HBO Now Data Usage

Now you know that HBO Now costs $14.99/month, but there are some additional costs involving data usage that you may need to consider.  Even your one-month free trial might not end up being free when you factor in these costs!  In this tutorial, we'll explain how much data HBO Now uses, and teach you how to prevent your internet bill from becoming unaffordable just so you can watch your favorite shows!

How Much Data Does HBO Now Use?

HBO Now uses approximately 1 GB of data per hour streamed. HBO Now does not mention this on their website, but this is the general approximation for all streaming services. However, you can guarantee that if you sign up for this new service, you will be using far more data than you were before.

How to Limit Your HBO Now Cellular Data Usage

There is currently no way to limit playback quality for HBO Now in your web browser.  So when watching HBO Now at home on your computer, you will have to accept the amount of Internet data that HBO Now will use to download and stream your shows and movies. However, if you are using a mobile device to watch HBO Now, there are some things that you can do to try to save yourself a huge data bill.

1. Use WiFi Only

To prevent your device from using data so that you only stream HBO Now with a Wi-Fi connection, you can change your settings in the HBO Now app. Click the menu, select Settings, and then select Video Playback. From there, click the first blue toggle to enable the Wi-Fi only setting. Now your device will never use data to stream. You can change this back at any time, through the same process.

2. Cellular Playback Warning

Your second option through HBO Now is to enable the Cellular Playback Warning, which will warn you that streaming HBO Now with a data connection uses a large amount.  Hopefully, this will make you think twice about whether or not you really need to watch that HBO show on your phone right now. Using the same path as before, click menu, Settings, and Video Playback. This time, however, click the second blue toggle to enable the Cellular Playback Warning. You will now be warned about your data usage.

Click the blue toggles to enable Wi-Fi only use of HBO Now or the Cellular Playback Warning

3. Keep track of what you use!

Be proactive about monitoring your data usage. Make sure that, before you sign up for HBO Now, you are aware of how much data you use.  Also, make a note of how many shows and movies you watch using HBO Now, using the 1 GB-per-hour rule.  Remember that this may not be exact, as all shows stream at slightly different rates.

You can also use your mobile device to check how much data you have used, and how much you have left in your billing period. Depending on your provider, this may differ, but this can generally be found in your phone’s Settings, under Data or Data Usage. Note that these data trackers usually begin tracking on the day that you activate your mobile phone, so they are not necessarily in line with your billing period.


One of the most common mistakes made when a user signs up for a streaming service is that they do not proactively research how much data they are currently using. As a result, they go way over their allotted amount for the month.

If you don’t have unlimited Internet or data, you should check with your Internet service provider to see if you may need to upgrade your plan, or what the costs will be if you go over your monthly data limit. Many providers now allow you to monitor your data usage, and will send you a warning when you get close to going over your monthly limit.

If you think you have the data under control, check out our next tutorial: a review of HBO Now to determine if this streaming service will meet your needs.