Why does HBO Go Suck?

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Why does the HBO Go player suck so bad?

I subscribed to HBO Go this month to watch the final season of Game of Thrones. 

It was my very first time using the HBO Go player, and boy was it bad.

  • Buffering issues.
  • A bug which prevented me from pressing pause while on full screen mode.
  • Needing to constantly clear the cache so as not to get stuck in perma-loading mode.
  • And the list goes on.  

Did you know: Netflix takes up 15% of the world’s Internet

Experiencing HBO Go made me realise how awesome the Netflix player is. It just works. And that’s a lot harder to do than you think. Part of the difference is that HBO still uses Amazon’s AWS for their streaming, while Netflix moved all streaming parts of its service to its proprietary content delivery network(CDN) called Open Connect. And it shows.

Netflix still uses Amazon for things like opening the player and searching for titles. But the moment you stream anything, you’re streaming on Netflix’s servers. The amount of infrastructure and architecture involved to make this happen is no mean feat. This is why Netflix shows stream so damn smoothly. Sometimes when I have spotty Internet, my Netflix show is still streaming at high quality while a regular website struggles to load in an adjacent tab.

In comparison, HBO Go limps along even in my first world, high speed Internet. 

Ultimately it comes down to whether it makes financial sense to take on the mammoth task of building your own content delivery network (CDN). For Netflix, it does. The company consumes 15% of the world’s Internet traffic. In comparison, HBO Go is probably a blip on the radar. A bigger blip during Game of Thrones season. But a blip nonetheless. 

I did a quick search, because surely I wasn’t alone in my dissatisfaction with HBO Go. And sure enough, the words “Why is HBO Go” brings up the suggestion “Why is HBO Go so bad” on Google. Here’s some stuff I found on:
1. Reddit
2. The Verge
3. Vox
4. Facebook (this is my personal favourite. A post on HBO’s wall in 2013 that’s gotten periodically resurrected, because it hasn’t stopped sucking. The latest comment was added just a month ago.)

I plan on unsubscribing to HBO Go after this month. But till then, I’ll be busy binge watching Westworld and Handmaid’s Tale. 

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Mindless phone usage will one day be a faux pas the way smoking indoors now is

Remember when smoking in airplanes, nightclubs and restaurants was allowed? Yeah, I barely remember that too. Yet it was only a decade or so ago. David Cain, who writes the blog Raptitude, imagines a not-so-distant future when mindless phone usage will be seen as inconsiderate. It all starts with his experience at a Jack White concert. I love how social attitudes constantly shift and adapt as we learn how to be better humans.
[link to article 📝]

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