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HBO Now no longer works on some Apple TV models

Published May 18th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
HBO Now App
Image: Said Marroun/Shutterstock

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  • HBO has removed HBO Now support from the second-gen and third-gen Apple TV models, as previously announced.
  • Users of the old Apple TV models have to either upgrade the hardware or use other streaming devices to access HBO Now.
  • HBO Go will still be available for a period, but HBO plans to remove the app from the older models soon.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

It’s not just you. Everyone who owns a second- or third-generation Apple TV media player can no longer stream HBO Now shows on the device, just as HBO warned more than a month ago. HBO said at the time that it decided to remove both HBO Now and HBO Go from these Apple TV models “in order to best provide the best streaming experience.” While HBO Now is gone, HBO Go will remain active for a few extra months, giving users time to upgrade their streaming setup to make up for the changes.

HBO explained in a support document that users have other streaming options at their disposal for HBO Now, so they’re not forced to upgrade their Apple TV box to a newer generation. If you own an old Apple TV device, you should wait a while longer before getting on the latest model, as word on the street is that a more powerful, 6th-gen device is just around the corner.

HBO explains you can stream HBO Now on another streaming player or console if you’ve got one attached to your entertainment system. The Chromecast is also supported, and it’s the cheapest possible replacement for the 2nd-gen or 3rd-gen Apple TV when it comes to HBO Now functionality. Other workarounds include using AirPlay to stream HBO Now to your Apple TV or using an HDMI cable to connect your phone, tablet, or computer to the TV. The latter is definitely not a great alternative, of course. Some Smart TVs will also let you run the app.

If you pay for HBO through your cable subscription, then you have access to HBO Go for an additional $5, and Go should work on the same devices as Now. HBO Now is the standalone HBO app that cord-cutters would subscribe to. A subscription to either Go or Now gets you the same content.

Things will get more complicated soon, as HBO Max is about to launch. HBO Max is HBO Now on steroids. In addition to all the Now content, you’ll also get plenty of extra content from other WarnerMedia properties. In fact, your HBO Now subscription will be turned into HBO Max as long as you subscribe directly through HBO, Apple, or Google.

With all that in mind, the removal of HBO Now from the older Apple TV models will not necessarily hurt all users, and HBO Go will still work for a while. But some of you will have to make appropriate changes, which may include purchasing an additional streaming device, a new TV, or a brand new Apple TV model.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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