HBO Max is here, combining the vast content empires of AT&T WarnerMedia — HBO, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, DC Entertainment, TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network, The CW, Crunchyroll, and Adult Swim — into one streaming service already.
Additional licensed content, including Studio Ghibli’s work, titles from the Criterion Collection, shows from the BBC, and popular series such as Friends and The Big Bang Theory, make it one of the most popular streaming services. And that’s in addition to original shows and films exclusive to the streaming platform.
But HBO Max is also one of the most expensive streaming services, costing $14.99 per month — for more than Netflix, Hulu, or Disney Plus.
Interested in trying it? Here’s everything you need to know about getting started with HBO Max.
How Much Does HBO Max Cost?
HBO Max costs $14.99 a month, making it one of the most expensive streaming services. That’s the same price as HBO Now’s monthly fee — and HBO Max offers all the content that’s already available on HBO Now, plus all that WarnerMedia stuff.
There’s also a free seven-day trial for anyone who wants to try it out before paying, along with plans for a cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max due out sometime in 2021.
What’s The Difference Between HBO Max And HBO / GO / NOW?
WarnerMedia’s streaming options have grown complicated, at least, with the addition of HBO Max. Here’s how it’s categorized across the various services:
- HBO: the premium, paid cable TV channel. Purchased through your TV provider as an add-on to your existing TV package, costs vary by subscriber.
- HBO Go: the online streaming app and website that lets you access HBO content if you pay for the HBO channel. Included free with HBO (the cable TV channel).
- HBO Now: the standalone streaming service that costs $14.99 per month that lets people who don’t pay for cable get access to HBO. Offers the same content that HBO Go does, although they’re different apps across all platforms. In theory, HBO Now should be obsolete with the introduction of HBO Max, although that’s not quite the case yet.
- HBO Max: The new WarnerMedia service that combines the existing HBO Go / Now library — all of HBO — with additional content, including Warner Bros. blockbusters, popular TV shows like Friends, Cartoon Network shows, classic films, Studio Ghibli titles, and new, exclusive originals.
Will I Get HBO Max For Free If I Have Paid For HBO OR HBO NOW?
This where things start to get a little tricky. Depending on where you got your current subscription to HBO or HBO Now — or what AT&T phone plan you have — you may already have free HBO Max.
For existing HBO customers: If you subscribe to HBO through a cable or internet TV provider, there’s a very good chance that you’ll have access to HBO Max already. Major providers like AT&T TV, Cox, DirecTV, Hulu, Optimum, Spectrum, Verizon Fios, and Comcast Xfinity are all supporting the streaming platform — if you already have HBO through one of those providers, you should be able to log in using your usual credentials. A full list of supported providers is available here.
For existing HBO Now customers: If you pay for HBO Now through HBO Now directly or through Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Optimum, Verizon Fios, Consolidated Communications, or Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico, then your account will be converted to an HBO Max account.
AT&T customers: Some of AT&T’s wireless, internet, and TV plans also include free HBO Max, including AT&T’s Unlimited Elite wireless plan and AT&T Fiber’s 1 Gig plan.
If you pay for HBO Now through another provider, though — like, say, Amazon — then you won’t have access to HBO Max, even if you log in on another, non-Amazon device. If that’s the case, you’ll have to wait until WarnerMedia deals with your provider or switch your HBO Now subscription over to a different company (or just subscribe directly through WarnerMedia).
What Can I Watch?
HBO Max includes HBO’s entire content library, including shows like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Succession, and more. But that’s just the start: it’ll also include a huge amount of classic and modern Warner Bros. films, like the Harry Potter series, DC’s superhero movies (including the upcoming Zack Snyder cut of Justice League planned for 2021), and the entire Studio Ghibli catalog (except Grave of the Fireflies for some reason). Major popular TV series, like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, will also be available.
But like all major streaming services, HBO Max will also have exclusive content that won’t be available anywhere else, including Love Life (out now), the forthcoming Adventure Time: Distant Lands (a spinoff from the popular animated series), and An American Pickle. The streaming platform also has numerous original shows and movies in production for the future, including a Gossip Girl reboot, Dune: The Sisterhood, a Green Lantern series, Grease: Rydell High, Station Eleven, and more.
Where is Available?
Right now, HBO Max is only available in the United States at launch, but WarnerMedia is looking to expand the service internationally — including Latin America and Europe — in the future.
What Devices Can I Watch On?
HBO Max is available on Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Samsung smart TV platforms (from 2016 and onward — in fact, the “new” app is actually just an update to the existing HBO Now apps on those platforms). There’s also a desktop web player for streaming on Mac, Windows, and Chromebook devices.
Notably missing from that list: Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku, neither of which can access HBO Max. (Both platforms do offer HBO Now apps, but they haven’t been updated to the streaming platform and can’t access the additional content).
Can I Share an Account With Friends and Family?
HBO Max can be streamed on up to three different devices simultaneously, so you can share an account with friends and family members. The service also allows for multiple user profiles to be created, with options for parentally controlled “Kid” profiles on which parents can set content ratings limits.
Can I Watch Shows Offline?
HBO Max content can be downloaded locally, but there are a few limitations: users get a total of 30 downloads per account across all devices and user profiles. Unwatched downloads also expire after 30 days or after 48 hours once you’ve started watching it. Users will be able to renew expired downloads, although it’s not clear if there’s a limit as to how often you’ll be able to do so. Additionally, only five copies of a show or movie can be downloaded at once across your various devices.
HBO Max also offers two different download options: “highest quality,” a larger file that will take longer to download, and a “fastest download” option that offers a smaller file that will download faster.