[Review] HBO GO in Indonesia

July 07, 2020

I've been using FirstMedia service for foreign channel access and internet providers for years, which means a lot of encounters with sad disconnections along the way so far. With the strong bond I have for internet-powered entertainment and my dis-attachment from living room (and my bedroom that has no TV), HBO and I went apart. I had to find ways to catch up awesome HBO shows on the internet using VPN. Now HBO GO has arrived and it's time to reconnect our long-lost friendship.

Before this, I'm a loyal subscriber of Netflix and YouTube Premium. Flexibility to watch anytime in any device wherever I can is the key to keep entertained. Fun fact, I pre-downloaded shows for me to watch in the car off to work (BC - Before Corona) and in the bedroom while waiting for all of my self-care rituals do the magic. Therefore, no time in my life goes to waste, so are my paid subscriptions. 

How it looks like

Currently, I'm on my second day of its free 7-day trial. From the look, the app almost look like Netflix app, with genre/topic categorizations, your own watch list, etc. The shows can be downloaded as well. 

They also have Live TV panel that consists of HBO group channels you mostly have through cable TV subscriptions, listing down all the shows airing within 3 days from today, hour to hour. But... you don't need to wait for the hour of schedule to start. Awesome? 

The TV List

Let's dig into details.

How to Get It
Now you can subscribe from iTunes or Google Play for IDR 60k or how we say it Rp 60.000 each month. If you have FirstMedia, Indihome and the fellow competitors, you can have the access using your Customer Code, no extra pay. This might mean... I can reduce my billing to FirstMedia, as I don't watch TV anymore and their connection sucks.

This subscription is only for one person. You can access on smartphone device and desktop browser (hbogoasia.id --- if you use the US address, it cannot be accessed) on PC or Mac. I did the test, what if I'm playing on smartphone and Mac laptop at the same time. It was working.

I also did another test: On with smartphone, PC, and Macbook. They're still working!

Well, if you left in the middle of Episode Two of a series or in the minute 30.15 of 2.15.00 length movie, you can go back at the same precise spot you left it. The app will take you back from the very start. Unless, you access from 'Continue Watching' which can be access under 'Watchlist'.

They do have 10-sec rewind and forward, language subtitle, and audio option, too of course. 

Anyway, if you notice, on certain devices, Netflix doesn't allow screenshots or screen records on its app, but on HBO GO, yes, you can!

No Multitasking
In case you're watching on smartphones or tablets and you're also a multitasker or forced to be in some conditions, HBO GO doesn't have a pop-up flying video window to keep watching while you do other stuff with the device. You have to choose, sadly. It seems HBO Go would like you to have a yoga focus---one thing at a time. That's healthy sometimes, though.

Parental Guidance
You can set up PIN for parental guidance. This would be at the beginning of registration, of which you will be asked to determine whether it's 13 years old, 18 or 21 years old that needs... your guidance as parents or adults. If you choose 13 then, every content above 13 will be asked for PIN to press play. That would be a safe option if you share this subscription in an unprotected device from kids. This is more kids-proof I think.

Recommendation by Humans, Not Algorithm
HBO Go keeps it simple for the interface. No weird recommendations based on what you keep watching. They just simply keep categorizations general: Asians, Documentaries, Kids, etc. 

HBO actually launched https://www.humanreco.hbo.com/ which is a recommendation by humans... and I don't really check out that much. Maybe when I'm desperate, then I will check it out.


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