You’ve likely heard of HBO before. It was the hottest movie network available on cable (if you can remember what that is). Today there’s HBO Max. What is it and is it similar to the original HBO?
In an era where most people no longer have cable, HBO Max offers the ‘old school’ feeling of cable with the modern benefits of streaming and binge-watching. It’s not just movies like it was back in the HBO days, today it’s so much more.
But is HBO Max worth the cost? Check out my review below.
What is HBO Max?
HBO Max is a streaming service with a bit of everything. You’ll find some of your favorite ‘old’ shows like Friends, new shows and movies just released, and HBO-exclusive content. It offers the best of all worlds for TV fanatics.
Here’s the real reason most people sign up for HBO Max. In 2021, Warner Brothers will release all movies on HBO Max the same day they go to the theater. This is currently the plan only for 2021, but like everything else lately, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
There’s a catch, though. To get access to same-day released movies, you must subscribe to the premium tier, aka ad-free tier.
How Does HBO Max Work?
HBO Max is a streaming service, much like Netflix and Disney+. What’s different, though, is HBO offers access to network shows that are no longer aired or available on any other networks. The most popular show to hit HBO Max is ‘Friends’ and is a reason many people subscribe to the service after Friends was no longer available on Netflix.
What Platforms is HBO Max On?
You can stream HBO Max on most internet-enabled platforms including:
- Android phones and tablets
- iOS phones and tablets
- Smart TV platforms
- Game consoles including PS 4 or 5, and XBox
Streaming HBO Max
You can watch shows or movies on HBO Max while streaming. You can pause or even stop the show, shutting the device off. When you come back, it will bring you right back to where you left off.
Downloading Movies and Shows
Sometimes you want to watch a show or movie but don’t have internet, like on an airplane. Fortunately, you can download your favorite movies and shows to watch whenever you want, even without an internet connection.
Searching for your Favorite Shows
HBO Max makes it easy to find the perfect show or movie to watch. Whether you have a certain show in mind or you are looking for something new, their layout is attractive and easy to use. You can browse the most popular shows/movies, search by name, category, or even destination pages, such as ‘Sesame Street,’ or ‘DC.’
What Does HBO Max Include?
HBO Max is similar to other streaming services available today, but here’s what sets them apart:
- Thousands of hours of television shows and HBO exclusive content
- Curated kids’ content
- Parental controls
- Access to 2021 movie premiers (premiere package only)
- Up to 5 profiles at a time
- Download your favorite shows/movies to watch offline
HBO Max Content
The HBO Max content is constantly changing, but here are some of the most popular categories:
- Greatest TV shows – Catch shows like ‘Friends,’ ‘The Nanny,’ ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,’ ‘Step by Step,’ and ‘Gossip Girl’ among hundreds of others
- Popular movies – Catch your all-time favorites, newest releases, and much more including Transformers, Jurassic Park, Wedding Crashers, and Pitch Perfect
- Family favorites – Have family time while watching tried-and-true favorites like Sesame Street, Teen Titans Go!, Lego Batman and so much more
What’s the Cost?
HBO Max is a bit pricier than Disney+, but around the same as Netflix. You have two plans to choose from and the option to pay monthly or annually with each plan.
HBO Max With Ads
This is the cheaper version of HBO Max. You’ll see some ads and won’t have access to newly released movies. The plan costs $9.99/month or $99.99 per year, a savings of $19.89 or just about 2 months free.
HBO Max Ad-Free
HBO Max Ad-Free offers access to same-day movie releases and costs $14.99/month or $149.99 per year, a savings of $29.89 or just about 2 months free.
If you choose the month-to-month option, you can cancel at any time, just make sure you do it 1 – 2 days before your next billing cycle.
How HBO Max Compares
HBO Max vs Disney+
The most notable difference between HBO Max and Disney+ besides the name/brand is the price. Disney+ is a mere $7 a month or $70 per year, versus HBO Max which costs $10 – $15 a month.
Disney+ offers a large selection of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and Pixar shows and movies and caters to a specific audience. Kids love it, but so do adults who have always loved these genres.
HBO Max offers a wider selection for adults and sometimes kids if your kids aren’t into Disney or Star Wars. HBO Max also has a large selection of favorite shows from our past that even kids today enjoy.
As far as usefulness and aesthetics, Disney+ and HBO Max both rate high. They are easy to navigate to find specific shows/movies or new suggestions.
Disney+, of course, is the go-to service for all things Disney including movies from the Disney Vault that we haven’t seen in years and sometimes even decades.
HBO Max vs Netflix
Netflix already had a stronghold on the industry when both Disney+ and HBO Max entered the scene. It’s no wonder most people consider HBO Max the fiercest competitor for Netflix.
They both offer a wide selection of curated content, old shows, exclusive content, and new movies, but Netflix has a much larger library than HBO Max. Netflix has over 1,000 TV shows and 4,500 movies and HBO Max has over 1,300 movies and an estimated 50 TV series.
Netflix offers more pricing flexibility with three plans ranging from $8.99 – $14.99 a month. The main difference between plans is the number of streams you can have going at one time. Unlike HBO Max, Netflix doesn’t have any ads on any plan.
What HBO Max has over Netflix is its hold on popular shows and movies, such as Friends and newly released Warner Bros movies that you can’t get on Netflix even after they’ve been in the theater for a few months.
FAQs – HBO Max
Is HBO Max free with Amazon Prime?
HBO Max cut its ties with Amazon Prime, but anyone who had a subscription through Amazon Prime is eligible for a subscription at 50% off the regular price. This applies to new and continuing subscribers who lost their HBO Max subscription when Amazon Prime no longer offered it.
Can you pay annually for HBO Max?
Yes, if you think you’ll keep HBO Max, it makes sense to pay annually. You’ll save money, receiving the equivalent of 2 free months for the year. But, if you aren’t sure if it’s for you (they don’t offer a free trial any longer), choose the month-to-month option so you can cancel when needed.
Is HBO Max bundled with anything?
HBO Max isn’t bundled with any other services, but you get access to a large number of movies and shows including all Warner Bros content, plus HBO Max exclusive movies and shows. Many people subscribe to the service for access to the oldie but goody shows, including Friends, The Nanny, and The Big Bang Theory.
Does HBO Max have a free trial?
HBO Max no longer has a free trial, but there’s a way around it. If you subscribe to Hulu, you can try HBO Max free for one week. After the 7-day trial, you’ll be charged $14.99 a month, so if you find it’s not for you, make sure you cancel before your 7-day trial ends.
Final Thoughts – Is HBO Max Worth it?
With its higher cost, is HBO Max worth it?
The answer really depends on what you watch and how often. If you’re a movie buff and are still avoiding the movie theaters, HBO Max can give you the same thrill of watching new releases without waiting 12 months or longer for it to show up on your television.
Even if you aren’t a movie buff, but enjoy reminiscing with your favorite shows, HBO Max can be the only way to get your fix, but at a cost.
If you don’t subscribe to any other services, HBO Max can be a cheap way to get the shows you want, but if you already subscribe to Disney+ and Netflix, it may be overkill.