WarnerMedia has launched the much-hyped HBO Max, promising a large catalog of exclusive and original streaming content. But how is HBO Max different from the HBO Now and HBO Go?
With so many HBO-branded packages, it can get confusing for the average consumer. So, in this article, we look at HBO Max vs. HBO Now vs. HBO Go to help you decide which service to choose.
What Is HBO Now?
HBO Now is HBO’s standalone streaming service for the United States. It is similar to Netflix in that users stream directly from HBO and therefore do not require a third-party site, service, or cable package.
HBO Now costs $14.99/month, excluding tax. Since the service does not form part of a cable package, you are billed monthly and can cancel your subscription at any time without being locked into a longer contract period.
HBO Now includes the full catalog of HBO content, including popular HBO series , but not content from other WarnerMedia properties.
What Is HBO Go?
HBO Go is the streaming app for customers in the United States who have a cable TV package subscription to HBO. Unlike HBO Now, HBO Go is part of a TV package and is not a standalone service. Without a cable account with an HBO subscription, you can’t log into the HBO Go app.
The price of HBO Go varies according to the channel subscription prices for different cable providers.
However, it provides access to the exact same content and catalog as HBO Now.
What Is HBO Max?
HBO Max is also a streaming platform for HBO movies and series. However, rather than only featuring HBO content, it also offers content from across WarnerMedia’s catalog. The platform will also host original content specific to HBO Max called Max Originals.
The service includes all of HBO’s catalog, as well as titles from other WarnerMedia networks and franchises. This includes content from DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes Cartoons, and select TCM classic films.
An HBO Max subscription costs $14.99/month (excluding tax) if purchased directly from HBOMax.com. However, WarnerMedia states that if you buy it as part of a package or from another provider, prices may vary.
For example, if you purchase HBO Max access via Hulu, YouTube TV, or your cable provider, prices may differ. AT&T and other internet providers also include access to HBO Max as a part of certain packages.
HBO Max Vs. HBO Now Vs. HBO Go: The Main Differences
With so many HBO-branded streaming apps, it’s no wonder that people are confused about which service to use and subscribe to. So what’s the difference between HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max?
HBO Now and HBO Go differ in terms of how you access HBO content: either as a standalone streaming service for the former, or through a cable TV package for the latter.
HBO Max, on the other hand, is essentially the replacement for HBO Now and HBO Go. It offers a central platform through which HBO subscribers can access content, with a bigger catalog of series and movies thanks to the inclusion of WarnerMedia properties. HBO Max also includes Max Originals, which will be exclusive content that can’t be streamed on any other platforms.
While HBO Go and HBO Now still remain functional, this appears to be for the benefit of devices and providers that don’t yet support HBO Max. HBO Max is essentially the future of streaming HBO content thanks to its more centralized login process and larger catalog.
How to Get HBO Max
HBO Max is only available to customers in the United States and select US territories. The streaming platform cannot be accessed from outside the US. But how do you subscribe to the service if you want the expanded catalog on offer?
The process differs slightly depending on whether you already have an HBO subscription or are a new customer.
Existing HBO Subscribers
Existing direct-billed subscribers for HBO Now are automatically upgraded to HBO Max at no extra cost, so long as the update is supported by your device. The subscription plans are the same price when billed directly by HBO, making the transition seamless.
However, customers billed through Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Optimum, and Verizon Fios Internet can also upgrade their HBO Now app to HBO Max without paying extra.
HBO Go users are able to move to HBO Max, but this will depend on cable provider support for the new platform.
According to WarnerMedia, HBO Go users direct-billed through AT&T, AT&T TV, DIRECTV, U-Verse TV, Cox, Hulu, Optimum, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios TV, or select independent providers can also access HBO Max at no extra cost.
If your cable provider supports HBO Max, you will be able to use your cable account details to log into HBO Max. But if you get the error message “Currently Unavailable” when you open HBO Max, this means your provider doesn’t currently support the service.
New HBO Subscribers
If you don’t already subscribe to HBO through one of its older services or a third party, you can get HBO Max by signing up on the HBO Max website. This is the most direct way to access the service.
You can also sign up via the HBO Max app on Android, iOS, or Samsung smart TVs.
Other providers who offer HBO Max access include:
- Apple TV Channels
- YouTube TV
Alternatively, you can sign up for HBO Max via your cable provider.
HBO Max is also available through certain internet providers, including:
- Consolidated Communications
You will have to check which packages and plans include HBO Max access as part of their bundled services.
Which HBO Service Should You Subscribe To?
If you’re not currently subscribed to a streaming service for HBO content, HBO Max is the way to go. It’s the same price as HBO Now and offers more content. Of course, you might still use HBO Go if your cable provider doesn’t provide access to HBO Max yet.
However, if you’re looking for an alternative streaming service, there are many others you can choose from. Take a look at our list of the best TV streaming services for more options.