HBO vs Netflix: Sizing Up the Streaming Giants

man watching streaming videos hbo vs netflix

man watching streaming videos hbo vs netflix

Let’s grab a bowl of popcorn and some gum and disseminate this rivalry between HBO and Netflix.

While the bulk of news and live events coverage was left for the conservative television networks, new media that streams videos at any time such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime have entered the boot camp and are savoring their slice of the entertainment mine.

Binge watchers have finally received medication for their woes because of the convenience of watching their favorite series for hours in a row and consecutive days in a week. Is this relationship toxic? Neither Netflix nor HBO has put a disclaimer for this.

The beauty of these video services is also the excuse we get when we want to rewatch an already premiered movie or TV show. “Hey babe, let's watch this series, I have actually never watched it, but I hear it runs for eight seasons and the finale is as toxic as Chernobyl.”

Not everyone can afford to pay for the premiere of their best shows. To address this, video streaming channels have stepped in this shoe and allowed viewers to watch missed shows at relatively affordable rates.

Read the rest of our informational post on HBO vs Netflix, their packages and pricing, reach, originality, pros, and cons and decide which one serves your entertainment needs deservingly. 

What You Need to Know About Netflix

Person watching Netflix while holding a remote

Image via Pixabay

Netflix’s business model has taken a shift from online movie rentals with Blockbusters as its rival from its formative years beginning 1997.

Ever since 2007, it has been offering streaming services and has inspired other video streaming service providers such as Hulu and Amazon Prime to adapt relatively similar business structures. 

Netflix evolution was geared by the advancement of technology in the early 2000s.

This relentless pursue by the service provider to salvage a rewarding opportunity witnessed the operation of both DVD rentals and streaming services. The former rival could not equal this new tech game, and it finally oozed out of the arena.

Netflix receives broad support from a variety of products compatible with the Netflix apps. These include personal phones, Roku, Roku TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 3 and 4, smart TVs and a lot more.

The competitive strength and innovativeness of Netflix are what keeps it ahead of the rest. For example, it opened its channels to original Netflix shows viewing compared to streaming videos from other producers. It has also been stable in releasing award-winning original shows.

What You Need to Know About HBO

HBO started much earlier with Time Warner as its parent company.

However, when the likes of Netflix hit the online streaming video space, the parent company failed to adopt this new technology, reason why HBO still lags behind Netflix in terms of user subscriptions, original programming hours and profits. 

The HBO network launched it's HBO GO and HBO NOW in 2010 and 2014 respectively. The content and features of both packages are the same. The only difference is that the HBO Go requires some cable connection and you won’t be subjected to the monthly charges.

HBO NOW, under a different lens, is a standalone feature and does not require any television subscriptions.

HBO GO users can stream videos that are currently being aired, and those from the past through several app-enabled devices.

HBO vs Netflix: Packages and Pricing

We all love free things, and it seems like both HBO and Netflix are in the loop.

Both offer free trials, but HBO’s free subscription goes for seven days while Netflix gives you 30 days’ worth of zero charges. They have different resolution levels and varying limits on their multiple streams.

Netflix Packages

Netflix has three packages, all with free trials and no live streaming. Their basic package goes for $8.99/m with an SD resolution. We highly doubt the SD resolution can tickle your senses, but you can go for it if unemployed in crashing in your grandma’s basement, and you are only using a single device.

The standard package will cost you $12.99/m, and you get to enjoy an HD resolution with two multiple streams.

The premium package offers you a 4K resolution on your favorite show with the opportunity to streamline using four devices at $15.99/m. Best package for a Kardashian litter.

HBO Packages

HBO packages come in HBO GO and HBO NOW. They both have a resolution of 1080p and have no hard limit on the number of streams. HBO GO goes for $10 to $18 per month while the HBO NOW goes for $14.99/m.

HBO NOW offers a streaming-only service while the HBO GO requires a cable connection.

HBO vs Netflix: Originality

In the HBO vs Netflix wars, Netflix reigns when it comes to releasing original content. This superiority is evident from the number of nominations the giant scooped in the 2018 Emmy Awards.

However, more content does not necessarily translate to the most anticipated or watched content compared to HBO’s Game of Thrones.

However, this originality does not mean that all content released by Netflix is their organic creation. It receives full rights to air certain shows in the US from their original creators hence the tag.

Netflix does this by poaching shows that have been successful in other countries and then assuming the full legal rights of secondary ownership.

HBO plays it safe when it comes to accruing rights to other great shows, and this is why Netflix still stays atop in its revenue levels.

Original Programming Hours

From the Cowen and Company statistics, Netflix garnered a total of 2,393 original programming hours in 2018. It had a slight drop in the first quarter but progressively rose in the last two quarters. HBO lagged at 500 total programming hours.


While the HBO NOW prefers to provide its services at home only, Netflix boasts of a membership of over 70 million in close to 200 countries. HBO prefers to protect its privacy and uphold the legitimacy of its shows and manage content piracy.


Both streaming channels have easy to use interfaces. HBO has segmented its shows according to popular genres. This makes it easy to navigate and select your favorite show.

The Netflix interface is divided into sections of soon to be showcased movies and series, recommendations as per what you binge watch on and an option to download videos for offline viewing.

HBO vs Netflix: Streaming Devices Compatibility

At the onset of its launch. HBO NOW could only be compatible with Apple products such as Mac, Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone.

Currently, it can be viewed from multiple of other platforms such as:

  • Roku
  • Android
  • PlayStation 3 and 4
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Xbox 360
  • Amazon Fire TV

Netflix tends to have more unlimited options. Users enjoy compatibility with products such as:

  • Apple devices
  • PC
  • Android
  • PS3
  • PS4
  • Roku
  • Smart TV
  • Chromecast

HBO vs Netflix: Pros and Cons



  • High resolution levels up to 4K
  • Basic and standard package cheaper than HBO GO
  • Variety of movies and series


  • Repetitive content
  • HD resolution for standard package
  • Expensive for multiple users


  • Best original shows
  • More affordable compared to Netflix Premium
  • No strict limitations on the number of users
  • Costly depending on its package
  • Gives an error when an excessive number of users share the same account

What the Future Holds

Most HBO fans are glued to their favorite online video streaming provider because it boasts of having more adoptions of third-party content compared to its rival.

Netflix is slowly catching up in streaming some of your old likes, but it is conforming upon some pressure from subscribers and not because it’s planning to.

remote with netflix button

Image via Pixabay

However, it may seem like this will finally become a policy for Netflix because it has been slowly trimming its content and maintaining its original shows.

With this, third-party content users are likely to move to HBO once Netflix goes all original. It will be interesting, however, to watch more exciting originals from Netflix.

HBO vs Netflix: Conclusion

When comparing HBO vs Netflix, the latter beats the former when it comes to variety in content. 

HBO scores best in the original shows category with favorite shows such as Game of Thrones, True Detective and Ballers. However, Netflix gets the “iron throne” when it comes to giving controversial and thriller shows such as Black Mirror, Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things.

While you may have to wait a little bit longer to catch the new series or episode of your addictive show on Netflix, HBO offers a slightly different experience. You can stream videos within 24 hours of going live unless the show is being filmed live.

Such a feature was a gift to GOT fans because waiting for a decade had suddenly replaced their patience quality with an impatient tumor. For those who don’t mind waiting for a series to have complete episodes, Netflix is the way to go.

Featured Image via Pixabay

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