As soon as I knew that HBO would land in our country, offering its streaming series and movies service, I knew I was going to try it. The free month of Netflix, HBO or Prime Video serves as a magnificent tasting plate for all of us who consume series and movies and are willing to pay for it. Time passes and the platforms begin to swell their catalog: HBO has been operating in Spain since November 28, 2016, almost a year and a half. And I have been subscribed since then.
So is the service that HBO offers worth it? How is your mobile application, does it meet the minimum required? And your catalog, + is it capable of satisfying a wide spectrum of public or will it be relegated to true freaks of series and movies? I will tell my personal experience with the HBO service for a year , listing what are the advantages and disadvantages of it and, in the end, I will try to reach a simple conclusion. Is it worth paying 8 euros to have HBO?
HBO: general aspects of the service
Before entering the matter, we are going to offer you in a general way the most important aspects to take into account in the HBO streaming service.
Where can we see your content?
HBO series and movies can be seen on any device where we can download their application , be it mobile or tablet.
- On Samsung Smart TVs and only from that brand
- HBO website
- Mobile app and tablet
- Apple tv
Likewise, the operator Vodafone reached an agreement with HBO being able to offer all its content from the Vodafone TV application at the same quota price as for regular customers.
How much does the service cost?
8 euros per month for the entire catalog without exceptions. There is no premium content, everything in the catalog can be seen for those 8 euros per month, being able to share the account with another person. That is, two people at the same time can see the content sharing the same account. Thus, the fee would remain at 4 euros per person.
Is it automatic subscription?
Yes, so watch out for this. As soon as the trial period is over, HBO will charge you for the first month and so on.
What does your catalog offer?
All content on HBO USA except for some exceptions by right and content from other companies such as Warner, Fox, Sony or Disney . Its bulk is the series but it does not forget about movies, documentaries, TV Movies and comedy shows.
HBO Spain: advantages of the platform
Historical series of proven quality
In the United States, the saying 'It's not TV, it's HBO' is famous. HBO productions are characterized by being adults, not skimping on lurid themes and having gone down in history as some series of unquestionable quality. In HBO we can see, for example:
- The legendary The Sopranos , a series that changed the course of TV by mixing the epic gangster with the manner of soap operas and Greek tragedy
- The Wire , considered the best series in the history of TV, a fresco of the city of Baltimore that, each season, tackled a different theme
- Six feet underground , an exciting journey through the life and death of a family that owns a funeral home ...
- Girls, one of the series that has more and better included feminism in its plot
- Larry David , based on the creator of Seinfeld's own life: equal parts shame and misanthropy
- True Blood , dusty eroticism and blood with sensual vampires as protagonists
HBO has in its catalog, as we said, some of the best series in the history of TV . For anyone interested in television fiction, HBO is recommended to subscribe. And for a rate that becomes the second favorable point.
Its very affordable price
We are talking that for an amount of 8 euros per month we can see high quality fiction. A figure, in addition, that can be divided in half if we share our account with another person. That is, two people, in different addresses, can legally watch an HBO series at the same time. For 4 euros you have hours and hours of entertainment: less than what it costs a movie ticket or a couple of beers in a night bar. It is, without a doubt, one of the great incentives by which a person could decide to have a paid account on HBO.
Your variety of platforms
Before we already pointed out something about it: we can see HBO on the mobile, whose application is compatible with Chromecast to send the content to the TV, on the computer through the web browser, the tablet, if you are a Vodafone TV customer you have the integrated application in other services of the operator, Playstation, Apple TV ... Many complaints came, precisely, from the mobile application. And although it is still one of its weakest points, we have to say that it works much better than in the beginning.
Its catalog in continuous expansion
Unlike Netflix, HBO has in its catalog much more of its own content that will not disappear from it. In addition, it has managed to get the exclusive broadcast of, for example, Big Bang Theory that has already disappeared from Netflix. On the other hand, in addition to the series, we find a powerful documentary section that rivals, directly, with the also attractive selection of Netflix.
HBO Spain: disadvantages of the platform
Your application for mobiles and smart TV
It's really hard to blindly recommend HBO to someone regardless of how poor their app is. Honestly, it is quite an important stumbling block and so a person could give up the service after the free month. We are going to list everything that we see wrong in HBO's mobile and smart TV applications.
Non-existent section of 'Continue watching' on smart TV. Who can think of not putting a 'keep watching' section on the HBO smart TV app? What do we who see more than one series at a time do? Point on the mobile where we are going? In the mobile application, however, we do have it… Are they forcing us to use the mobile application to view its content? Its non-existence is something that I cannot explain to myself and that distorts the experience of using the app. And we must also add that there is only HBO application for Samsung: no trace, yet, of LG.
Create watchlist? Forget this. It is only possible to add individual episodes to our favorites list. Complete series? Forget this. HBO has thought that it is not useful.
It is not possible to create two profiles. If we can share our account with another person, why can't we create two profiles? If your friend watches a series and you are watching that same series, but you go for another episode ... how to follow the thread? Unless HBO itself doesn't want you to share their account, that might be possible.
Download to watch offline? Forget this. Netflix allows you to download your own content so that you can later watch it without having to be connected to the Internet. Do you want to watch HBO on a trip? Pay data. Your favorite series while you wait in the dentist room? You will have to expand your data rate.
'Continue watching' section on mobile is useless. And why is it useless? Because it doesn't work properly. When we have finished watching the episode, instead of offering us the next one, it stays in the latter. In the end, we have to go into the series and look for the latest episode. Of course, if we are watching a series on the smart TV app and we want to continue watching it on the mobile, they are not synchronized between them. HBO should include a notes app within its official application, because, honestly, it is a mess to keep track of the productions that we follow.
Recommendations? Let's say the recommendation section seems a bit random. In my case: I am very fond of HBO comedy. For example, I have seen Crashing intact, about the life of a stand-up comedian. Another recommendable comedy would be Silicon Valley, about the misadventures of a group of geeks in the technological paradise of the USA. Well, no sign of comedy recommendations on my mobile application or smart TV. What's more, the smart TV app recommends a series that I'm watching at the moment.
Do you like movies? Best Netflix
HBO does not have a good film catalog, clearly speaking. Its film productions do not aspire to be great successes like those of Netflix and its platform is dedicated to offering some variety, cinema for all tastes excluding premieres, attending to the great American commercial successes and with little auteur and European cinema. Advancing to the next negative point, to say that we will only find quality if we look deeply: then we can find the odd jewel. The rest, predictable.
It seems worse than it is
It's funny, but I have seen this in my own flesh and in the comments of friends who have used HBO. The application is a horror and this makes the experience of using HBO totally muddy . If we take a moment (or a long time, rather) to dive into its content, in the end we will realize that for 8 euros (and for 4 I don't even tell you) it is very worth it. Now, who wants to waste time delving into your catalog in these times of fast consumption?
Netflix works because what you want to see puts it in the foreground: its recommendation algorithm works like a shot (of the convenience of this algorithm and that it forces us to stay in our comfort zone we could talk at another time) and, although there is 'hidden' content the application keeps us informed of the news. HBO? Good luck knowing what is released and what is not.
Conclusions. Is HBO worth it?
Raw and tough sincerity: for me it's a big yes. For 8 euros I have highly recommended series that I have not seen yet, documentaries and comedy shows that interest me as a viewer and surprises in their catalog that compensate for the expense. Will the ordinary citizen be interested, that person who simply wants to open the app and hit play? I doubt it. HBO demands patience with the user: its application failures and poor configuration are unacceptable and the company will have to get down to work. And if you have to choose one, Netflix will take it to the street and for 6 euros if you share the account.
I would recommend to all lovers of quality TV that they try at least the month for free and that if it convinces them, they find someone to share the account. 4 euros for everything HBO offers is a gift. However, I will not blame anyone who does not want to stay in the house of HBO: the platform does little to make its use practical and can sometimes be desperate. HBO has a lot of work to do if it wants to catch up with Netflix. For now, excuse me, I'm going to see if I discover an interesting new documentary.