a series.  It doesn’t remember the series (even though I’ve added it to my watch list) and there’s no visual indicating if I’ve already watched an episode or not so you end up hunting through episodes.  GOT has kind of a long intro and if you try to fast forward, guess what happens?  You increase your risk of crashing.  Want to throw subtitles on (because accents can sometimes be hard to pick out), guess what?  That also increases the chance of a crash.

So tell me why I’m paying for a crappy UI and an app/service that crashes all the time?  I expect better and if they want my money HBO will have to get MUCH better and soon.  If Netflix and Apple can stream video consistently, without any issues, why can’t HBO?

[Updated to reflect that it was the HBO Now and NOT HBO Go app that was crashing]