How-To

What is HBO Max and When Does It Launch?

Created by WarnerMedia Entertainment, HBO Max is a new premium video-on-demand service that launches on May 27th. Here’s what you need to know.

Last fall, it was Apple TV+ and Disney TV+. In the coming weeks, two more premium video-on-demand services launch, each hoping to carve out a piece of what you spend each month for home entertainment. HBO Max launches on May 27, while NBC’s Peacock follows on July 15. Because of its immense library alone, the first of these shows the most promise. Here’s a first look at HBO Max and its content.

Created by WarnerMedia Entertainment, which is part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia, HBO Max combines award-winning content from the long-running premium TV service (HBO) and adds titles from other parts of the WarnerMedia empire as well as third-parties. The result at launch is 10,000 hours of first-run and library content accessible across many platforms for families with young children, to adults of all ages.

Cost

At launch, HBO Max will cost $14.99 per month, although it’s being made available at no additional cost for many HBO subscribers. There’s also a discount available for anyone who subscribes before the launch (see below).

HBO Max Content

Like HBO Go and HBO Now (see below), HBO Max won’t include live feeds of HBO’s linear cable channels. It also won’t include content from HBO’s sister channel, Cinemax. What HBO Max will consist of is original series, documentaries, and specials from HBO plus other content from CW, TBS, TNT, TruTV, CNN, Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim.

It will also include content from Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, DC, the Turner library, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes, and more.

Meanwhile, exclusive content, under the Max Originals banner, will include series, films, and specials. Unlike Netflix, HBO Max series won’t be dropped in a “binge” format. Instead, episodes will be released weekly like they are on more traditional TV channels.

Highlights

At launch, HBO Max will offer every episode of two of the biggest shows in television history, Friends and The Big Bang Theory. The service will also provide 700 episodes of BBC content, the first 11 seasons of the 2015 Doctor Who revival, and every episode of Sesame Street dating back to 1969. The service also includes films from The Criterion Collection.

Original programming launching on HBO Max includes a mix of dramas, comedies, miniseries, animation, documentaries, reality and competition shows, and specials. Original films are also arriving.

Among the noted new series launching on HBO Max:

  • A reboot of the 2007 series, Gossip Girl
  • The Flight Attendant, created and starring actress and producer Kaley Cuoco (The Big Band Theory)
  • Love Life, a comedy starring Anna Kendrick
  • Grease: Rydell High, which is based on the iconic 1978 film by the same name.

What’s the Difference Between HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max?

HBO Go and HBO Now provides similar services, each allowing you to stream your favorite HBO series, plus hit movies, and specials. The former is a streaming service for those who subscribe to HBO through cable or satellite services. HBO Now, by contrast, is a standalone service and does not require a television subscription to use. Both services are accessible across various platforms, including mobile, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and many more.

Think of HBO Max as HBO Go or HBO Now plus the previously mentioned extras.

How to Get HBO Max

Here’s where things get tricky, depending on your current HBO status.

HBO Now Subscribers

If you are an existing HBO Now subscriber and are billed directly through HBO, you’ll receive instant access to HBO Max at no additional cost. By contrast, if you subscribe to HBO Now through Apple or Google Play, you also get immediate access on launch day.

If you paid for HBO Now through an HBO Now gift card through hbonow.com, you will receive access to HBO Max on May 27.

HBO Subscribers

HBO Max is being made available for free to HBO subscribers from AT&T TV, DIRECTV, AT&T U-Verse, Hulu, or Spectrum will get access to HBO Max at launch. WarnerMedia Entertainment plans on adding partners in the coming months. To access the content, you’ll need to log into service using your cable/satellite username/password.

New Subscribers

If you don’t currently have an HBO subscription, you can sign up for HBO Max in various ways. Best of all, you can take advantage of a pre-launch discount if you sign up now.

Between now and May 27, you can sign up for HBO Max through the official website and pay $11.99 per month for 12 months. By doing so, you get an HBO Now subscription immediately.

Once the service launches, the price is $14.99 per month to new subscribers. On May 27, you can also sign up for HBO Max through AT&T, DIRECTV, AT&T U-Verse, Spectrum, Hulu, YouTube TV, Apple, and Google Play.

Where Can I Watch HBO Max?

The new service will be available across multiple devices, including phones, tablets, Mac and PC browsers, streaming media players, and game consoles. Put another way, if you see an HBO Now app on your device, an HBO Max app will surely soon follow.

Who Can Subscribe?

Not surprisingly, HBO Max launches first in the United States with international versions expected to follow in 2021 and beyond. The timing of the global launches will largely depend on how well-contained COVID-19 becomes in the coming months. Most likely, the service will first launch in Latin America and parts of Europe where HBO is already available.

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