(Pocket-lint) - HBO Max is one of the newest streaming services. But there's still there's some confusion surrounding which app to use to access HBO content.
When HBO Max launched, HBO already two TV streaming applications: HBO Now and HBO Go. Within a couple of months, however, HBO quietly removed HBO Go from most streaming platforms, and then HBO Now turned into just the HBO app. To help you figure out which is best for you now, we're pitting the HBO Max app against the HBO app. Our quick guide covers how they differ in terms of pricing, supported devices, and content available to watch.
HBO Max: Everything you need to know
HBO Max has been called a "platform" by Warner Media, which owns HBO. But, like the HBO app, it is a "standalone" TV streaming service in the US that doesn't require cable or a satellite subscription. It features 10,000 hours of premium shows and movies, including content from the HBO channel, as well as originals called Max Originals and programming from WarnerMedia's other brands (like the DC Universe and Cartoon Network).
Which movies and shows are on HBO Max?
HBO Max includes all of HBO, original programming (Max Originals), a collection of acquired series and movies, and content from WarnerMedia's brands and libraries including Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, DC, CNN, Turner, Looney Tunes, and more. A few of the big titles include Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Pretty Little Liars, and The Fresh Prince.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Warner Bros is also releasing many of its biggest films for 2021 on HBO Max the same day they premiere in theatres.
How much does HBO Max cost?
HBO Max costs $14.99 a month for the premium, ad-free plan or $9.99 a month for the ad-supported plan. It can be canceled at any time.
After months of teasing, HBO rolled out its ad-supported streaming plan for HBO Max in June 2021. The new tier is $5 cheaper than the regular plan, costing just $10 per month in the US. Keep in mind the whole point of HBO from the get-go was an ad-free content experience, so many have wondered how the network plans to suddenly start incorporating commercials. Executives are promising "an elegant, tasteful ad experience".
Those who subscribe to the cheaper tier will not only get HBO Max's new ads but also fewer premium features. Streaming quality is limited to 1080p, reserving 4K streaming for the regular plan. Also, some titles will not be available for offline viewing, and even same-day movie premieres are limited to subscribers of the regular plan. Ad-supported plan subscribers will be able to watch these titles when their theatrical release windows end.
How to sign up for HBO Max
If you're still looking to subscribe to HBO Max, you can sign up here.
Do you subscribe to the HBO cable channel?
Most HBO cable subscribers should also get access to HBO Max at no additional charge other than their HBO cable subscription. There are over 100 cable and satellite providers that work with HBO Max, including the largest players in the US, such as Spectrum, Xfinity, AT&T, and Direct TV.
Here is a full list of providers that work with HBO Max.
Did you previously subscribe to the HBO Now app?
If you already had an HBO Now subscription, you should've automatically received access to HBO Max by now.
HBO app: Everything you need to know
Originally launched as HBO Now in 2015, HBO rebranded the streaming service to just HBO following the debut of HBO Max. It is what's called a "standalone" TV streaming service - primarily because it does not require an HBO channel subscription through your cable or satellite provider. It offers original content from the HBO channel alongside a selection of movies. It also supports simultaneous streaming and is only available in the US.
Which movies and shows are available?
The HBO app offers the exact same content that HBO Now did. But, again, no cable subscription is required. You get series like Big Little Lies, True Detective, and The Wire, plus docuseries like McMillions, and acquired movies and shows such as The Lego Movie and Apocalypse Now. Most of this stuff is available at the same time it premieres on TV - with the exception of "HBO reality series". There's also no live TV option on the HBO app.
How much does the HBO app cost?
HBO costs $14.99 a month and can easily be canceled at any time.
How to sign up for the HBO app
Most streaming devices, like Roku or Amazon Fire TV, offer HBO Max over the HBO app. If you're still looking to use it, you can sign up here. Select HBO Only.
HBO Max vs HBO: What's the difference?
The main difference between the two streaming apps is that HBO Max provides way more content for you to watch, including MaxOriginals and content from WarnerMedia's other brands. You can also get access to HBO Max with your cable or satellite subscription to HBO - although there are rare instances where that might not be the case. If that happens, then you can still stream all your favourite HBO content using the regular HBO app.
Although there were some slight hiccups in getting HBO Max onto the most popular streaming devices, particularly with Roku, HBO Max is now available on the largest streaming platforms - including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox, Samsung TVs, and more. In fact, most streaming devices, like Roku or Amazon Fire TV, offer the HBO Max app over the HBO app. It's safe to say the HBO app might even be phased out.
For a full list of devices that support HBO Max, go here.
Which is best for you?
Here's your decision tree: Do you want access to HBO content, Max Originals, and WarnerMedia content including same-day theatre releases?
If yes, then HBO Max is the only way to go.
There might be some instances where the HBO app is better for you, however, such as when your streaming device doesn't support HBO Max. Our guess is that the HBO app will eventually come to an end - just like its streaming siblings HBO Now and HBO Go, and then HBO Max will become HBO's sole TV app.