After months of waiting, HBO Max is finally here.
The newest streaming service from HBO and WarnerMedia went live earlier this summer. But how does it compare to other streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus? And what happens if I already have HBO? Do I get HBO Max for free?
Let’s answer those questions and more as we dive deep into the newest service to hit the market.
How much does it cost?
HBO Max is currently $15 a month, which is more expensive than Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus. It was announced that AT&T (HBO’s parent company) plans to launch a cheaper version of the service sometime next year, but that version will contain advertisements.
But I already have HBO? What now?
This is where things get…complicated.
So, if you are currently an HBO Now subscriber through any Apple or Google device, your HBO Now app should go through a software update and be replaced with HBO Max. If it doesn’t, visit the HBO Max support page for details.
Now, if you receive HBO through any of the following services, you should be eligible for HBO Max at no extra cost:
- AT&T and DirecTV, U-verse, AT&T TV Now, AT&T TV and some AT&T wireless users can add HBO with certain unlimited plans
- Charter and Spectrum
- YouTube TV and Google
- Altice USA and its Optimum and Suddenlink services
- Version and its FIOS services
- Cox Communications
- The NCTC group that includes WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, RCN, Grande Communications, and others. Check this link to see if your provider is a member of this group.
- Comcast X1 and Flex Customers
Noticeably missing from this list are Dish Network, Amazon Prime Video, and The Roku Channel. There’s no word yet on if or when a deal will be struck. So, unfortunately for now, those customers are left out in the cold.
What devices support HBO Max?
You can stream HBO Max on a variety of phones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. However, two huge devices currently do not support HBO Max: Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
Much like before, this seems to be a dispute between AT&T and Roku and Amazon. Hopefully, a deal gets worked out soon.
Here’s a full list of devices supported:
- Apple devices
- Android devices, Google Chromecast and Chromebooks
- PCs with the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge
- Sony’s Playstation 4
- Microsoft Xbox One
- Select Samsung Smart TVs
So what can I watch on here?
The short answer…a lot.
HBO Max includes all the shows and movies on HBO ( like The Sopranos and Game of Thrones), plus shows like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and South Park.
To be more precise, AT&T owns HBO and WarnerMedia. That means a huge catalog of Warner Bros. movies are available at launch like:
- Most of The Hobbit films, all The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter films
- The Lego movies
- All of the DC Comics movies like Joker, Wonder Woman, and most every Batman and Superman movie made.
- Classic movies like The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and many more
HBO Max also plans on developing a ton of original programming that will drop on a weekly basis. At launch, some of those titles include:
- Love Life – a romantic comedy starring Anna Kendrick.
- Craftopia – a craft series hosted by famous YouTubers
- New Looney Tunes cartoons
- The Not Too Late Show with Elmo
The highly anticipated Friends reunion special was supposed to be available at launch. However, it was postponed due to the pandemic to sometime later this year.
And for comic book fans, it was recently announced that the infamous “Snyder Cut” of Justice League is also set to debut on the service sometime in 2021.
So…is it worth it?
It depends, really.
If you’re a classic movie lover, there isn’t a single service on the market that can compete with HBO Max. Their collection of Turner Classic Movies plus The Criterion Collection makes them unbeatable in terms of classic cinema.
And if you’re an HBO diehard, this is the only way to rewatch classic series like The Wire, The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Game of Thrones.
But the service is lacking in original programming. There isn’t a massive cultural phenomenon like The Mandolarian or Stranger Things to push users to subscribe to the service, although the potential is certainly there for that to happen in the future.
All in all, if you’re someone who consumes a ton of movies and television, then maybe the $15 a month is worth it.
And if you’re one of the lucky ones who can get the new service for free, why not check it out?
To take a look at some of the catalog or to find out more information, visit the HBO Max website.