Everyone knows what HBO is... but it can get confusing when people start talking about HBO Go.

But it's really not that complicated. To help you understand what HBO Go is and how to use it, Pocket-lint has explained everything you need to know about the free streaming service in this complete guide. We've even detailed how it's different from HBO Now and HBO On Demand.

You can only use HBO Go if HBO is part of your cable package through a participating TV provider (such as Time Warner, etc). It's a free streaming service available on a variety of devices for people who subscribe to HBO. It provides on-demand access to most of HBO's library, including popular series, films, specials, and original content. It doesn't offer live TV, but new content is typically available within minutes after the live broadcast.

HBO Go is free to use. But it requires an HBO subscription (which isn't free) through a participating TV provider..

If you're a cord-cutter who doesn't want to deal with a TV provider, you can use HBO's HBO Now app. It's a standalone streaming service that costs $15 a month. Like HBO Go, you will get on-demand access to all original content, as well as some popular series, films, and specials on HBO. HBO Now doesn't offer live TV, but new content is typically available within minutes (or sometimes up to an hour) after the live broadcast.

HBO On Demand only gives you access to 150 hours of HBO. And it's not the full library of series , films, and specials. HBO On Demand is available through your TV provider, so if you're an HBO subscriber, you can access it with a click of a button on your remote. No extra equipment, app, or installation required. HBO on Demand is not available to satellite customers, and the cost varies depending on your TV provider.

First of all, if you don't have an HBO subscription, go to HBO.com/order to purchase one through a participating TV provider. Once you have a username and password for your TV provider account, you can sign in to HBO GO. When you're all set, go to HBOGO.com on your computer, and in the upper-right corner, choose Sign In. Alternatively, open the HBO GO app on your mobile device, and choose Sign In.

From there, follow these steps:

  1. Choose your TV provider or college from the list of providers.
  2. Enter the username and password for your TV provider account.
  3. Enter an HBO GO ID (this is a unique name for your HBO GO profile).
  4. Enter your email address and ZIP code (these fields are optional).
  5. Choose Save.
  6. Now you're ready to use HBO Go.

Yes. Some TV providers let you create sub-accounts, so that other members of your household can access your TV provider account, but each account has its own TV provider username and password. This way different members of your household can have their own HBO GO watchlist and and parental controls. Contact your TV provider to see if it offers sub-accounts with HBO Go.

To watch HBO Go, you need a compatible device. You can sign into your HBO Go account through your web browser on a computer, or you can sign into the HBO Go app, which is available for select compatible devices (listed below). You're allowed to use HBO Go on multiple different devices at the same time, but the number of simultaneous streams is limited. You will get an error notice if you exceed the limit.

  • Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV
  • Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire tablets
  • Android phones, Android tablets, and Android TV
  • Google Chromecast
  • Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4
  • All Roku players
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • TiVo
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 and Xbox One

HBO said HBO Go streams video at the "highest quality possible". A high-speed connection with a minimum download speed of 3Mbps is required. If the network bandwidth is too low or falls below 3Mbps, you might get a lower resolution video or only audio playing.

Yes. Parental controls limit which HBO Go shows and movies can be watched based on movie and TV ratings. You can set the maximum rating for both movies and TV shows. For instance, you can set the maximum allowed rating to PG-13 for movies and TV-PG for TV shows. You can enable Parental controls via the HBO Go website or HBO Go mobile app. Visit HBO Go's Help center for further instructions.

Watchlist

HBO Go's Watchlist lets you add shows and movies that you'd like to watch in the future. To add an item to your watchlist, click "+Add" from the HBO Go website or select "Add to Watchlist" from your mobile device, connected device, or game console. To see what's on your watchlist, navigate to Watchlist from the HBO Go website, connected device, or console, or tap Watchlist under the Menu button on your mobile device.

Continue Watching

When you watch a video, HBO Go keeps track of your progress, so it lets you stop watching, then return to the video, and resume where you left off. Videos that you partially watched are automatically added to your Continue Watching list.

HBO Go is available in the US. It is not available in the UK.