Sarah Tew/Proinertech

HBO Max, HBO’s entry into the streaming wars, is a slick app chock-full of in style TV reveals and films. It is acquired HBO’s complete catalog, together with favorites akin to Associates, Rick and Morty, Sesame Road, the Lord of the Rings films and nearly each Studio Ghibli movie. It is also the one service to debut first-run films, together with in 2021 Godzilla vs. Kong, Dune and Matrix 4, the identical day they’re obtainable in theaters for no additional cost. And HBO Max has a stable streaming assortment for youngsters too, with the power to regulate rankings on youngsters’ profiles higher than most different providers. 

Like

Massive, different content material catalog that features all of HBONew theatrical releases from Warner Bros. StudiosSimple, easy-to-navigate interfaceLots of kids’s reveals and customizable score settings

Do not Like

Excessive priceFew authentic sequence past customary HBOCan’t import watch historical past or customized suggestions

If you happen to already subscribe to HBO, HBO Max is a no brainer improve that provides you a shiny new interface and masses extra content material for a similar $15 monthly. However if you happen to’re a brand-new subscriber, that value is on the excessive finish — particularly if you happen to already pay for Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus or all the above.

At launch HBO Max lacked compatibility with the favored Roku and Amazon Fireplace TV gadgets and 4K HDR streaming, however now apps for Roku and Amazon are actually simply obtainable and the 2021 Warner Bros. theatrical slate is premiering on the platform in 4K HDR (as are different titles, akin to Zack Snyder’s Justice League).

Learn extra: Every little thing you want to find out about HBO Max

Other than HBO’s authentic sequence, the Max slate of exclusives stays comparatively skinny, particularly with the delay of the extremely anticipated Associates reunion particular and no breakout hit akin to Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian and WandaVision. That shortcoming will probably change over time, however for now, it stays the service’s largest drawback.

If you happen to’re an enormous fan of HBO, Elmo or Associates, or are merely working out of excellent stuff to look at throughout lockdown, HBO Max might be price your cash. However if you happen to’re trying to economize on streaming, its excessive month-to-month payment makes it simpler to chop than lots of its powerful opponents.

Streaming in contrast

HBO Max

Netflix

Disney Plus

Hulu

Month-to-month value

$15

Begins at $9

$7

Primary $6 with adverts, Advert-free for $12, Stay TV for $65

Adverts

No

No

No

Sure, with primary tier

Prime titles

Total HBO catalog, Studio Ghibli movies, DC movies

Stranger Issues, The Crown, Breaking Unhealthy, The Queen’s Gambit

The Mandalorian, WandaVision, Avengers Endgame, Toy Story, The Simpsons

Handmaid’s Story, Catch-22, Misplaced, Bob’s Burgers

Cell downloads

Sure

Sure

Sure

Sure (on Advert-free plan solely)

4K obtainable

Sure

Sure (on Premium plan)

Sure

Sure

HDR obtainable

Sure

Sure (on Premium plan)

Sure

No

Variety of streams

3

1 (2 for Customary, 4 on Premium)

4

2 (Limitless with Stay TV and a $10 add-on)

A excessive value ripe for sharing

HBO Max prices $15 a month, the identical as HBO’s conventional channel whenever you get it by most pay-TV suppliers. In some unspecified time in the future HBO says the service will increase to incorporate one other tier that features promoting. We do not know something about when that will occur or what it will appear to be, however it will probably be cheaper, and even free. 

Some individuals who have already got an everyday HBO subscription or HBO Now will get Max for no additional price — however not everybody. It is complicated, however you may try our full HBO Max FAQ for extra data on the way it all works. 

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Regardless of the big catalog of films and reveals, HBO Max is on the costly finish of streaming providers — Netflix’s primary plan prices $9 a month, Hulu’s plan with adverts is $6 a month and Disney Plus prices $7 a month (quickly to be $8 monthly). A number of folks I do know share account entry with mates or relations and HBO Max government Tony Goncalves advised Proinertech that it’s going to take a “pretty balanced strategy” to this challenge. 

With HBO Max you may have as much as three simultaneous streams going on the similar time. Plus, the addition of as much as 5 person profiles, a function not obtainable on the HBO Now or HBO Go apps, makes it simpler to share an account. 

HBO Max is offered on Apple gadgets (iPhone, iPad, iPod Contact and Apple TV). It is also on gear that runs Google’s Android working system for telephones and tablets, in addition to Android TV gadgets, Chromebooks, Google Chromecast and Chromecast built-in gadgets like Vizio TVs. Xbox and PlayStation consoles and up to date Samsung sensible TVs are additionally on board. As talked about, Amazon Fireplace TV and Roku apps are actually obtainable. 

A powerful steady of reveals and films

HBO Max’s largest power is its giant, different TV and film catalog, with content material for adults and youngsters. At launch, it had 10,000 hours of content material to stream, together with all the pieces on HBO, plus a choice of high-profile TV reveals like Associates, The Large Bang Concept, Rick and Morty and South Park. 

HBO Max at present has only a handful Max Originals and the largest are in all probability the romantic sequence Love Life starring Anna Kendrick and darkish comedy The Flight Attendant starring Kaley Cuoco. Even a yr after launch, nothing has caught out or made the identical pop-culture influence as Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit or Disney Plus’s WandaVision. And in contrast to Netflix, it should usually drop its originals as soon as per week, the best way common cable HBO does. Quite a lot of originals — together with the Associates reunion particular, a by-product of The Suicide Squad with John Cena known as Peacemaker, a reboot of Gossip Woman and a revival of Intercourse and the Metropolis — are among the many many titles within the works, so there must be extra to select from later within the yr or in early 2022. 

HBO Max has six authentic sequence at launch — however the extremely anticipated Associates reunion particular has been delayed as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Within the meantime, there are a lot of films, some new and lots of older. HBO Max has the total units of The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogies (although solely two of The Hobbits), DC films like Joker and Surprise Lady, basic movies like The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca, and newer hits like A Star is Born and Loopy Wealthy Asians. To not point out nearly the complete catalog of Studio Ghibli anime movies which have by no means been launched for streaming within the US earlier than. And if you happen to’ve been clamoring for extra of 2017’s Justice League, HBO Max would be the house of director Zach Snyder’s minimize on March 18.

Although HBO is thought for its grownup content material, Max has quite a bit to supply youngsters too, together with new Looney Tunes cartoons and Sesame Road episodes, and the Cartoon Community catalog. It is also house to Physician Who and the Lego films. 

Parental controls are sturdy. You may customise youngsters’ profiles to determine which score ranges they’ll entry, and create a passcode that locks them into their account, to allow them to’t bounce over to their dad and mom’ to look at something inappropriate. (Your child could be savvy sufficient to determine that passcode out, nevertheless it’s one thing.)

Studio Ghibli movies can be found to stream within the US for the primary time on the platform.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

A visually interesting interface…

Scrolling by HBO Max is just like the expertise on Netflix, Hulu and different streaming providers. Once you open your profile, you may discover Proceed Watching and My Record on the high of the web page, adopted by subjects like Featured Collection, Featured Films and HBO Collection: Editors’ Picks. 

I just like the look of the menus higher than many different streaming providers. It has a darkish purple and black theme that permits the textual content and pictures to pop, and reveals fewer tiles on the display directly with extra breaks between them, to present your eye a relaxation. One draw back, nevertheless, is that it may be powerful to determine at first what textual content is highlighted within the menus so you may make choices.

In the midst of the web page you may see a mini hub the place you may entry films and reveals from every of its properties: HBO, DC, Sesame Workshop, Turner Basic Films, Studio Ghibli, Cartoon Community, Grownup Swim, CrunchyRoll and Looney Tunes. It seems to be sort of like Disney Plus’s hub on the high of its web page, however with much less acquainted names than Disney’s Star Wars and Marvel. 

The HBO Max mini hub, the place you may entry content material from completely different networks and studios.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

You may additionally discover curated collections of films round a theme sprinkled by your homepage, like rom-com favorites and blockbuster franchises. Hit Browse on the high left nook and you will have the choice to look by classes akin to Collection, Films, Originals, Simply Added, Final Probability and Coming Quickly, together with genres like Motion, Comedy, Crime and Documentaries. You may additionally discover the mini hubs on this panel, too. 

In contrast to on Netflix, you may simply see what’s coming and happening the platform and watch accordingly. Cell downloads are additionally obtainable, and the app’s format is basically the identical throughout TVs, telephones and tablets. 

On the subject of looking, HBO Max enables you to use abbreviations (like “GOT” as a substitute of “Recreation of Thrones”). On my Apple TV, voice search labored fairly effectively — after I mentioned, “Watch Rick and Morty,” HBO Max opened the sequence touchdown web page, giving me the choice to decide on which episode I would like. After beginning an episode of Recreation of Thrones and shutting out, after I mentioned, “Watch GOT,” it jumped me again into the episode the place I had left off. After I mentioned, “Watch Jaws,” the Apple TV opened all the completely different choices throughout different streaming platforms on the backside of the display as effectively. 

Choosing a present will take you to its touchdown web page, the place yow will discover each episode obtainable in a clear format, and have the power so as to add it to your checklist. Once you begin a present, the score seems within the higher left nook. 

…however human suggestions are nonetheless MIA

One in every of HBO Max’s guarantees was that as a substitute of solely utilizing a suggestion engine to floor new content material for customers, it will even have curated content material from celebrities, to deliver a extra human contact. These suggestions are nonetheless not obtainable, nevertheless. It does curate content material in methods that may be useful — for instance, highlighting the episodes of Associates that monitor Ross and Rachel’s relationship so you do not have to go digging for them. 

You may discover each HBO present on HBO Max — however you may’t but stream them in 4K HDR. 

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

Must you get HBO Max?

If you happen to already subscribe to HBO Now (or, , have another person’s login), the automated free improve to HBO Now could be a no brainer — it is tons extra content material for a similar month-to-month value. Plus, you may make your individual profiles now, which you could not do on HBO Go or HBO Now. 

For brand-new subscribers, HBO Max is on the expensive finish of the streaming service spectrum. However if in case you have $15 a month to burn and need to binge Associates, Recreation of Thrones or all the Studio Ghibli films, you may have lots to select from.

First printed Could 29, 2020.

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