HBO Max: everything you need to know about the streaming service

HBO Max interface Friends
(Image credit: HBO Max)

One of the best streaming services right now is HBO Max, which has established itself as the home of prestige TV as well as a comprehensive movie selection.

HBO Max takes some of the biggest brands under the Warner Media Discovery umbrella and unites their content in one package, available pretty much everywhere you can find HBO. The service includes the legacy HBO content in addition to all kinds of shows from across a number of different brands.

There are constantly new HBO Max shows being added to the service, and plenty of HBO Max original series to check out, making it a unique streaming service.

Here's everything you need to know about the HBO Max streaming service.

HBO Max price — how much does it cost?

HBO Max has two subscription plans:

  • HBO Max ad-free: the ad-free plan costs $14.99 per month (the same as a legacy HBO account); you can sign up for a full year for $149.99. This plan gives you access to any and all content available on HBO Max without ads, as well as all the bells and whistles of the service, including 4K resolution.
  • HBO Max with ads: HBO Max's ad-supported plan is cheaper at $9.99 per month plan ($99.99 for a full year), but there are some key differences to the service. You get the same access to library titles and HBO Max originals but, not only do you have to sit through the commercials, there's also no 4K resolution and no ability to download content to watch offline.

Until the end of August, HBO Max is offering a discount of its year-long subscription fee by 40% for new and returning subscribers.

You can also sign up for HBO Max through other streaming platforms as an add-on channel. This includes YouTube TV and Hulu/Hulu with Live TV.

What's the difference between HBO and HBO Max?

HBO, the legendary cable channel that we know and love is still there, the same as it ever was, offering incredible original content paired alongside the best of Hollywood. 

Now there's also HBO Max the streaming service, existing side by side with its predecessor. What do you get with HBO Max? 

It has everything that's on HBO, plus movies and shows from many of Warner Media Discovery's other brands, such as TBS, TNT, CNN, Adult Swim, classic movies from Turner Classic Movies and even the best kids programming — courtesy of Sesame Street, Cartoon Network, Cartoonito and Looney Tunes.

HBO Max also has its own original series that stream exclusively on the streaming service, dubbed as Max Originals.

Warner Media Discovery has announced it is planning to combine HBO Max and Discovery Plus in the summer of 2023, though few details about the planned merger are available as of now,. 

Milly Alcock in House of the Dragon

Milly Alcock in House of the Dragon (Image credit: HBO)

Can I get HBO Max for free?

Define free. Consumers can no longer try out HBO Max, as there is no free trial currently available for the streaming service, unless there is a special promotional offer. But there are a handful of ways that consumers can get access to HBO Max without technically paying extra for the service, but that's not really getting HBO max for free. Here's what you need to know.

Most notably, if you have a cable subscription that includes HBO, then you automatically have access to HBO Max via that deal, signing into the streaming service with your cable package login information.

Though AT&T has stopped offering HBO Max for free now that it is no longer its parent company, AT&T customers that previously received HBO Max for free as part of their plan still have access to it at no additional charge as long as they keep their plan. Meanwhile, AT&T still plans to offer versions of HBO Max as part of select wireless plans. This includes the ad-supported version of HBO Max with the $60 per month plan of AT&T's Cricket Wireless.

Is HBO Max available in the UK?

Although HBO Max is gradually rolling out across the world, sadly the answer is no —HBO Max is not available in the UK, yet.

Most of the must-see shows that you'll find on HBO Max — from House of the Dragon to Euphoria, Winning Time to Succession — are currently available on Sky TV, which has a licensing deal to air HBO's shows. This likely means that HBO Max won’t launch in the UK (or Germany and Italy) until the Sky deal ends in 2025.

What shows are on HBO Max?

As we said, HBO Max is HBO... and then some. There are new movies and shows every month. We have a monthly guide to what's new on HBO Max, to help you keep track of everything that the streaming service has to offer. 

The streaming service has HBO originals you've come to know and love, like Westworld and Last Week Tonight, as well as classic shows, like Friends

There is also a full slate of HBO Max originals. Here's a sampling of these original series available on the streaming service:

What movies are on HBO Max?

HBO Max gets the benefit of the Warner Bros. library, which means a vast array of cinematic goodness is available to stream from the comfort of your own home. After a short pandemic-induced period of releasing movies straight to streaming, Warner has reimposed its theatrical window, meaning new 2022 movies are going to be released exclusively in movie theaters and it will be at least 45 days before they head to VOD or streaming. 

That said, 45 days isn't long to wait and WarnerMedia Discovery also announced they are producing some movies exclusively for HBO Max. In 2022 already that has included Kimi, Moonshot and The Father of the Bride.

Current movies on HBO Max:

Classic movies on HBO Max:

  • Citizen Kane
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Warrior
  • The Wizard of Oz

How can I watch HBO Max?

HBO Max is available on a variety of devices that allows subscribers to watch on their TV, phone, tablet or computer. Here's a full rundown of what devices support HBO Max:

  • iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with iOS 12.2 or newer
  • Android phones and tablets with Android 5 or newer
  • Amazon Fire tablets (fourth generation or newer)
  • PC running Windows 7 or newer
  • Mac with macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer
  • Google Chromebooks with Chrome browser version 95 or newer
  • A web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari)
  • Amazon Fire TV with Fire OS 5.1 or newer
  • Android TV with Android OS 5 or newer
  • Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD with latest tvOS software
  • Cox Contour 2 and Contour Stream Player
  • LG Smart TV
  • PlayStation 4 & PlayStation 5
  • Samsung Smart TVs (2016 models or newer)
  • Spectrum WorldBox (in select areas)
  • Vizio Smart TVs (2018 models or newer)
  • Xbox One & Xbox Series X|S
  • XClass TV
  • Xfinity X1 & Flex
  • Chromecast
  • AirPlay
  • Roku

I've worked in content strategy, editorial and audience development for leading film and TV companies for over 15 years. Always fascinated by digital trends, I'm currently obsessed with FilmTok. You can also find me extolling the virtues of classic TV shows like Fringe, Smallville and The West Wing, romance movies, Wong Kar Wei's back catalogue and anything that involves Monty Don/Gardener's World.

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