Tag Archives: Streaming

The evolution of music: how the cloud helps reward artists and record labels

From vinyl records to cassette tapes, CDs, MP3 players and streaming services, the way we listen to music has rapidly evolved over the years.

As more and more people turn to the conveniences of streaming music, it’s easy to forget the challenges faced when making sure that artists and labels are fairly compensated.

Everyone talks about digital transformation providing companies with a competitive edge. For music rights organisations, however, adopting a digital culture isn’t a choice. It’s a matter of survival.

This was the situation facing the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA), a music licensing organisation which represents the majority of music publishers and music copyright owners in Canada.

In 2011, the CMRRA along with the rest of the music copyright industry faced drastic changes to its business model. Streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music were dramatically increasing the number of transactions from tens of thousands to hundreds of millions, while the revenue per transaction decreased to small fractions of a cent.

In this new digital-first world, a file containing hundreds of millions of transactions can generate royalty payments of €100,000. In the pre-digital world, for comparison, this would have generated millions of Euros instead.

To help its transformation, CMRRA needed a robust and secure solution which would help with the increased number of transactions in a cost-effective way, while allowing it to continue to distribute royalties to artists and other rights holders. The company began its journey by turning to Spanish Point – a Microsoft Gold Partner in Ireland.

Hitting play on transformation
Spanish Point had already digitised the process for the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), but it wasn’t just a case of dealing with increased transaction volumes, as Spanish Point CEO Donal Cullen explains: “There is also the problem of matching millions of music streaming transactions with poor metadata against a database of millions of songs,” he states.

“Many copyright organisations have failed to cope with this increase in data volumes, meaning the songs and recordings have not been licensed or correctly identified. The license income that should have been paid to songwriters and music publishers has remained with streaming companies. The streaming services and other entertainment platforms do want to pay the artists, it’s just a question of finding a practical way of doing it.”

The solution developed by Spanish Point saw CMRRA move its operations to the cloud, enabling it to successfully cope with these challenges and generate more income for its members. Using Microsoft’s advanced features, Spanish Point provided a more agile and responsive service at a lower cost than a traditional on-premise or hosted provider.

“In the past, if a song was played on a radio station it was broadcast to thousands of listeners,” Cullen explains. “Now you have people using their smartphone in cars to stream music. Services like Spotify and YouTube are sending data to rights organisations on each individual stream. That has increased the volume of data by three or four orders of magnitude.”

“It is not unusual for files to contain 200 million transactions. The rights organisations now must identify each song from quite poor metadata and find the artists to pay royalties to. There is simply no way they could do that without a cloud solution. Even four or five years ago it would have been beyond our reach. It has enabled us to help customers like CMRRA improve their data processing performance by a factor of 40.”

Moving to the cloud solved the problems of scale, flexibility and financial viability. “Before the cloud, organisations would invest in computing power to meet peak demand,” Cullen notes. “That meant the payroll system had to be able to meet very high demand on one or two days each month while it would be barely used for the rest of the time. In the cloud you pay for what you use as you need it. Also, Microsoft’s cloud autoscales to meet the size of files and that’s directly related to how much we and our customers are going to get paid.”

Microsoft Ireland commercial director Aisling Curtis believes the challenge faced by the music rights industry demonstrates the enormous power of digital culture. “This is a great example of digital disruption and how a digital transformation approach can be used to solve issues across an entire industry”, she says.

“It’s not just something for large companies or enterprise-sized organisations to be concerned about. Organisations of every size can adopt a digital culture to innovate and gain competitive advantage. Spanish Point has done a fantastic job for CMRRA using the Microsoft platform and has created a new solution which is applicable to the whole music rights industry.”

Cloud with benefits
As a result of its transformation, CMRRA has dramatically increased its revenue and reduced its members’ annual subscription fees from 10.5 per cent to six per cent. It has also opened up new numerous new opportunities for the company.

“They are now going to licence mechanical works in the US,” says Cullen. “They were restricted to Canada up until now, but they have become a lot cheaper than their US competitors because of the Microsoft cloud solution.”

For the future, Spanish Point is planning to use Microsoft’s AI technology to further enhance its solution. Currently, the company is moving into the US market and is also working with customers in Spain and Turkey with this solution.

“Microsoft has worked closely with Spanish Point on a number of digital transformation projects over the years,” says Aisling Curtis. “Spanish Point is a very innovative firm. It explores new frontiers with Microsoft products and platforms which enables its customers to access new business opportunities and gain competitive advantage. This is a very tangible example of how digital culture and transformation is allowing an Irish company to solve a worldwide issue for customers. It is a defining example of the impact of digital culture.”

Confluent Platform 5.0 aims to mainstream Kafka streaming

The Confluent Platform continues to expand on capabilities useful for Kafka-based data streaming, with additions that are part of a 5.0 release now available from Confluent Inc.

The creation of former LinkedIn data engineers who helped build the Kafka messaging framework, Confluent Platform’s goal is to make real-time big data analytics accessible to a wider community.

Part of that effort takes the form of KSQL, which is meant to bring easier SQL-style queries to analytics on Kafka data. KSQL is a Kafka-savvy SQL query engine and language Confluent created in 2017 to open Kafka streaming data to analytics.

Version 5.0 of the Confluent Platform, commercially released on July 31, seeks to improve disaster recovery with more adept handling of application client failover to enhance IoT abilities with MQTT proxy support, and to reduce the need to use Java for programming streaming analytics with a new GUI for writing KSQL code.

Data dips into mainstream

Confluent Platform 5.0’s support for disaster recovery and other improvements is useful, said Doug Henschen, a principal analyst at Constellation Research. But the bigger value in the release, he said, is in KSQL’s potential for “the mainstreaming of streaming analytics.”

Doug Henschen, Constellation ResearchDoug Henschen

Besides the new GUI, this Confluent release upgrades the KSQL engine with support for user-defined functions, which are essential parts of many existing SQL workloads. Also, the release supports handling nested data in popular Avro and JSON formats.

“With these moves Confluent is meeting developer expectations and delivering sought-after capabilities in the context of next-generation streaming applications,” Henschen said.

That’s important because web, cloud and IoT applications are creating data at a prodigious rate, and companies are looking to analyze that data as part of real-time operations. The programming skills required to do that level of development remain rare, but, as big data ecosystem software like Apache Spark and Kafka find wider use, simpler libraries and interfaces are appearing to link data streaming and analytics more easily.

Kafka, take a log

At its base, Kafka is a log-oriented publish-and-subscribe messaging system created to handle the data created by burgeoning web and cloud activity at social media giant LinkedIn.

The core software has been open sourced as Apache Kafka. Key Kafka messaging framework originators, including Jay Krebs, Neha Narkhede and others, left LinkedIn in 2014 to found Confluent, with the stated intent to build on core Kafka messaging for further enterprise purposes.

Joanna Schloss, Confluent’s director of product marketing, said Confluent Platform’s support for nested data in Avro and JSON will enable greater use of business intelligence (BI) tools in Kafka data streaming. In addition, KSQL now support more complex joins, allowing KSQL applications to enhance data in more varied ways.

Joanna Schloss, director of product marketing at ConfluentJoanna Schloss

She said opening KSQL activity to view via a GUI makes KSQL a full citizen in modern development teams in which programmers, as well as DevOps and operations staff, all take part in data streaming efforts.

“Among developers, DevOps and operations personnel there are persons interested in seeing how Kafka clusters are performing,” she said. Now, with the KSQL GUI, “when something arrives they can use SQL [skills] to watch what happened.” They don’t need to find a Java developer to interrogate the system, she noted.

Making Kafka more accessible for applications

KSQL is among the streaming analytics capabilities of interest to Stephane Maarek, CEO at DataCumulus, a Paris-based firm focused on Java, Scala and Kafka training and consulting.

Stephane Maarek, CEO of DataCumulusStephane Maarek

Maarek said KSQL has potential to encapsulate a lot of programming complexity, and, in turn, to lower the barrier to writing streaming applications. In this, Maarek said, Confluent is helping make Kafka more accessible “to a variety of use cases and data sources.”

Moreover, because the open source community that supports Kafka “is strong, the real-time applications are really easy to create and operate,” Maarek added.

Advances in the replication capabilities in Confluent Platform are “a leap forward for disaster recovery, which has to date been something of a pain point,” he said.

Maarek also said he welcomed recent updates to Confluent Control Center, because they give developers and administrators more insights into the activity of Kafka cluster components, particularly schema registry and application consumption lags — the difference between messaging reads and messaging writes. The updates also reduce the need for administrators to write commands, according to Maarek.

Data streaming field

The data streaming field remains young, and Confluent faces competition from established data analytics players like IBM, Teradata and SAS Institute, Hadoop distribution vendors like Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR, and a variety of specialists such as MemSQL, SQLstream and Striim.

“There’s huge interest in streaming applications and near-real-time analytics, but it’s a green space,” Henschen said. “There are lots of ways to do it and lots of vendor camps — database, messaging-streaming platforms, next-gen data platforms and so on — all vying for a piece of the action.”

However, Kafka often is a common ingredient, Henschen noted. Such ubiquity helps put Confluent in a position “to extend the open source core with broader capabilities in a commercial offering,” he said.

For Sale – i7 4770k Bundle (CPU, RAM and Motherboard)

Selling my streaming computer to fund other things. Not really looking to split right now but may do in the future.

CPU: i7 4770k
RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24
MOBO: ASUS Z87-EXPERT

Unfortunately, I do not have the original boxes for any of these items, but I can verify everything works perfectly.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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For Sale – i7 4770k Bundle (CPU, RAM and Motherboard)

Selling my streaming computer to fund other things. Not really looking to split right now but may do in the future.

CPU: i7 4770k
RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24
MOBO: ASUS Z87-EXPERT

Unfortunately, I do not have the original boxes for any of these items, but I can verify everything works perfectly.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – i7 4770k Bundle (CPU, RAM and Motherboard)

Selling my streaming computer to fund other things. Not really looking to split right now but may do in the future.

CPU: i7 4770k
RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24
MOBO: ASUS Z87-EXPERT

Unfortunately, I do not have the original boxes for any of these items, but I can verify everything works perfectly.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

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  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – i7 4770k Bundle (CPU, RAM and Motherboard)

Selling my streaming computer to fund other things. Not really looking to split right now but may do in the future.

CPU: i7 4770k
RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24
MOBO: ASUS Z87-EXPERT

Unfortunately, I do not have the original boxes for any of these items, but I can verify everything works perfectly.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – i7 4770k Bundle (CPU, RAM and Motherboard)

Selling my streaming computer to fund other things. Not really looking to split right now but may do in the future.

CPU: i7 4770k
RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24
MOBO: ASUS Z87-EXPERT

Unfortunately, I do not have the original boxes for any of these items, but I can verify everything works perfectly.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – i7 4770k Bundle (CPU, RAM and Motherboard)

Selling my streaming computer to fund other things. Not really looking to split right now but may do in the future.

CPU: i7 4770k
RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24
MOBO: ASUS Z87-EXPERT

Unfortunately, I do not have the original boxes for any of these items, but I can verify everything works perfectly.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – i7 4770k Bundle (CPU, RAM and Motherboard)

Selling my streaming computer to fund other things. Not really looking to split right now but may do in the future.

CPU: i7 4770k
RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24
MOBO: ASUS Z87-EXPERT

Unfortunately, I do not have the original boxes for any of these items, but I can verify everything works perfectly.

Price and currency: £200
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: London
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

HBO Now

The most successful on-demand video streaming services focus on building libraries of quality content. To appeal to wide audiences, these catalogs should include both past classics and compelling original programming. HBO Now, HBO’s on-demand streaming service, features premium on-air originals and an extensive on-demand collection of well-regarded shows and movies. Additionally, HBO Now performs well in our testing and offers an ad-free experience. That said, HBO Now is pricier than its competitors and does not offer HDR or 4K content, nor does it let you download shows for offline viewing. Much like HBO for regular cable, HBO Now works best as an add-on to another service. When it comes to standalone options, we recommend Editors’ Choice Netflix for its larger content library, and Editors’ Choices Hulu and Sling TV, for their live TV components.

Similar Products

What to Watch
Most people won’t have any trouble finding something to watch on HBO Now. For example, subscribers can watch HBO originals such as Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Silicon Valley, and Westworld. You can also choose to take a deep dive into other beloved series such as Deadwood, Girls, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, and The Wire.

Those shows alone might be enough to convince many people to subscribe. That said, many of HBO’s flagship shows are also available on other platforms. In fact, Deadwood, Oz, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, and The Wire are all available in their entirety on Amazon Video. HBO does not stream any animated series, let alone anime, which may be an important consideration for some. Both Netflix and Hulu offer options in those genres.
Other categories of content available on HBO Now include Comedy, Sports, Documentaries, Collections, and Late Night. Most of these categories feature scattered lists of productions that subscribers are free to peruse, but these are not the main appeal of the service. If sports are your primary interest, take a look at either fuboTV (a sports, news, and entertainment streaming behemoth) or ESPN+ (ESPN’s newest streaming service, which focuses on a selection of live sports and on-demand in-house shows).

HBO also has a collection of recent mainstream movies as well as popular films of years past across a wide range of genres, including action, comedy, drama, family, horror/sci-fi, Latino, romance, and suspense. During my testing, HBO Now highlighted Atomic Blonde, Dunkirk, the complete Harry Potter collection, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, The Lego Ninjago Movie, Logan, War for the Planet of the Apes, and Wonder Woman, for example. In total, scrolling through the alphabetical list of titles revealed a little over 550 movies, which is impressive. I like that these collections include multiple entries in a film series. For example, HBO Now’s collection included three Die Hard movies, three Back to the Future films, and four entries in the Fast and Furious franchise.
Nowadays, HBO Now is most similar to Netflix in that both primarily focus on high-quality originals. It also has parallels with CBS All Access, given that both have extensive back catalogs of high-quality content. Keep in mind that there’s no live component to HBO Now, such as you find with YouTube TV or Philo. As I mentioned, some shows stream simultaneously with the on-air release, including Westworld and Game of Thrones, but this is not the same as the live TV offerings of services like SlingTV or Hulu with Live TV.
Pricing and Platform
HBO Now is pricier than its competitors, at $14.99 per month. Netflix and Hulu both start at $7.99 per month. CBS All Access’ base plan only costs $5.99. Keep in mind that, for Hulu and CBS, those plans include ads in at least some part of the experience, and HBO Now does not. HBO Now is closer in price to Philo ($16 a month) and SlingTV ($20 per month), but both of those include a live TV component.
HBO Now supports an impressive number of platforms. In addition to the web, HBO Now is available on Android, iOS, and Fire OS devices. You can also use the service on the PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. For smart TV users, HBO works on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, and compatible Samsung TVs. There’s even an app for Google’s Daydream platform. Keep in mind that HBO Now is a US-only (and some US territories) streaming service, so international audiences will need to turn to other solutions, such as getting the regular HBO channel through a local cable provider. You might be able to spoof your location with a virtual private network, or VPN,, but I recommend testing your network setup with HBO Now’s trial before you pay anything, since many video streaming services don’t play nicely with VPNs.

You can sign up for a 30-day free trial of HBO Now, but this option requires a payment method. Oddly, the website directed me to sign up for the trial from my Android device. HBO does not give a hard limit on how many devices can stream simultaneously, but if you exceed a reasonable number of devices, HBO Now might kick everyone off the service for around 30 minutes and then require everyone to sign back in again. In the past, I have experienced some issues when signing on to multiple platforms with the same account, but I did not encounter any such issues in my testing for this review.
What About HBO Go?
To clarify a frequent point of confusion, HBO Now is HBO’s on-demand streaming service and HBO Go is an extension of its cable offering. To use HBO Go, you need to have an existing cable subscription that includes HBO. Both services offer the same content.
Web Interface
HBO Now’s interface on the desktop is clean and elegant with a black backdrop, white text, large thumbnails, and simple menus. Many of the elements are translucent as well, which reminds me a bit of Windows 10’s Fluent visual design. Performance is also quick; I did not experience any lag when searching for shows or navigating through the various sections. Across the top, you can jump directly to Shows, Movies, or More (Comedy, Sports, Documentaries, Collections, Late Night). You can also search for shows directly via the included search interface.
On the right-hand side of the screen, you can access your account settings or your Watchlist. Settings break down into a couple of different categories, including the basic account info, billing, and notification settings, but it also builds in a parental control panel. Here, you can set the maximum rating allowed for both Movies and TV shows and lock down these preferences with a four-digit PIN. I prefer the way Netflix and Hulu allow you to set up separate account profiles for each user, since it would be a pain to unlock and change this setting for every potential user. For example, if you want to watch Westworld, but do not want your child experiencing Delos Inc.’s particular brand of existential violence, there’s no way to set those preferences per viewer with HBO Now.

The default page highlights featured content in a large top-level slider, and a selection of Quick Hits (video snippets related to shows) appears directly below. Horizontal sliders offer another entry point for content categories otherwise accessible via the menu. This page looks a lot like Netflix’s home page, but I do appreciate that HBO Now’s content sliders are directly related to the menus. All of the individual content categories look similar. You can play content directly from any screen or simply add it to your Watchlist. Clicking on a show brings up a brief description, a section for any related video content (such as sneak peaks or interviews), and general information on the cast and crew. HBO Now does not, however, provide any aggregate rating information from Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, nor does it feature any sort of recommendation engine.
The playback interface is simple and effective with the option to enable subtitles. One drawback to the web version of this player is that it requires you to enable Flash, which is disabled by default on most standard browsers, including Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari due to Flash’s frequently targeted security vulnerabilities. Both Netflix and Amazon Video use the HTML5 standard instead. I would also like HBO to implement something similar to Amazon Video’s X-Ray feature, which identifies all actors and actresses in a particular scene, tells you about any music playing, and offers fun facts like continuity errors.
Other Features and Performance
HBO Now does not currently support 4K or HDR content, nor does it allow you to download on-demand episodes for offline viewing. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offer all of these capabilities. Hulu is reportedly adding ad-supported offline viewing to its service, but that feature is not yet live. Neither 4K nor HDR technologies are new at this point, so it’s disappointing that HBO’s ongoing flagship programming does not support these standards. The vast landscapes of Westworld and the industrialized interiors of the Delos Inc. headquarters would look incredible with greater dynamic ranges and sharper textures.
One other difference involves HBO Now’s premier releases (such as Westworld and Game of Thrones), which, as I mentioned, are available for streaming at the same time as on cable. One drawback to this approach (for the consumer) is that you can’t watch entire seasons at a time unless you wait until the season ends. When Netflix or Amazon Prime Video release a season, the whole thing goes live at once.

On the one hand, it’s nice to not feel the pressure to binge an entire season to avoid spoilers, but the downside is that you need to keep subscribing to HBO Now for the entirety of its release schedule. CBS All Access employs a similar strategy with the way it handles the release of Star Trek: Discovery. I don’t foresee either network switching to the content dump strategy any time soon, given their reliance on conventional cable releases. That doesn’t make it any better for the consumers, though.
I tested HBO Now on my PC connected to my home network (200+ Mbps download speeds via Ethernet). During my tests, I streamed episodes of Westworld’s latest season and Six Feet Under, as well as The Fate of the Furious without any lag or performance dips. The one exception to HBO’s lack of ads I saw in my testing was a brief (and skippable) HBO trailer for some of its other programming at the beginning of the stream. For example, the service showed me promos for its new adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.
HBO Now on Mobile
I tested HBO Now on a Nexus 5X running Android 8.1 and didn’t have any issues signing in to the app. The interface maintains the same visual design as its desktop counterpart. Its simple black-and-white visual scheme and large thumbnails look great, but I wish you could resize the thumbnails to fit more content on the page. Hulu’s app has the same problem; the interface is modern and aesthetically pleasing, but it can be a pain to navigate and discover new shows and movies to watch.

I also downloaded HBO Now on an iPhone 8 running iOS 11. The iOS app is visually and functionally identical to its Android counterpart. Despite the prevalence of poor reviews on the App Store, I had no issue signing in or streaming from the app.
The main app page breaks down into two tabs: Featured (the app displays featured show, movies, and collections) and Quick Hits (video featurettes). You can expand the content categories and access settings from the menu in the upper-left corner. I like that almost all of the options from the web are accessible from the mobile app, but am disappointed that I could not manage my subscription from my phone.
I tested the HBO Now app while connected to PCMag’s Wi-Fi network (50 Mbps download). Given that HBO shows tend to be quite long, make sure to connect to Wi-Fi to avoid outrageous cellular data costs. I launched an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and had no trouble playing back the episode or scrubbing to a new point in the show. In testing, the picture looks sharp and audio sounds crisp.
Pure HBO
HBO Now’s main advantage is its excellent original content, including currently airing shows, (such as Westworld and Game of Thrones) and classics (such as The Wire and Six Feet Under). Furthermore, HBO Now has excellent apps, does not run any ads, and supports a wide range of platforms. However, HBO’s on-demand service lacks the 4K, HDR, and offline viewability you get with Netflix and Amazon Video. HBO Now also costs more than similar services, some of which offer entire HBO series on demand. If watching HBO shows (and especially watching them as they are released) is important to you, you will enjoy HBO Now, but note that HBO Now works best in conjunction with another service. For full-featured alternatives to cable, we recommend Editors’ Choice Netflix for its expansive content library and Editors’ Choices Hulu and SlingTV for live TV consumption.