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'Can you watch live programming on HBO Go?': Here's what you need to know

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  • You can't watch programming live on HBO Go in the same way as one can with Hulu's or YouTube's live TV packages. 
  • Most of the network's live schedule is available on HBO Go at the release of or within minutes of its broadcast but can take up to 24 hours to appear on or the HBO Go app. 
  • Talk shows, reality, and live events are not available to HBO Go subscribers within minutes of their premieres but typically arrive within 24 hours of the original airing. 
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In the age of cord-cutting, it's increasingly rare to have a traditional cable HBO subscription. Even users of HBO Go, which is only offered HBO viewers who subscribe via a TV provider, will often end up watching shows on their iPhone or Android rather than the TV set.
Streaming services like HBO Go, with a lineup of shows and movies released weekly rather than all at once like Netflix, beg the question: How soon can you watch content in relation to its cable air time?
When it comes to HBO Go, the answer depends on the type of content you're trying to view.
Here's how to watch HBO scripted TV, movies, and reality talk shows within a day of them airing.

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How to watch scripted shows and movies with HBO Go 

HBO has no Live TV options for its HBO Go app. However, the cable network does make "Watchmen," "Big Little Lies," "Euphoria," and a host of other scripted miniseries, shows, and movies available to watch in their entirety on HBO Go within minutes of a live broadcast.
So although it's not a live "stream," you can watch at nearly the same time and pace as those watching on a television. If something is not immediately available, HBO works to ensure it's posted to the HBO Go site and app within 24 hours of its original airing.

How to watch reality shows and movies with HBO Go 

HBO defines its "reality" programming somewhat differently than other networks. While it can constitute weekly shows focused on the lives of real people, the label often incorporates live sporting events and talk shows on the cable network.
HBO shows that are filmed live, like "Real Time with Bill Maher" or "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," required some editing and preparation before being uploaded to HBO Go, so extra time is granted for that.
These broadcasts will be delivered anywhere between a few hours to 24 hours later, depending on the show. "Last Week Tonight," which airs at 11 p.m. ET on the East Coast typically becomes available by 2 a.m. "Real Time with Bill Maher" and "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" can take longer. For a complete listing of expected HBO Go release times, visit

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SEE ALSO: The best 4K TVs to watch your favorite HBO shows with crystal clarity
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