HBO Max is live: here's everything you need to know
AT&T's loaded new streaming service packs HBO and a whole lot more
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Whether you believe this is a golden age of television or not, we’ve certainly never had such easy and instant access to entertainment. A seemingly limitless world of movies and TV shows can be browsed and binged from the comfort of our living rooms. Pioneers like Netflix have forever changed the way we watch TV, but the war of the streaming services is only just beginning to heat up, as heavyweights like Disney+ step into the fray. HBO Max is up next.
HBO hosts one of the richest and most critically acclaimed video libraries in existence, and it's been punching below weight in its online offerings. A new streaming service, dubbed HBO Max, aims to make it a contender by adding a ton of new titles from across AT&T’s media empire, which includes studios like Warner Bros, DC, and many others. We've gathered all the details you need to know about HBO Max.
What is HBO Max?
HBO Max is an on-demand subscription streaming service that will combine content from HBO and WarnerMedia, backed by parent company AT&T. The service arrived May 27th. HBO Max offers more than 10,000 hours of content at launch, with a mixture of existing hit shows and movies and brand-new, exclusive originals.
HBO Max is designed to compete with other on-demand streaming services that offer massive content catalogs, such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.
HBO Max offers a much larger library of content than existing services, HBO Go or HBO Now, because it provides access to movies and TV shows from other entertainment companies under WarnerMedia, which includes the DC Universe, Cartoon Network, CNN, and lots more. To further bolster those offerings, AT&T has licensed various hit shows and movies, from Friends to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
How much does HBO Max cost?
HBO Max costs $14.99 per month, including a seven-day free trial. That price will get you access to everything.
If you’re already paying $14.99 for HBO or HBO Now, then this much larger content library will be an easy sell. However, the pricing is on the high side when you consider that Disney Plus costs $6.99 per month, and the standard plan on Netflix is $12.99 per month.
As an incentive to add more subscribers, AT&T is offering some customers HBO Max for free or at a discount in concert with their AT&T video, internet, or wireless service.
At time of publication, AT&T customers eligible for a discount include video subscribers to DirecTV Premier and Lo Maximo; U-Verse U400, U450, and U450 Latino; AT&T TV Choice, Xtra, or Ultimate; DirecTV Choice, Xtra, Ultimate, among others. Other subscribers of AT&T video packages may be eligible for 3 months of HBO Max for free.
Subscribers to AT&T's Internet 1000 plan are also eligible for a free HBO Max subscription, while other AT&T internet users may be eligible for one month free.
Finally, AT&T wireless subscribers may be eligible for free or discounted HBO Max plans. The service will be included with AT&T's Unlimited Elite wireless plan, while subscribers to other AT&T plans, including Unlimited Extra, may be eligible for one month free.
We recommend checking out AT&T's HBO Max info page to find out if you qualify for HBO Max for free or at a discount.
While that's plenty to chew on, just how you get HBO Max is even more complicated—especially if you already subscribe to some form of HBO.
How do I get HBO Max?
AT&T, the owner of HBO and the new streaming service, is notorious for its complicated streaming layout. And because there are so many ways to subscribe to HBO (whether directly or through a third party), HBO Max is more confusing than most.
If you're a new subscriber, you can sign-up via this link or by simply going to hbomax.com. You can also sign-up for the service via one of the included providers below, such as Google Play, Apple, and others. You can then download the app on your favorite compatible device (listed at the bottom of our guide).
HBO Now subscribers
If you currently subscribe to HBO Now, your account may have automatically switched to HBO Max. But, according to HBO, this will depend upon how you signed up for HBO Now.
If you signed up and are billed through Google Play, Apple, Samsung, Verizon Fios internet, Optimum, Consolidated Communications, and Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico, your HBO Now account should automatically switch over to HBO Max.
HBO says that subscribers who started a subscription from HBO directly or those who signed up through hbonow.com using an HBO Now gift card will also get instant access.
Otherwise, if you signed up through a different third-party, you may need to change your account manually by following HBO's signup steps outlined in this link. (Note: You'll need to know the email you used when originally signing up for HBO Now.)
Subscribers to HBO or HBO Go
If you subscribe to HBO through other methods, you may or may not be able to transfer your account to HBO Max.
Those who signed up for HBO through Hulu or from the following pay-TV companies will automatically be switched to HBO Max: AT&T TV, DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, Spectrum, Altice, Suddenlink, Optimum, Cox Contour, Verizon Fios TV, and "select independent cable and broadband providers." Comcast is not currently among the providers eligible for HBO Max. Otherwise, if you don't see your cable provider on this list, you may want to reach out to your provider directly.
What TV shows will be on HBO Max?
Original and exclusive content will be vital to HBO Max’s success, and to that end it plans to have over 30 exclusive original shows (Max Originals) in the first year, ramping up to 50 in the second year. It will also feature all existing HBO shows, those in development, and new seasons of some existing HBO shows.
Here are some of the TV show highlights in development that we’ve heard about:
- Raised by Wolves – A sci-fi show by Ridley Scott about androids raising human children.
- J.J. Abrams deal – Abrams has signed a deal to helm some unknown projects for HBO Max.
- Dune: The Sisterhood – A spin-off of the hotly anticipated upcoming movie, with a pilot directed by Denis Villeneuve.
- Tokyo Vice – A memoir about an American reporter on the Police beat in Japan, directed by Michael Mann.
- Green Lantern – Live-action series from Arrow producer, Greg Berlanti.
- More DC shows – Strange Adventures, Aquaman: King of Atlantis, DC Superhero High, DMZ, and Doom Patrol.
- Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai – A new animated series based on the movies.
- College Girls – A half-hour teen comedy series from Mindy Kaling.
- Rap Sh*t – A half-hour comedy series covering the music business in Miami from Issa Rae.
- The Last of the Mohicans – A new series based on James Fenimore Cooper's historic novel.
- Station Eleven – A 10-episode series based on the post-apocalyptic saga by Emily St. John Mandel.
- Grease: Rydell High – A spin-off series based on the popular 1978 musical.
- Made for Love – A dark comedy based on the novel of the same name starring Cristin Milioti.
- The Flight Attendant – Based on the novel and created by actress Kaley Cuoco.
- Circe – Based on the Madeline Miller novel about the sorceress from The Odyssey.
- Love Life – A romantic comedy starring Anna Kendrick.
- Generation – A half-hour high school drama/comedy produced by Lena Dunham.
- Search Party – Season three and four of this neo-noir black comedy are confirmed.
- Gossip Girl – A ten-episode reboot featuring a new generation, but narrated by Kristin Bell.
- More Happy Than Not – Based on Adam Silvera's bestselling YA novel.
- Legendary – Unscripted voguing series hosted by Jameela Jamil.
- The Greatest Space – Unscripted design-competition show.
- The Gilded Age – Series set in 1885 New York from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.
- House of the Dragon – A prequel to Game of Thrones centered on House Targaryen.
- I Know This Much Is True – Drama about twins starring Mark Ruffalo and John Lithgow.
- Looney Tunes Cartoons – A new cartoon series featuring the classic characters.
- Mare of Easttown – Kate Winslet plays a detective investigating a murder in Pennsylvania.
- The Nevers – A new sci-fi show from Joss Whedon.
- Perry Mason – A fresh spin on the classic legal drama show.
- The Undoing – Limited series with Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, and Donald Sutherland.
- Lovecraft Country – A horror series based on the Matt Ruff novel.
- The Plot Against America – An alternate history based on the Philip Roth novel starring Winona Ryder and John Turturro.
Also confirmed are new seasons of Succession, The Righteous Gemstones, Barry, Pretty Little Liars, The New Pope, and others.
HBO Max naturally offers every show currently on HBO and in its back catalog. That means shows like Westworld, The Sopranos, The Outsider, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Watchmen, Sesame Street, and The Wire.
Cartoon fans will be well served with classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons like The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Popeye and The Jetsons appearing on HBO Max. The full library of classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons are also available at launch.
And, to sweeten the deal further, popular shows like Friends, Rick & Morty, The OC, The Big Bang Theory, South Park, Doctor Who, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The West Wing have been licensed for the new service.
What movies will be on HBO Max?
There are plans for between five and 10 original movies on HBO Max each year. Here are a few we know about so far:
- Super Intelligence – A comedy starring Melissa McCarthy.
- Let Them All Talk – Starring Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest, and Candice Bergen and directed by Steven Soderbergh.
- Bobbie Sue – Starring Gina Rodriguez as a young lawyer grappling with a big case.
- Bad Education – Dark comedy set in a school with Hugh Jackman, Ray Romano, and Allison Janey.
- Unpregnant – Based on the YA novel about two teenage girls on a road trip to Mexico.
HBO Max subscribers will also get access to all of HBO’s documentaries and original films, as well as documentaries from CNN. Movie fans will have plenty of other options to get excited about, too: HBO Max will have The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films, the Lego movies, the Matrix trilogy, all the MonsterVerse movies (including Godzilla and King Kong), DC films including Joker and every Batman and Superman movie, and classics like Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Shining, and many others.
HBO Max has also managed to secure Studio Ghibli’s complete movie collection, which includes Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl's Moving Castle. There will be more Japanese anime courtesy of Crunchyroll.
Will HBO Max come in 4K, HDR, or multiple streams?
HBO Max does not currently offer content in 4K or high dynamic range (HDR), nor does it offer Dolby Atmos support for those with high-end audio devices or soundbars.
That's a shame, as most competing services offer 4K and HDR support, including Disney+, which costs less than half the monthly subscription fee of HBO Max. However, a WarnerMedia spokesperson has confirmed the following:
"The HBO Max platform will support mobile downloads ... 4K HDR is a part of the HBO Max product roadmap but we don't have any additional information to share at this time."
Which devices do you need to watch HBO Max?
HBO Max is currently available for Android and iOS, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, select smart TVs, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 devices. You will also be able to watch HBO Max on any PC or Mac in your web browser.
Notably missing from this list are Roku and Amazon Fire TV, both of which were expected to carry their own HBO Max apps at launch. It seems the parties are still hammering out a deal, and we expect the app to arrive on both devices eventually, though there's no indication yet as to when any deals will get done.