Logo descriptions by James Fabiano, Matt Williams, and Mr.Logo Logo captures by wisp2007, V of Doom, and Logophile Editions by V of Doom and Nathan B.
1st Logo (1987-1988)
Logo: On a blue background, we see the HBO logo, and the word "VIDEO", in thin lettering, below. Two lines are seen above and below the logo.
Variants: Some previews has the screen "COMING SOON FROM" and the logo below on a black background right before the trailer plays. At the end of the ad for Sports Illustrated: Get the Feeling: Power!, the logo is seen on a black background with "DISTRIBUTED BY" above it. It also appears in a purple 3D logo.
Availability: This was a "placeholder" logo, used when the "master" logo is not in use, but again, distributed Tri-Star, Thames, Hemdale, and Orion as well as HBO products, although Orion would shortly launch its own video label. Examples include Three Amigos (where this has been known to appear on prints made as late as 1999), Hoosiers, Amazing Grace and Chuck, Making Mr. Right, and some reissues of Thorn-EMI/HBO/Cannon releases.
2nd Logo (1988-1993)
Nickname: "The Spheres"
Logo: On a black background, we see tons of red spheres, packed tightly together. As we zoom out, the spheres form into a gold HBO logo, with a blue "VIDEO"(in that same font described above) below. When they move into place, purple bars move to their positions above and below the logo. When the logo is formed, a spotlight appears below the logo.
FX/SFX: The spheres zooming out, the purple bars moving, all of which are excellently-animated for the time.
Music/Sounds: A warbly, bass-filled synth tune loosely based off the music in the "HBO Movie" intro used at the time.
Availability: Rare. It's seen on video releases of Thames, Tri-Star Pictures, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, Kings Road, Hemdale Film Corporation, Miramax, Weintraub Entertainment, PolyGram (Parlophone Communications), and Samuel Goldwyn material, but towards the end of its run, began to concentrate mainly on HBO-produced materials, among them are Time-Life titles previously released by Vestron Video. Among the tapes where this appears are Platoon, Shoot To Kill, No Way Out, and reprints of Can't Stop the Music, S.O.S. Titanic, First Blood, The Terminator, Highlander, and Raw Deal, among other new releases and re-releases (some of which may still use the Thorn EMI or other original logo on the packaging and/or labels) of the era.
Editor's Note: A rather cool logo using the best of what CGI had to offer at the time.
3rd Logo (1993-2003)
Nickname: "Red Curtain"
Logo: Against a shimmering red curtain, we see the words:
F E A T U R E PRESENTATION
in silver with spotlights shining across it. Then, a teal-colored ball with a white director's slate/clapperboard printed on it comes in from the left side of the screen, flying toward the "O" in "PRESENTATION". The camera pans toward the ball as it bounces on the right side of the "O" and passes through it. It then flies off to the bottom left of the screen, revealing a silver HBO logo. It zooms slowly toward the camera as "HOME VIDEO" in white fades in below.
HBO Savoy Variant: See HBO Savoy Video.
FX/SFX: The spotlights and ball.
Music/Sounds: A dramatic synthesized horn/string fanfare.
Availability: Seen on HBO VHS releases of the period. HBO DVDs used their own logo (see below), although some early HBO DVDs, such as A Bronx Tale and Circle of Friends, have either this logo or the HBO Savoy Video logo intact.
4th Logo (1998-2003)
Nickname: "HBO DVD in Space"
Logo: We see a DVD disc zooming out against a black background with purple rays, and releasing many white particles around it. The disc zooms away as the particles turn the background into a starfield, and then the word "HBO" zooms in, along with the words "HOME VIDEO", in blue. A few seconds later, "HOME VIDEO" changes to "DVD", in yellow. The finished product zooms out a little bit and then disappears in a flash.
FX/SFX: The zooming of the disc, the words and particles...
Cheesy Factor: ...which are all incredibly cheap, and the plastering of the words is ugly.
Music/Sounds: A shortened version of the previous logo's fanfare.
Availability: Seen on early HBO DVD releases, such as 69*, Gia, Three Amigos, Flashpoint, The Hitcher, No Escape, Lightning Jack, Serial Mom, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, The Grifters, Tales from the Hood, My Left Foot, Last of the Dogmen, The Changeling, Shadowlands, and Good Guys Wear Black, among others.
5th Logo (2003-2010)
Logo: Against a white background, we see a distant shot of a man from below walking in. As the camera pans backward, the man appears to pull out a remote and press a button. Then, an array of gray clouds and wavy gray lines shoot out towards the screen, revealing a gray, 2D HBO Video print logo (as seen in the 1st logo). A lens flare shines on the logo, which dies down as the camera pans upward. The logo slowly zooms in.
FX/SFX: The clouds and lines revealing the logo.
Music/Sounds: Walking sounds, a zapping sound when the man presses the remote button, followed shortly by a calm piano/synth fanfare.
Availability: Seen on many DVD releases by HBO from the period.
6th Logo (2003-2006)
Nicknames: "The Purple Glow", "HBO's Special VHS Logo"
Logo: On a black background, the camera rotates around a 3-dimensional purple HBO logo. Then, we zoom out as the word "VIDEO" flips upward and the two lines and the registered trademark symbol appear. The logo sends off a purple glow, which then dies down, and then we fade to black.
FX/SFX: The camera rotations, the glow, and all. Pure CGI.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 1st logo; none.
Availability: Extremely rare. This is the VHS counterpart of the previous logo. Seen on many VHS releases by HBO from the period, such as the 2004 VHS of Undefeated and the 2004 I Spy VHS tapes, A Thing That Flings and Other Stories and A Rockin' Bronco and Other Stories.
7th Logo (2010-)
Logo: On a black background, a pattern of circles fades in, and turns counter clockwise, and goes to the other side of the pattern of circles. Then we see the HBO logo (the "O" is in the middle of pattern of circles). The logo zooms out, then the pattern of circles disappears turns into a light blue background, and the HBO logo turns blue. the word "HOME ENTERTAINMENT" (two lines are seen above and below "HOME ENTERTAINMENT") also in blue fades in. The logo slowly zooms out.
FX/SFX: Pattern of circles moving, and the backgrounds and words fading in.
Music/Sounds: An ethereal synth tune.
Availability: Current; seen on newer HBO releases.