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HBO Max is now available to the masses – here’s what you need to know

This is way too confusing.

warnermedia hbo max streaming service
Image: WarnerMedia

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UPDATE 1/12/2023: HBO Max now costs $15.99 for it’s ad-free subscription, a $1 increase from the previous $14.99. The original story follows below.

HBO Max has been in the works for some time now and starting today, it’s available to everyone. HBO Max joins HBO’s other platforms, HBO Go and HBO Now and if you’re overwhelmed by the offerings, just know that you are not alone.

It’s absolutely confusing, but we’ll help break everything down for you, as well as provide availability information, pricing, a list of HBO Max original programming, and more.

Just know that HBO Max is going to be your most comprehensive option for shows and movies. Let’s dive in.

So, what’s the difference between HBO Max, HBO Now, and HBO Go

HBO is also aware of just how confusing their current offerings are, so they released a video breaking down the difference between the three streaming services. If you don’t want to watch the video, just know that HBO Go is the app for those that already have an HBO subscription through a cable provider. HBO Now is meant for those without a cable provider and provides the same amount of HBO shows and a selection of movies and documentaries.

Think of the new HBO Max as a larger version of HBO Now. This means that, along with all of the programming available on Go and Now, HBO Max will have a much larger library of shows and movies, including Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Studio Ghibli movies, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Rick and Morty, Southpark, and more.

It should be noted that some shows, like the Friends reunion special, has been delayed due to COVID-19.

More original programming on HBO Max

hbo max show love life
Love Life with Anna Kendrick (Image: HBO)

In addition to a larger library of programming, HBO Max will be home to original series – called Max Originals – only available on the platform.

At launch, six shows will be available. These include Love Life with Anna Kendrick, new Looney Tunes cartoons, a #MeToo documentary called On The Record, Craftopia (a kids competition show), Legendary (a fashion show), and a not-so-late night show with… Elmo.

These shows will not be available in their entirety at launch, and instead, will be drip-fed to viewers, with two or three episodes available at launch, with more being released weekly.

There are plenty more Max Originals scheduled, but some of them have been delayed due to COVID-19.

Where can you watch HBO Max and how much will it cost?

So, let’s dive into the availability of HBO Max. First, it’s only available in the US right now. The new HBO Max app can be downloaded on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and newer Samsung smart TVs. There are a couple of surprising omissions here, including Roku streaming devices and Amazon Fire TV. Variety has reported that the company is in talks with Roku, but an Amazon deal may take longer.

As for pricing, HBO Max will set you back $14.99 a month. If you already have HBO Now through Google, Apple, or HBONow.com, you’ll be automatically updated to the new service. If you already have HBO through Hulu, YouTube TV, DirectTV, Charter/Spectrum, Verizon, Altice USA, or COX Communications, you’ll have access to HBO Max for free.

Yes, it’s confusing and yes, it’s lame

It’s all a bit confusing, but that’s going to be the most basic way to explain the new streaming service. Overall, HBO Max seems to be a great option for many people. It’s just a shame that its launch has to be this confusing.

What do you think? Plan on snagging a subscription to HBO Max? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Former KnowTechie editor.

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