I’m a fan of great TV shows and movies. With my very limited time, I always try to be selective – only top ones (well, based on IMDB – don’t judge) are on my watch-list. While Netflix has some very good content, and they have been adding great homegrown TV series (House of Cards, Daredevil, Stranger Things, Narcos, just to name a few), those have not been enough for me. I want to watch Games of Throne, The Wire, The Sopranos, Silicon Valley etc, but sadly, they are pretty HBO-exclusive. Fine, I decided to suspend my Netflix for a month a resume my HBO Nordics subscription. At least for one month to watch the good content there. Last year I did try HBO one month, for free, but I cancelled it – which I have no clear memory why I did. Right after I tried HBO again, it’s clear to me why I left HBO at the first place – and sadly, there are several reasons for that.
No native apps
I have two TVs, one LG which runs its own OS – which I’m not sure which is, but probably WebOS, and one Panasonic, which runs FirefoxOS. Both have Netflix native apps and they runs smoothly – my Panasonic is even 4K and there have been no problems with Netflix (as long as the network is OK then the streaming is just fine). Guess what? HBO have no apps on both of the OSes. The only option I have is to install an app on my PlayStation 4, and then watch HBO from there (and that’s even new, it was not there last year).
Needless to say, this is not the way I wanted it to be. With Netflix, I just need to turn my TV on and do everything with my remote control – but now I have to use both the remote control and the DualShock. How inconvenient! And that’s not the only bad thing – When I watch with my TV only, it’s completely silent. My PS4 is not. It’s not a noisy little machine, but the fan is audible and that troubles me a little bit. And if you are going to reduce your electric bill – good luck with that. PS4 is almost 80w when it’s running. It’s not that much, but it’s clearly not “nothing”.
And HBO – at least – has native apps on iOS and Android. But guess what – their app on Android for HBO Nordics, is rated 2.5/5.
While an app which is rated 4+ can still be crap, it’s no doubt about that a 2.5 app. It’s a clear sign that the app is not cared in anyways – features are missing, or broken – UX is bad – they simply don’t address users’ problems.
Come on HBO – it’s not that hard to develop your own native apps on popular platform. And then make it at least usable! HBO Go has a decent app – there is no reason HBO Nordics can’t be something like that.
Very, very bad UX
If you think Netflix UI is bad – you should really try HBO. No, seriously.
I found Netflix UI to be usable – it might not be the best UI out there – but it’s easy enough to use with just my remote control. Except for search. Well, everything that need input characters is bad on a remote control.
But let me put this very clear: HBO (Nordics) UI sucks. Sucks very hard, indeed.
Browsing through category sucks.
Every time I open the app – I have to find the show I was watching. And I have to browse between seasons and episodes to find where I left off.
And it gets worse. No autoplay. At all. Which means after I finish an episode, I have to go to the next episode and click play again.
Why HBO? Why do you have to make it so damn hard to enjoy a show. I want went I turned my HBO on (well – it’s already complicated enough), I can continue watching, with a click or so. What’s so difficult about that?
And while the HBO Nordics has many great content – there is no English subtitle at all. Come on. Netflix in Sweden does not have English subtitle on every content, but there still enough sufficient number of content which have.
There has been a trend of “Netflix and chill”. Have you ever heard somebody say “HBO and chill”? I bet not. And it was because of reasons.
HBO Nordics is bad. I subscribed for the content, but I can’t stand the bad UI or the bad decisions with the service. They tried hard to ruin the experience for me. I can no longer sit down on my sofa and enjoy some of great TV shows – I really missed Netflix on that regard. I made sure to cancel my subscription – then watch as much content as I can, before leaving it and go back to Netflix.
Goodbye HBO. You won’t be missed.
After I cancelled my subscription, I can no longer view the content, even my subscription will only end in August 15th. I can still view the titles, but not the content.
This is the worst experience ever. Screw you, HBO: