HBO's online and app-based streaming options are surprisingly competent  - they put the likes of DirecTV and Comcast, much larger organizations with ostensibly more resources, to shame. But that doesn't mean that there's no room for improvement. To that end, HBO is now publishing a beta version of, um, NOW, the cable-free standalone app for streaming cordcutters. It's available on the Play Store now via the standardized opt-in interface.

Oddly, there's no corresponding Play Store beta version of HBO GO, which is essentially the same app served up for traditional cable subscription customers. (Both groups get access to HBO's full backlog of original shows and movies in current rotation.) Perhaps HBO's developers are counting on that - NOW probably has a smaller pool of total subscribers at the moment, making it a more manageable subset with which to test new features.

If there actually is a beta version of the app, it doesn't seem to be much different from the standard one at the moment. Both apps have the same update text in the Play Store. Presumably there are some interesting changes coming down the pipe, but we'll have to wait for at least a little while to see any of them. Go to this link to join in the beta program. Obviously if you aren't actually subscribed to HBO NOW, it won't do you much good.