App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
HBO NOW App Poster Image
Clumsy parent settings make streaming app OK for kids.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Getting started is easy, and older kids can search for movies and shows by genre or by entering a title into the search field. Using parental controls is far from seamless.

Violence & Scariness

Depends on the program. Many are rated R and some are NC-17. 

Sexy Stuff

Depends on the program. Many are rated R and some are NC-17. 


Depends on the program. Many are rated R and some are NC-17. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Depends on the program. Many are rated R and some are NC-17. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that HBO NOW is a cable-free streaming service that allows families to watch HBO movies and television shows on various Apple devices and on the Internet. Only a streaming device and high-speed Internet are needed. Options for parental controls are in the profile menu, where users create a PIN to access the controls. Although they provide a safe way for kids to view programs, the controls are a bit frustrating. Only one user profile can be created, and the only way to change the controls is to go through the process of updating the settings for both TV and movie ratings (the passcode must be entered twice). This makes sharing among parents and kids a bit of a challenge.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPaula R. April 3, 2018


My subscription was through itunes, every time I went to login through my Apple TV or ipad, I had to login again as a first time user. Half the time I would get... Continue reading
Parent of a 9, 11, and 13-year-old Written byAaron H. June 17, 2017

Poor Parental Controls

I just started a free trial from my Amazon Fire TV stick and am very disappointed in the parental controls aspect. First the parental controls were not accessib... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

HBO NOW is easy to set up and can stream on iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches, Apple TV, or the Internet. Parents download the app (users must be at least 17 years old), subscribe to the service via Apple ID, create a profile (name, email, and ZIP code) and then begin streaming. The home screen consists of several pages advertising some of the more popular shows, and there's a drop-down menu in the upper-left corner. Here, users can view their Watchlists and listings of programs by genre: Movies, Series, Comedy, Sports, Documentaries, Late Night, and so on. The Settings option also is found in the drop-down menu and includes access to the user profile, parental controls, video playback, the privacy policy, and more. Parent controls consist of a numeric passcode that must be entered each time the settings are changed for TV and movie ratings. Adjusting the settings to allow only G-rated and TV-Y content only removes the Late Night category entirely, so kids will see image tiles for all other content as they browse; they just won't be able to play it.

Is it any good?

With access to over 2,000 popular titles across a variety of genres, HBO NOW is an exciting, affordable alternative to cable TV. Kids can add programs to a Watchlist, and searching for specific shows and movies is easy, especially for older kids. However, the parental controls could be greatly improved. As it stands, a parent can set a numeric passcode and limit the accessible content by rating (G, PG-13, and so on). However, when parents want to watch a show that's TV-MA, they'll have to change the settings, as there's no way to create separate user profiles. Aside from inconvenience, the drawback is in user error; if a parent forgets to change the settings after watching a show for adults, then the next time a kid picks up the device, all the content is up-for-grabs.This is an important consideration since much of the available content is intended for people over the age of 17, including Game of Thrones, Deadwoodand the Late Night content, which is all sex-related. Separate user profiles would go a long way to giving parents peace of mind.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about limits on what, when, and how long they can watch. What shows are appropriate for them, and why?

  • Choose a favorite kid-friendly show or movie to watch together and then talk about the plot. With younger kids, talk about their favorite and least favorite characters.

App details

Themes & Topics

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