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This is the definitive HBO Max guide where you’ll find everything you need to know about the new AT&T and WarnerMedia streaming service. Regardless of whether you are an existing HBO subscriber or considering signing up to HBO for the first time, there’s a few things you’ll need to know about that new service, including how much it costs and how it’s different to existing options like HBO GO or HBO NOW. These points and more will be discussed in this guide.
AT&T and WarnerMedia first confirmed the HBO Max name in July of 2019 before hosting a “WarnerMedia Day” in October of the same year to provide some of the finer details on HBO Max. Since then, it has remained a waiting game for the service to launch. However, that’s all changed now with HBO Max now here, streaming and offering a lot of content for a single subscription.
Last updated: May 27, 2020
In this guide
When did HBO Max launch?
HBO Max launched on May 27, 2020. This is a service that had been in development for some time with initial expectations having pointed to a launch in late 2019. However, that time-frame was gradually extended up until April of this year when AT&T and WarnerMedia finally confirmed May 27 as the firm HBO Max launch date.
How much HBO Max costs
HBO Max costs $14.99 per month, excluding applicable taxes. If the price sounds familiar then it should, considering this is exactly the same price AT&T and WarnerMedia currently charges for the standard HBO service. While that might not sound like a great deal for existing subscribers, that’s the point – AT&T wants current HBO subscribers to move over to HBO Max, while still ensuring the price is low enough to offer more value than the current service those consumers have avoided subscribing to so far.
Those who pre-ordered a subscription were giving an extra bonus considering they now have an HBO Max subscription at a reduced $11.99 per month. This $3 monthly discount remains in place for the entirety of the first year of service. After which, those subscribers will be automatically be bumped up to the standard $14.99 per month subscription cost.
Cheaper HBO Max plans
Right now, the $14.99 per month is the only option for subscribing to HBO Max. However, the company has teased its intention to launch cheaper plans at a later date. When that happens or what sort of discount will be on offer remains to be seen, although it is likely any reduced cost will feature ads as a way to account for the difference in price.
Ad-supported services have become big business lately and many companies are now looking at ways in which they can maximize their reach and user base by adding new tiers. In some cases, this has resulted in services that adopt a true AVOD approach where they don’t charge customers anything at all, solely relying on the use of ads and data collection to supplement the cost.
While it remains to be seen if a free version of HBO Max ever comes through, a reduced price bolstered by ads is a possibility. As an example of how it might work, Hulu currently offers two versions of its on-demand service. The first is the main “No Ads” version priced at $11.99 per month. This is the company’s ad-free version and the equivalent to what HBO Max currently offers.
In contrast, Hulu also offers an ad-supported plan and by employing the use of ads, Hulu has been able to reduce the cost down to just $5.99 per month. In fact, Hulu’s ad-supported version was previously priced at $7.99 per month. Few services ever decrease in price which goes to show how beneficial the ad-supported model has proven for Hulu.
How to get HBO Max for free
With AT&T having as many services and products as it now has, it makes sense for the company to incentivize its existing customer base to try and subscribe to its shiny new service, and that’s exactly what AT&T has done. In fact, for millions of its customers, HBO Max is now available at no additional cost at all.
AT&T customers that get HBO Max for free:
- DIRECTV PREMIER
- DIRECTV LO MAXIMO
- U400 and U450 TV
- AT&T TV NOW Max
- AT&T Unlimited Elite wireless plan
- AT&T Internet 1000
For customers of any of the services above, HBO Max should be available to add to your existing product at no additional cost by checking your account or reaching out to your AT&T service.
How HBO Max affects existing HBO service
For now, nothing is changing to the current HBO service. AT&T and WarnerMedia have confirmed that they have no immediate intention to depreciate the existing HBO subscription. Instead, both will remain accessible and available to consumers to choose from. Those who wish to continue only accessing HBO can do so, while those interested in gaining as much content as possible for the same price, can opt for the new HBO Max service.
Of course, WarnerMedia has priced HBO Max in a way to incentivize existing HBO subscribers to make the switch, but there’s nothing compelling those current HBO customers to do so. In fact, some subscribers might not even be able to switch to HBO Max even if they want to.
To explain, some consumers who currently have an HBO subscription through a third-party provider might not be eligible to switch over to HBO Max. Those subscribers will need to cancel their existing subscription and sign up for HBO Max directly through HBO, as an add-on to one of the other AT&T services, or through one of the supported third-party services.
HBO subscribers billed through the following service are eligible for an automatic upgrade to HBO Max:
- AT&T TV
- AT&T U-Verse
- Cox Contour
- Verizon Fios TV
HBO NOW subscribers billed through the following services are eligible to an automatic upgrade to HBO Max:
- Google Play
- Verizon Fios internet
- Consolidated Communications
- Liberty Cablevision
How to subscribe to HBO Max
While HBO Max is only one streaming service, there are a variety of different ways it can be subscribed to and accessed. In this section, we’ll briefly go over the various options.
Standalone HBO Max
The most obvious and simple way to subscribe to HBO Max is directly through the standalone service. Like most streaming services, HBO Max is available as a direct-to-consumer product with the standalone subscription costing $14.99 per month.
Bundle HBO Max with AT&T TV
As was previously the case with HBO, HBO max can also be added to an existing AT&T TV or AT&T TV NOW subscription. With the exception of the AT&T TV NOW Max plan (included for free), AT&T TV subscribers can opt to bundle HBO Max with their existing live TV package.
Through a third-party service
As detailed in the last section, similar to how HBO also operates, HBO Max can be subscribed to through a variety of third-party billing companies, including Hulu Live TV, Apple, Google, and more.
HBO Max supported devices and platforms
Although HBO Max is a new service, it is one which has arrived with fairly wide device support, making access to the service fairly easy for most consumers.
While this is not a final list, HBO Max can currently be accessed on the following platforms and devices:
- Android smartphones and tablets (Android 5.0 or newer)
- Android TV (Android 5.0 or newer)
- Apple iPhone (iOS 12.2 or newer).
- Apple iPad (iOS 12.2 or newer).
- Apple TV (3rd-Gen or newer)
- PlayStation 4
- Samsung Smart TV (2015 or newer running Tizen)
- Xbox One
HBO Max TV shows and movies
As mentioned, HBO Max is considerably larger than the current HBO service with access to episodes of every HBO series as well as content pulled from the various other WarnerMedia brands. In fact, according to AT&T and WarnerMedia, HBO Max has launched with access to more than 10,000 hours of video content, and that’s just for starters with HBO Max expected to continue to add videos over time.
Beyond traditional HBO content, HBO Max also provides access to an exclusive selection of shows, movies and specials. As these are “Max Originals” they are not available to stream via any other service, and that includes the non-Max version of HBO.
HBO Max example Originals include:
- Adventure Time
- Bobbie Sue
- Close Enough
- Crime Farm
- Ellen’s Home Design Challenge
- First Dates Hotel
- Gossip Girl
- Let Them All Talk
- Made for Love
- Raised by Wolves
- Station Eleven
- The Flight Attendant
- The Greatest Space
- Tokyo Vice
If all that’s not enough, HBO Max is also populated with a number of shows and movies from other properties now owned by AT&T and WarnerMedia. This includes shows from:
- Adult Swim
- Cartoon Network
- Looney Tunes
- New Line Cinema
- Warner Bros.
HBO Max example TV series include:
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force
- Doctor Who
- Ellen’s Fame of Fames
- Game of Thrones
- Katy Keene
- Pretty Little Liars
- Rick and Morty
- Robot Chicken Samurai Jack
- Sex and the City Sesame Street
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast
- South Park
- The Big Bang Theory
- The Boondocks
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- The O.C.
- Top Gear
- The West Wing
HBO Max example movies include:
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- A Star is Born
- Batman (all movies)
- Citizen Kane
- Happy Feet
- LEGO Movies
- Lord of the Rings
- Singin’ in the Rain
- Spirited Away
- Superman (all movies)
- The Matrix
- The Shining
- Wonder Woman
- When Harry Met Sally
- The Conjuring
HBO Max price compared to the competition
Now that you know how much HBO costs, the devices and platforms you can access the service on, and examples of the type of content available through the service, it should be a little easier to decide if this is the right subscription service for you.
If you’re still unsure of whether HBO is for you, then it might be worth taking another moment to consider the price again. More specifically, what other services you can subscribe to for the same monthly cost, or lower.
How the new HBO Max compares to other subscription services on monthly price:
|Hulu||$5.99 / $11.99|
|Netflix||$8.99 / $12.99 / $15.99|
|Quibi||$4.99 / $7.99|