Max: HBO Max replacement, cost, movies, TV shows, devices, and more
Max is the high-profile successor to HBO Max. It’s been available to US subscribers since May 2023, when Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) decided to merge HBO Max with Discovery Plus. The result was a new super-streamer boasting one of the most impressive content libraries around.
HBO Max was already one of the best streaming services around, of course, and that’s still the case with Max. In fact, with DC Comics superheroes, HBO, Adult Swim and more than a century of classic movies and TV shows all coming under the Warner Bros. umbrella – not to mention all that Discovery content – there’s no question the platform has what it takes to compete with Netflix, Prime Video and Disney Plus when it comes to the size and quality of its offering.
This in-depth guide explains everything you need to know about Max, to help you decide whether it’s worth subscribing the the streamer. We’ve got information about price, 4K availability and the devices supported by Max, as well as details of the most exciting TV shows and movies you can enjoy – including its latest addition from the DC Extended Universe, The Flash.
What is Max?
Max is the result of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) merging its streaming platforms, HBO Max and Discovery Plus, together.
The entertainment behemoth, which itself was formed when Warner Bros. and Discovery merged in March 2022, confirmed in April 2023 that it was combining the platforms into a single entity. It’s worth noting, however, that Discovery Plus is still available as a separate service.
In essence, then, Max is a bigger and more streamlined streaming service than its predecessor. Not only do you gain access to all of HBO Max’s vast library (including every DCEU film and TV show, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and more), you’ll also be able to stream the best programs from Discovery Plus’ TV brands, including TLC, Magnolia Network, and HGTV. You can learn more about the switchover in our guide to seven things HBO Max fans need to know about Max.
Here are some of the other big benefits that the new service offers over its predecessor:
- Smarter recommendations
- Improved performance
- Easier to sign in and use
- Profile PIN for adult profiles
- New hubs and genres
Crucially, if you were already subscribed to HBO Max before May 23 (Max’s launch day), your account should have been automatically switched over to the new service. That means didn’t need to worry about cancelling your current plan and signing up to a new one. Your HBO Max profile, watch history, and settings (including parental controls) should have been carried over to WBD’s latest streamer, too.
However, you will have needed to download the Max app on your device of choice (more on these later) or head to Max.com to begin streaming via a web browser. Additionally, your HBO Max downloads and Custom Profile Pictures won’t have carried over onto the new service, so you’ll need to redownload the former and pick a different avatar for the latter.
Where is Max currently available?
This is where things get slightly more complicated. Currently, HBO Max has only been rebranded to Max in the United States. HBO Max users in Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions – where the platform is available – won’t notice any name change just yet. According to HBOMax.com , WBD anticipate that Max will be available to viewers in Latin America and the Caribbean by the end of 2023, and in Europe and South-East Asia some time in 2024.
It’s unclear how the renaming of WBD’s primary streamer will impact the deals it has with nations where Max/HBO Max aren’t available. In the UK and Australia, for example, HBO-developed movies and TV shows air on Sky and Foxtel, respectively. These licensing agreements aren’t expected to end until sometime in 2025, so it’s likely that WBD’s HBO-based contracts with Sky and Foxtel will simply continue as they are. However, Discovery Plus is available in the UK, so some negotiations may be required between WBD, Sky, and BT Group (the latter being Discovery Plus’s UK distribution partner) to ensure there’s no contractual disputes over who can air what.
Max price: how much does it cost?
There are three Max price points to choose from, with the more expensive tiers offering extra perks over their cheaper cousins. All three are available for monthly and annual fees, with the 12-month deals offering significant savings of up to 20%.
Here’s a closer look at what’s available:
There’s also the option to add Max to your Hulu plan for $15.99 per month.
If you’re subscribed to HBO through your cable or satellite TV package, internet plan, or wireless plan, the Max home page explains that users may have access to Max at no extra cost. You’ll need to head to the Max providers page to see if you’re eligible, however.
WBD has also promised that existing subscribers “will still have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months following launch” – good news in the short term, though it could mean pricing changes are possible later in the year. We’ll update this section once we learn more.
Is there a Max free trial?
The short answer is no. In the early days of HBO Max, potential subscribers were allowed to give the new platform a free spin for seven days before deciding whether to sign up. But since December 2020 that wasn’t an option on HBO Max – and that remains the case with Max.
As you can see in our HBO Max free trial article, it remained possible to get seven-day trials with the service if you signed up through Hulu or Amazon Prime Video. It remains unclear, however, whether this partnership will move forward now that HBO Max has been replaced by Max. Again, we’ll update this part of the article when WBD has more to share.
Max movies: The Flash, Elvis, Dune and more
Max is stuffed with plenty of critically-acclaimed and highly-rated movies. Netflix’s library might contain notable highlights from other studios, but Max offers tons of amazing films from Warner Bros’ impressive library, a back catalog that’s been over a century in the making.
So, what’s on offer? For one, an eclectic range of movies based on DC Comics, including Batman (1989), Joker, The Dark Knight, Aquaman, Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and the most recent DCEU arrival on Max, The Flash.
Genre movies are generally well represented, with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Dune, and The Matrix movies also available. Take a look at our dedicated guide to the best Max movies for our top-tier choices (including Elvis and the Oscar-winning Parasite) and and our new Max movies list for the newest movies to hit the platform.
One of Max’s bespoke channels features Studio Ghibli movies, which gives subscribers access to every animated film from the legendary studio, including Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro. Another channel – TCM (Turner Classic Movies) – delivers plenty of classics, such as Casablanca and Some Like it Hot.
It’s also worth noting that Max’s movie offerings aren’t limited to Warner Bros releases. For example, Disney’s blockbusting Avatar: The Way of Water isn’t just available on Disney Plus, as Max has become the beneficiary of a previous deal signed between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros before Disney acquired Fox in March 2019. The agreement sees select 20th Century Studios movies also made available on WBD’s streaming platforms.
While Covid-19 pandemic briefly prompted HBO Max to release high-profile Warner Bros movies such as Dune and The Matrix Resurrections at the same time as they made their theatrical debuts, this policy was abandoned some time ago. Even so, Max still gives Netflix and Disney Plus a run for their money when it comes to recent blockbuster releases.
Max shows: Succession, The Last of Us, The White Lotus and more
Max may have ditched the HBO from its branding but the cable behemoth’s acclaimed content remains a major part of the new streaming service’s offering – and that’s a big reason to be cheerful.
Indeed, that connection with HBO means that few platforms can compete with the TV drama offering available on Max, with long-standing classics such as The Wire, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones sitting alongside more recent (but similarly acclaimed) fare such as Chernobyl, Succession, Euphoria, House of the Dragon, The Last of Us, The White Lotus, and The Flight Attendant. (But not, sadly, Westworld, which was unexpectedly pulled from HBO Max earlier this year.)
And HBO isn’t just known for its highly bingeable dramas. Smash-hit comedies including Curb Your Enthusiasm and Veep are available, alongside documentaries like McMillions and The Case Against Adnan Sayed. HBO’s rich history of stand-up specials is also showcased, with some of the biggest US comedians’ live shows available to stream.
Older shows from Warner’s archive (and beyond) help supplement the HBO offering. Max has the exclusive US streaming rights to all 10 seasons of Friends and all 26 seasons of South Park. The Big Bang Theory, The Middle, Young Sheldon, The Nanny, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are among the other sitcoms you can enjoy.
Great animated shows from the ’90s like Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and the more futuristic Batman Beyond can be beamed right into your living room, too. And, if you’re after some anime, Crunchyroll has a channel on Max that offers a broad selection. Access to Cartoon Network encompasses shows like Steven Universe and Adventure Time, while the channel’s more grown-up cousin, Adult Swim, supplies not-for-kids shows like Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Import shows include Italian crime drama Gomorrah, Brit hit I Hate Suzie, and the 13 seasons of Doctor Who that have aired since its massively successful 2005 reboot. However, the BBC’s Time Lord is heading to Disney Plus some time in 2023 following a new agreement, so it’s unclear whether it’ll warp away from Max later this year.
For more recommendations encompassing Max’s impressive suite of TV content, check out our comprehensive guide to the best Max shows.
What’s coming to Max in September 2023?
Here are the biggest movies and TV shows coming to Max before the end of September:
- American Sniper (movie) – releasing September 21
- Paris Can Wait (movie) – releasing September 23
- Starstruck season 3 (TV show) – releasing September 28
Max vs HBO: what’s the difference?
The main difference between HBO and Max comes down to the range of programming you can access. Subscribing to HBO will allow you to stream every original series and movie that the premium channel has to offer.
Signing up for Max, meanwhile, gets you more than triple the content. You won’t only gain access to Max’s originals line-up, but you’ll get everything on HBO and numerous other channels, such as Adult Swim and the best of Discovery Plus’s back catalog.
Essentially, there’s no reason to get HBO over Max. They cost roughly the same, but you get way more stuff with the latter.
What devices is Max available on?
Want to know what devices support Max via web browsers or its app? Read the list below:
- Amazon Fire tablets (4th generation or later)
- Amazon Fire TV (Fire OS 5 or later)
- Android (5.1 or later)
- Android TV (with TV OS 5.1 or later)
- Apple TV 4K or HD (with tvOS 14 or later)
- Chrome/Firefox/Microsoft Edge (latest versions) and Safari (version 13 or later)
- Cox Contour 2 and Contour Stream Player
- HDMI cable
- iOS (14 or later)
- LG Smart TV (webOS 3.5 or later)
- PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
- Roku (OS 11.0 and later)
- Samsung smart TVs (2016 models or later)
- VIZIO Smart TV (2016 models or later)
- Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X
- XClass TV
- Xfinity X1 and Flex
Max app: what features are available?
Max lets you download content for offline viewing, except on its Ad-Lite tier. It also has a PIN system for parental control, personalized profiles, and brand-based content hubs similar to how Disney Plus categorizes Star Wars content and Marvel films. As mentioned earlier, these hubs include TCM, Studio Ghibli, DC, Crunchyroll, Looney Tunes, and Sesame Workshop.
Max also comes packaged with a number of accessibility features, including Alexa voice commands, audio description, close captions, keyboard navigation, and screen readers
Does Max support 4K streaming?
Yes. Max supports 4K streaming on a selection of compatible devices, with over 1000 movies and TV shows available to watch in 4K UHD. That’s eight times (!) the quantity that was available on HBO Max, including a bunch of new movies that weren’t supported previously. Read our guide on eight films worth watching in 4K on Max right now.
There are a couple of caveats, mind you. First off, the 4K UHD support is only offered as part of the Ultimate Ad-Free tier, which will set you back $19.99 a month / $199.99 per year. Additionally, Dolby Atmos and Vision are only supported on specific films and TV series (read the full list in this WBD blog post), as well as on certain devices, which you can see below:
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube
- Android TVs, including AT&T Streaming Box
- Apple TV 4K
- Google Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast with Google TV
- PlayStation 5
- Roku Ultra 4800x, Roku 4k TVs, Roku Premiere, and Roku Streaming Stick Plus
- Xbox Series X
- Xfinity X1 (Xi6) and Flex
Is Max worth the money?
Max is building on its association with both HBO (home of some of the best TV of the 21st century) and WBD’s 100-year-plus catalog of movies. Not all streaming services will survive the ongoing content war, but Max has a lot of positives in its corner, especially with WBD’s ongoing investment in blockbuster movies, the addition of the Discovery Plus library, wider 4K UHD support, and competitive price points.
HBO max was already a great streaming service, and Max has built upon the foundations laid by its predecessor in impressive style. However, it remains to be seen whether its original releases make it stand out in an overpopulated US streaming landscape, especially when the price of entry (particularly on its ad-free tiers) is higher than the equivalents on Disney Plus, Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video.
For us, Max’s superb movie and TV line-ups make it worth investing in even before all of its other features are accounted for, especially with the impressive raft of exclusive upcoming content already confirmed for the platform. Big hitters in the development pipeline include the Jodie Foster-starring fourth season of True Detective, The Batman spin-off The Penguin, and new TV shows set in the worlds of The Conjuring and The Big Bang Theory.
Perhaps the most headline-grabbing news, however, is that Max will be the home of both a new Game of Thrones prequel series (currently titled A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight) and a big-budget TV adaptation of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series – though with Hollywood’s writers and actors currently on strike, it’s uncertain when these exciting new projects will see the light of day.
Of course, we’re unsure how popular Max will prove to be – it only launched in May – and WBD will to ensure that any early teething problems are ironed out quickly. But if Max can start to make a dent in Netflix’s dominance of the landscape – as well as actively competing with other popular streamers such as Disney Plus for audience attention – WBD’s decision to merge its two platforms will become a justifiable expense.
As always, however, the proof will be in how many new subscribers Max can entice in the coming months and years.