HBO NOW rolled out on March 9, 2015, at an Apple press event as the tech giant touted the content platform as the next step in the cord cutting process.
At the time, it signified the beginning of the end for cable as you know it, and with 1 million subscribers as of July 2015, per Quartz, it still may be.
But as with most new products, this one is far from perfect and not quite ready for primetime. Here are three reasons in particular why you should avoid at the present time.
1. HBO NOW is frustratingly unreliable.
The HBO NOW app suffers on the Apple TV platform, in particular, with buffering issues that are not a factor on other apps within the same platform. WWE Network, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Netflix — all work usually without a hitch, but booting up HBO’s latest brainchild often requires one, sometimes multiple reboots to get your content to play correctly. Some issues you are likely to experience include video starting without sound, trouble accessing the content for navigation/playback, and the aforementioned buffering.
2. HBO NOW is way overpriced.
HBO really thinks their content is the best around, and you can’t fault them for that. After all, if they’re not going to believe in it, then why should anyone else? And truthfully, shows like Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Rome, and Eastbound and Down, are worthwhile passages of time. However, compared to services like Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime, which each undercut the premium network’s streaming app by almost half while offering just as much (if not more) great content, $14.99 is ridiculous to ask of the average viewer.
And while one could point to the 1 million subscriber-count as proof that HBO knows what it’s doing with HBO NOW, keep in mind that is just an estimate and it doesn’t specify how many subscribers are going through a free trial with the intention of canceling before renewal. In my case, I joined to watch Boardwalk Empire and wrapped up the final episode over the weekend. I’ve already canceled.
3. There are smarter, cheaper, and legal ways to enjoy what HBO NOW does have to offer.
When you get past the handful of originals that are worth your time, HBO NOW suffers from the same thing HBO Prime suffers from — an anemic selection of movies. You’re much better off just buying a show you like and watching it any time you want on Blu-ray than paying $180 per year ongoing as an HBO NOW subscriber.
Still not convinced HBO NOW is a waste of money? Here’s what iTunes reviewers are saying.
[Image of HBO NOW via Flickr Creative Commons]