My love/hate relationship with HBO Now.

A couple of months ago, I discovered the HBO Now streaming service.  I don’t subscribe to cable TV, most of my television comes from streaming service such as Netflix, and I visit the Redbox for new releases.  I decided to give the HBO Now streaming service a try, as there was a TV series I wanted to watch (i can’t remember which one it was). So i signed up, and then realized I couldn’t stream it on any of my devices (I don’t have an Apple TV).  So I was a little bummed, but a few weeks later, they announced support for Chromecast, and all was good.  I’ve found a ton of really cool shows and movies that I’ve never seen – so I can’t complain thus far about content.

So here’s my gripe.

I’ve been using my iPhone primarily to launch streaming videos to the Chromecast, and holy cow – the user interface on this thing sucks!   The streaming quality is fantastic, so no complaints there, but the user interface is so horrible, i cant even stand to use it.  First off, there’s no good way for me to simply press ‘next’ on one or more TV series that I may be watching – I’m constantly having to go up to the search dialog, find the show (again), choose the season (again), and find an episode (again).  This could be done much more seamlessly.  Second, the Chromecast support is really half baked thus far.  If i start playing a video on my iPhone , and I’m in landscape mode, there’s a button (or what seems to want to be a button, and practically screams ‘click me) to stream to the Chromecast… but that button doesn’t seem to actually do anything.  If I stop playback, take the phone into portrait mode and use THAT Chromecast button, that works.  WTF?

This is pretty trivial stuff guys, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to design a usable UI (Netflix mastered it, and it puts what you’ve done to shame).  Scrap this thing, go back to the drawing board, and try again.  As good as your content may be, another month or two of having to deal with this unusable UI, and I’m cancelling my subscription.  You’re HBO for crying out loud, not some no-name tech start-up streaming media online; act like it.