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What Is HBO Max?
HBO is a company that is well-known to many people who love movies. In recent years, they also have become known for producing outstanding series, both multi-season and limited run. With HBO Max, the company enters the competitive world of streaming.
It’s only been around since late in 2020, but HBO already is regarded as a top-tier streaming service. Much of this is because it offers not only a deep library of movies and their original programming but also an impressive lineup from other channels.
HBO Max took the place of the HBO Go app, which had been around for a number of years. Although many people were fans of HBO Go, the service wasn’t really set up to compete with popular streamers like Netflix, Hulu and others. If you were familiar with the HBO Go app, you’ll find plenty that you’re already acquainted with in HBO Max. The good news is that the new service offers a greatly expanded catalog of content.
In fact, most users and critics remark that HBO Max has one of the most enticing and impressive programming libraries anywhere. That kind of quality does not come cheap. HBO Max is expensive compared to other streaming services, and you’ll probably want to maintain others of your favorite streamers to achieve a truly rounded-out catalog of possibilities.
Still, with 10,000 hours of movies and shows, there is plenty to keep you entertained on HBO Max. There’s a great deal to like about HBO Max, including a surprising amount of content for little ones. However, its interface can seem overwhelming, especially for new users.
Plans and Pricing for HBO Max
HBO Max is designed as a premium service. Accordingly, it definitely boasts premium pricing.
Two plans are available. These are a $9.99 per month plan that lets you view all of the service’s content with commercials. In addition to watching ads, you won’t be able to download content for later offline viewing with this plan. Moreover, you won’t find any 4K content as only standard HD is offered.
Upgrading to the $14.99 per month plan does away with the commercials, which is good news. Subscriptions at this level also have the option of downloading content to watch offline. Plus, you get the added benefit of 4K Ultra HD playback when it’s available for certain content.
These pricing schemes definitely put HBO Max at the upper end of costs for streaming services. As an example, you can get Netflix for ten dollars per month, and it doesn’t have any ads. Disney Plus runs eight dollars per month, and it won’t bother you with commercials either. If you don’t mind a few ads, you also can opt for basic Hulu for seven dollars per month or get an ad-free version for $13.
Still, with so much outstanding programming, many people feel that the cost to stream HBO Max is worth it. If you have a cable service and an active HBO subscription, then you already have the ability to access the content on HBO Max without paying extra or signing up for an additional service. All you have to do is create an HBO Max account, selecting “Log in with cable provider” when you are prompted.
With one HBO Max subscription, it is possible to view three streams at the same time. This is good news for busy households. It’s also worth noting that HBO Max currently is only available in the U.S., so anyone outside of this geographic location is out of luck.
Devices that Support HBO Max
HBO Max is easy to watch since it is available across many devices. To watch content, you can use Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Android, iPadOS, iOS, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Other options include many smart televisions from Samsung, Vizio and LG. Sign in and watch on your Mac or PC or your Google Chromebook. The Spectrum WorldBox and Xfinity X1 and Flex also support HBO Max.
What Can You Watch on HBO Max?
Whether you want to watch movies or television series, the options are pretty impressive. Of course, HBO has a long history of being associated with box office blockbusters, so it’s no surprise to find binge-worthy titles.
From old-time classics to the latest hits, there is something for everyone in the movie library. Pretty much everything from the Warner Bros. Studios is accounted for, including perennially popular titles like the Harry Potter movies. Select movies from the DC Entertainment Universe pop up as do films from the Criterion Collection and Turner Classic Movies. That means that you can spend the morning with Bogey and Bacall and the evening with Batman.
However, purists object to titles that are missing from the DC universe such as the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve. On the other hand, you’ll find more obscure critical favorites such as the animated Harley Quinn series. Much of Studio Ghibli’s animation films are found here as well.
HBO Max got a nice boost in 2021 from introducing theatrical releases on the same day that they premiered in theaters. Examples of titles that received this treatment include Dune, In the Heights and Wonder Woman 1984. Audiences loved this, though studios, actors and directors had a more ambivalent attitude.
In fact, Warner Bros. initially promised that they would make all 2022 releases available on HBO Max within 45 days of their theatrical release, but this has not proven true since Warner Bros. and Discovery merged. This means that you may have to wait longer to catch the latest movies in the privacy of your home.
While the movies on HBO are impressive, the television series that you’ll find here aren’t exactly slouches either. You’ll discover classic and hugely popular HBO series like The Sopranos, The Wire and Game of Thrones alongside newer offerings such as The Flight Attendant and Raised By Wolves. Whether you want to watch Sex and the City or the kids are looking for some Sesame Street, it’s all here on HBO Max.
Other examples of programming that is exclusive to HBO Max include Julia, Locked Down, Doom Patrol, It’s a Sin, Infinity Train, Our Flag Means Death, Station Eleven and many others.
What About Sports?
In addition to movies, the traditional cable version of HBO is recognized for its pay-per-view sports programming. By contrast, HBO Max does not have any live programming, so that means that you won’t find sporting events here.
Signing Up, Maintaining and Cancelling an Account
If you decide to give HBO Max a try, you probably won’t be able to find a free trial. That’s disappointing, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you might spot an occasional free weekend when you can try out the service without inputting a credit card.
Otherwise, you can visit the HBO Max website to sign up or use your streaming device. Since you’ll need to add account details, it’s probably easier to sign up on a tablet or PC.
All you need is basic information such as your name, email address and a password. Click on the button that says “Create Account,” and you’re pretty much all set. HBO Max asks you to enter a payment method. The options are a credit or debit card or PayPal. As soon as your payment information is entered, you’re ready to start watching.
If you ever need to view the details of your account, then it makes sense to sign in on the website on a tablet or PC. Navigate to HBOMax.com and select “Sign In” on the upper right corner of the screen. Once you’re signed in with your email and password, you can access pretty much anything. This is where you can manage devices, edit profiles or change your subscription. It’s even possible to cancel your subscription at any time if you choose.
Cancelling is as easy as signing in on HBOMax.com and navigating to “Settings.” Select “Subscription” and then “Manage Subscription.” Tap on “Cancel Subscription,” and be sure to notice the expiration date. It’s as simple as that.
What About Customer Support?
Even with a great service like HBO Max, things sometimes go awry. When this happens, the easiest thing to do is to call 1-855-442-6629. This toll-free number connects you directly to customer support.
You also may be able to find the answers you need by visiting the HBO Max Help Center at this link. Several helpful articles are found here, and these may provide the solution you need.
At this website, it also is possible to use the digital assistant to send a message to the support center, or you can opt to send an email to [email protected].
Additional Features and Access
HBO Max may be one of the more expensive options for streaming, but its plans are pretty straightforward. You receive immediate access to their entire library either with or without ads. As a result, there are no additional options as far as extras and add-ons. That’s a refreshing simplicity that anyone can appreciate.
Many also may wonder if they’ll need a cable subscription in order to access HBO Max. This is an understandable question since HBO is so closely associated with cable service. The good news is that you do not have to maintain a cable subscription. HBO Max is a separate service. However, if you do have a cable subscription and are paying for an HBO add-on, then you already have HBO Max. All you have to do now is start using it.
Is HBO Max Worth It?
While there definitely are cheaper streaming options out there, few catalogs can match the quality that is offered by HBO Max. You can get thousands of hours of entertainment for relatively little money. Plus, you can start or cancel a subscription whenever you like, so there are no serious commitments. You could sign up, binge watch a few favorite movies and shows for two or three months, and then cancel your subscription. When you get the yen for Game of Thrones again, just start up a new subscription.
The HBO Max user interface is not the most intuitive and friendly. You’ll be presented with a carousel of a handful of shows and movies that are being promoted each time you sign in. Below this are options like My List and Continue Watching. If you keep scrolling down, you’ll eventually get to a set of hub buttons with headings like Adult Swim, TCM, DC, Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, Looney Tunes, Studio Ghibli and more. If you use it frequently enough, you’ll eventually get used to this setup and be able to navigate it with more ease. It’s also helpful to keep your list up to date.
Also worthy of note is the ability to have up to five profiles per account. This makes it easy to set parental controls on certain profiles so that kids can access only the programming that is appropriate for them. The ability to stream on three devices simultaneously is another welcome feature.
Overall, HBO Max is an outstanding service that offers premium programming for adults and children.
No. HBO Max is a separate service for which you independently subscribe. However, if you have a cable HBO subscription, you probably already have HBO Max.
The service has an impressive collection of kid-friendly programming and parental controls so you can manage what children see with their own accounts.