HBO Max has arrived. Combining the vast content empire of AT&T’s WarnerMedia — HBO, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, DC Entertainment, TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network, The CW, Crunchyroll, and Adult Swim — into a single streaming service already gives HBO Max one of the broadest streaming catalogs around.
Additional licensed content, including the works of Studio Ghibli, titles from the Criterion Collection, shows from the BBC, and popular series like Friends and The Big Bang Theory, make it one of the most high-profile streaming services yet. And that’s in addition to original shows and movies that will be exclusive to HBO Max.
But HBO Max is also one of the most expensive streaming services around, costing $14.99 per month — vastly more than Netflix, Hulu, or Disney Plus.
Interested in trying it out? Here’s everything you need to know about getting started with HBO Max
HBO Max costs $14.99 a month, making it one of the most expensive streaming services around. That price is the same monthly cost as HBO Now, however — and HBO Max offers all the content that had been available on HBO Now, plus all that WarnerMedia stuff.
There’s also a free seven-day trial for anyone looking to give it a shot before they pay up, along with plans for a cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max set to launch sometime in 2021.
WarnerMedia’s streaming options have grown… complicated, to say the least, with the addition of HBO Max. Here’s how things break down across all the various services:
This is where things start to get a little tricky. Depending on where you get your current HBO or HBO Now subscription — or which AT&T cellphone plan you have — you might already be getting free HBO Max.
For existing HBO customers: If you subscribe to HBO through a cable or internet TV provider, there’s a very good chance that you’ll have access to HBO Max already. Major providers like AT&T TV, Cox, DirecTV, Hulu, Optimum, Spectrum, Verizon Fios, and Comcast Xfinity are all supporting HBO Max — if you already have HBO through one of those providers, you should be able to log in using your usual credentials. A full list of supported providers is available here.
For existing HBO Now customers: If you pay for HBO Now through HBO Now directly or through Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Optimum, Verizon Fios, Consolidated Communications, or Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico, then your account will be converted to an HBO Max account.
AT&T customers: Some of AT&T’s wireless, internet, and TV plans also include free HBO Max, including AT&T’s Unlimited Elite wireless plan and AT&T Fiber’s 1 Gig plan.
If you pay for HBO Now through another provider, though — like, say, Amazon — then you won’t have access to HBO Max, even if you log in on another, non-Amazon device. If that’s the case, you’ll have to wait until WarnerMedia works out a deal with your provider or switch your HBO Now subscription over to a different company (or just subscribe directly through WarnerMedia).
HBO Max includes HBO’s entire content library, including shows like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Succession, and more. But that’s just the start: it’ll also include a huge amount of classic and modern Warner Bros. films, like the Harry Potter series, DC’s superhero movies (including the upcoming Zack Snyder cut of Justice League planned for 2021), and the entire Studio Ghibli catalog (except Grave of the Fireflies for some reason). Major popular TV series, like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, will also be available.
But like all major streaming services, HBO Max will also have exclusive content that won’t be available anywhere else, including Love Life (out now), the forthcoming Adventure Time: Distant Lands (a spinoff from the popular animated series), and An American Pickle. HBO Max also has numerous original shows and movies in production for the future, including a Gossip Girl reboot, Dune: The Sisterhood, a Green Lantern series, Grease: Rydell High, Station Eleven, and more.
Right now, HBO Max is only available in the United States at launch, but WarnerMedia is looking to expand the service internationally — including Latin America and Europe — in the future.
HBO Max is available on Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Samsung smart TV platforms (from 2016 and onward — in fact, the “new” app is actually just an update to the existing HBO Now apps on those platforms). There’s also a desktop web player for streaming on Mac, Windows, and Chromebook devices.
Notably missing from that list: Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku, neither of which can access HBO Max. (Both platforms do offer HBO Now apps, but they haven’t been updated to HBO Max and can’t access the additional content).
HBO Max can be streamed on up to three different devices simultaneously, so you can share an account with friends and family members. The service also allows for multiple user profiles to be created, with options for parentally controlled “Kid” profiles on which parents can set content ratings limits.
HBO Max content can be downloaded locally, but there are a few limitations: users get a total of 30 downloads per account across all devices and user profiles. Unwatched downloads also expire after 30 days or after 48 hours once you’ve started watching it. Users will be able to renew expired downloads, although it’s not clear if there’s a limit as to how often you’ll be able to do so. Additionally, only five copies of a show or movie can be downloaded at once across your various devices.
HBO Max also offers two different download options: “highest quality,” a larger file that will take longer to download, and a “fastest download” option that offers a smaller file that will download faster.
HBO Max can be signed up for in a variety of ways: customers can go to HBO Max’s website and subscribe directly through WarnerMedia or purchase a subscription through a supported TV or internet service (see the full list here).