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What’s more HBO than HBO? HBO Max! HBO Max cranks up the HBO goodness to the max — whatever that means. If you’re deciding whether to subscribe to HBO Max or if you’re confused about the difference between HBO Max and all the other HBOs, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve spent years using HBO services and months using HBO Max, and we’re here to break down all the details. Read on for all the information you need on HBO Max, including what shows and movies are on HBO Max, how much HBO Max costs, how to cancel your HBO Max subscription, and what makes HBO Max different from the rest of the HBO family.
HBO Max is the top-of-the-line streaming service from AT&T’s HBO brand. It’s designed to compete with streaming heavyweights such as Netflix, and it works in pretty much the same way. Like Netflix, HBO Max charges a monthly subscription fee and offers on-demand content. (That means you play your show or movie on your schedule, instead of tuning in and watching it live on TV.) You can subscribe to HBO Max directly or through other services and devices. If you subscribe through Hulu, you can now watch shows live as they air on HBO.
But wasn’t the “old” HBO already like this? Well, sort of. HBO started as a premium TV network. To sign up for the old-school HBO, you had to go through your pay-TV provider. HBO eventually came out with other versions of its popular channel, including HBO Now, which worked a lot like Netflix. HBO already had a Netflix-like service, but you can think of HBO Max as a souped-up version of HBO Now.
HBO Max improves on HBO’s other offerings in some important ways, and we’ll talk about them below. For the full scoop on what we liked (and didn’t like) about the service, check out our complete HBO Max review. Spoiler alert: Despite a few flaws, HBO Max is one of the best streaming services available.
HBO Max is in a pretty competitive market. We already get a lot of great shows from Netflix, Hulu, and the rest. So what can HBO Max offer us? For starters, HBO Max includes everything that’s on regular old HBO. HBO Max is really building its brand on the existing HBO content, so you can expect to see lots of familiar titles like The Sopranos and Game of Thrones. But there are also some brand-new HBO Max exclusives, plus licensed content like Friends. In other words, all HBO content is HBO Max content, but not all HBO Max content is on HBO!
HBO is a channel that you can watch on your TV set, but what about HBO Max? It’s not quite the same thing. Remember, this is a streaming service. You can watch it on a computer or a smartphone, but those aren’t your only options. It’s also easy to watch HBO Max on other devices, including your favorite TV screen. HBO Max has apps for major streaming platforms, devices, and smart TVs.
HBO Max costs $14.99 per month for the premier tier. That’s not a bad price, but, as of June 2021, it’s no longer the only option. HBO Max now offers a plan for $9.99 per month, but you’ll have to deal with a few ads. You’ll also lose out on some features of the ad-free plan, such as the ability to watch same-day movie premieres and stream in 4K.
HBO Max’s higher tier is priced similarly to Netflix’s most popular plan, and that tier's price is significantly higher than the cost of Disney Plus or Hulu's on-demand pricing. But the comparisons can be a little tricky. HBO Max has a large catalog of movies and TV shows, including some very popular (and big-budget) original series. The service also has more new releases and critically acclaimed films than some of its streaming competitors. How expensive HBO Max seems depends on how much you like what it offers. If you love comedy programs where John Oliver both skewers and explains the news or crime dramas where Kate Winslet does a very specific Pennsylvania accent, then you’re more likely to think HBO Max is worth the $15. If not, then you can always try the plan with ads for $5 a month less.
HBO Max’s price isn’t bad, especially if you get the plan with ads. But can we do better? Sometimes. We’re always on the lookout for the best HBO Max discounts and deals.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of deals right now. Free trials are a lot harder to come by than they were a year ago, when HBO Max first arrived on the streaming scene. HBO offers some free episodes through HBO Max, though, and you don’t have to sign up for an account or hand over your credit-card information to watch them. Simply look for the section titled “Watch Free Episodes,” and then pick a show to get going.
As we mentioned, getting an HBO Max free trial is harder now than when the service launched in 2020. If you do find one, expect to get only seven days for free. We have more details on our HBO Max free trial page.
We’ve never been huge on commitment here at Cordcutting.com, so we’re happy that HBO Max is as easygoing about contracts as most streaming services are. Just like Netflix, Hulu, and many other competitors, HBO Max bills us by the month and lets us cancel at any time.
Keep in mind, though, that you don’t necessarily have to go directly to HBO to get HBO Max. You can sign up directly if you want to, but you could also get HBO Max in other ways: For example, you might have HBO through your cable provider, which could mean that you get HBO Max included at no extra charge. That’s good news, but you should remember that HBO Max may not be the only contract involved here. If you sign up for HBO Max directly, you can cancel at any time; but if you sign up for HBO through Comcast or Spectrum, then you’re going to have a separate contract involved.
Want to cancel HBO Max? Good news: It’s probably really easy.
Why “probably?” Well, it’s not quite a sure thing, because there are multiple ways to sign up for HBO Max.
If you signed up for HBO Max directly, then you can cancel very easily. Just head right back to HBO Max’s website and log in. Hit “Profile” and head to “Billing Information” to find the option to cancel your subscription. You can also use the mobile app by tapping the gear icon to reach the Settings menu and then heading to “Billing Information” from there.
If you signed up for HBO max in a different way, though, things can get slightly more complicated. Don’t panic, though: You just need to remember where you signed up for HBO Max, then get to that device or service (or that company’s customer service department, if you’re at your wit’s end).
It may seem a bit confusing. HBO Max is a service, but you can’t always call HBO to cancel it. Just like you can get Apple products from the Apple Store or Best Buy, you can get HBO Max directly from HBO or from another company. If you signed up for HBO Max through your favorite streaming device, then that’s where you’ll need to cancel it. If you got access to HBO Max for free because you already have HBO through a pay TV provider like Comcast or Spectrum, then Comcast or Spectrum is who you’ll have to get in touch with to cancel HBO. Makes sense, right? And if you’re having trouble remembering how you got HBO Max in the first place, your app can help. Just head to that “Billing Information” page in the same way we talked about above. You should see the name of the company that you’re actually paying for HBO Max. Click on the button on that screen, and HBO Max will helpfully direct you to that company’s website.
We’ve covered a lot of important information here in our HBO Max guide. But there’s always more to learn about HBO Max and all of the other services and apps in the HBO family, so don’t stop here. Read on to check out our other important HBO coverage, including our HBO Max review, our HBO Now page, and more. And, while we have your attention, why not follow up on Twitter or like us on Facebook and Instagram? Keeping in touch on social media will keep you on top of all the things you need to know about HBO Max and the rest of the streaming world.