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HBO vs. HBO Max: What's The Difference?

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  • Posted on 06th Sep, 2022 23:21 PM
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Most viewers will want to go with HBO Max because it has more content, but it isn’t available on every platform.

HBO has a long and confusing history with apps and subscription services with names like HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max coming and going over the years. The confusion continues with HBO Max and the HBO app, which have some content overlap, similar pricing, and even use the same website for streaming, but we’ll lay out all the differences to help you decide which is best for you.

Lifewire

Overall Findings

HBO
  • Includes all HBO content.

  • Available on limited streaming devices and via web browser.

  • Doesn’t require cable TV or a subscription to the HBO channel.

HBO Max
  • Includes all HBO content, HBO Originals, and content from many Warner properties including DC.

  • Day-and-date streaming of new Warner Brothers movies.

  • Available on most streaming devices and via web browser.

  • Doesn’t require cable TV or a subscription to the HBO channel.

HBO Max and the HBO app are both streaming services from Warner Brothers. Both include all of the shows, movies, and documentaries that are available on the HBO cable channel, but HBO Max has additional content from other Warner Brothers properties. HBO Max also has original shows and movies not available anywhere else, and it streams Warner Brothers movies the same day they premiere in theaters.

HBO Max has more content than the HBO app, is more widely available, and they’re priced the same. The HBO app has no content advantages over HBO Max nor does it have unique features. There are some niche situations where the HBO Max app isn’t available yet, and the HBO app still is, but HBO Max is the stronger service overall.

Accessibility: HBO Max Is More Widely Available

HBO
  • Stream via the HBO Max website.

  • Limited devices where HBO Max isn’t available.

  • Stream via the HBO Max website.

HBO Max
  • Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and most other streaming platforms.

  • Android and iPhone apps.

When HBO Max first launched, there were some important holdouts where it wasn’t available. HBO and Warner Brothers have patched most of those holes though, and the app is available on most streaming devices, including Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV.

The HBO app has experienced the opposite trajectory. It was available almost everywhere before the launch of HBO Max, but its availability has dwindled. The app is primarily in use on older devices, niche platforms, and TVs where HBO Max either hasn’t been released yet or can’t be released due to compatibility or delivery issues. It’s also still available in a lot of markets outside North America.

Catalog: HBO Max Has Everything HBO Does and More

HBO
  • HBO’s entire catalog of series, documentaries, and movies.

  • About 4,000 hours of content.

HBO Max
  • HBO’s entire catalog of series, documentaries, and movies.

  • HBO Max Originals (movies and series).

  • Content from Warner properties like Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TCM, and DC.

  • Stream new Warner Bros. movies the day they premiere in theaters.

  • Over 10,000 hours of content.

HBO Max has all of HBO’s content in addition to original content only on HBO Max and content from a variety of Warner properties. That means it has everything the HBO app offers in addition to a whole lot more. In fact, HBO Max has more than twice as much content as the HBO app.

In addition to a huge amount of content, HBO Max also streams brand new Warner Bros. movies the same day they premiere in theaters. Unlike some other services, like Disney+, there is no additional fee associated with these day-and-date releases, so you can stream these movies for free on day one.

Cost: Basic Plans Cost the Same

HBO
  • $14.99/mo ad-free

  • No ad-supported option

  • No yearly option

HBO Max
  • $14.99/mo ad-free

  • $9.99/mo ad-supported

  • Yearly plans available

The basic HBO Max and HBO app plans have the same price, which means you pay the exact same amount for HBO Max but get a lot more content. HBO Max also offers additional payment options, including a less expensive version that includes ads and yearly options that bring the price down even further.

Special Features: Both Services Offer Similar Features

HBO
  • Watch in HD.

  • Some movies in 4K UHD.

  • Download episodes and movies to watch later.

HBO Max
  • Watch in HD.

  • Some content available in 4K UHD.

  • Download episodes and movies to watch later.

HBO Max and HBO have the same basic feature set, and they even use the same website. You sign up for and stream both HBO Max and the HBO app on the HBO Max website. Both let you watch in HD if your internet connection supports it, and both have some 4K UHD content, although HBO Max has more. Both services also let you download content to watch later, with the same exact restrictions.

Final Verdict: Is HBO Max Available on Your Devices?

For most people, there is no question: HBO Max provides a lot more content than the HBO app at the same price, so it’s the better value. The only instance where you should select the HBO app instead of HBO Max is if the latter isn’t available on some or all of your devices. In that case, you have a decision to make. If the devices you use the most don’t work with HBO Max, and there are shows you want to see on the HBO app, that will be your best option.

FAQ
  • How do I cancel my HBO Max subscription?

    To cancel an HBO Max subscription, go to Profile > Subscription or Settings (depending on platform) > Manage Subscription > Cancel Subscription. If you're subscribed through a cable or mobile plan provider, log into their service to cancel your subscription.

  • How many people can watch HBO Max at once?

    HBO Max allows up to three people to watch simultaneously on the same account.

  • What is HBO Go?

    HBO Go is a discontinued streaming service that allowed HBO subscribers to watch shows online. It was replaced by the HBO app and HBO Max.

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