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HBO subscribers: You can get HBO Max and stream The Little Things today for free

You may already have HBO Max for no extra charge. Here's how to find out.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Eli Blumenthal
David Katzmaier
4 min read

Denzel Washington stars in The Little Things, which hits HBO Max on Jan. 29.

WarnerMedia via screenshot

Wonder Woman 1984 may have left HBO Max on Jan. 24, but those looking for something new to watch on WarnerMedia's streaming service will have plenty of options in the coming months. As it announced last year, all Warner Bros. theatrical films in 2021 will be concurrently released in theaters and on HBO Max. The next big release, The Little Things, starring Denzel Washington and Jared Leto, hits the streamer on Friday. 

The good news is that you might already have access to HBO Max and not even know it. If you currently subscribe to HBO via your cable or satellite provider, you can probably get HBO Max without paying anything extra. 

The only catch is that you can't watch HBO Max using your cable box. Instead, you'll need to watch on a smart TV or streaming device -- or a Comcast Xfinity box -- using the HBO Max app and your home internet connection. It works just like the app for Netflix, Hulu or Disney Plus: you sign in and watch on-demand anytime you want. The HBO Max app is available on RokuFire TVApple TV, Android TV, PlayStation, Xbox and numerous other devices.

Read more: Roku and HBO Max finally strike a deal

So what if you don't subscribe to HBO already as part of your cable bill? Then you'll need to pay for HBO Max directly at $15 per month if you want to watch The Little Things or other upcoming releases like Godzilla vs. Kong, The Suicide Squad or Dune

Here's how you can get it.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What is HBO Max? 

HBO Max is a streaming service from AT&T's WarnerMedia that offers every show and movie available on HBO and adds a host of exclusive content from other WarnerMedia properties such as DC Comics. In addition to big theatrical movies like Wonder Woman, it's home to popular shows like Friends, The Big Bang Theory and Rick and Morty; recent and classic films as well as kids' content from Looney Toons and Sesame Street; and new exclusives like Zack Snyder's Justice League, which will arrive later this year. The HBO Max catalog is simply massive.

I get HBO from my TV provider. How do I get HBO Max?

HBO said last year that about 29 million people have access to HBO Max at no added cost because they already have regular HBO, but it revealed on Jan. 27 that only 17.2 million HBO Max accounts were active, a number that includes people who sign up for HBO Max directly as opposed to upgrading an existing HBO account. 

All of the following cable, satellite or streaming companies will let HBO subscribers get HBO Max at no extra charge.

  • DirecTV/AT&T TV
  • Hulu
  • YouTube TV
  • Comcast
  • Charter/Spectrum
  • Altice (Optimum and SuddenLink)
  • Verizon
  • Cox Communications 
  • NCTC (WOW, Atlantic Broadband, RCN, Grande Communications & Wave and MCTV)
  • Don't see your provider above? Here's the full list (click "cable and satellite TV providers")

If your provider is supported and you currently subscribe to HBO, you have access to HBO Max. Here's what you'll have to do to watch it.

The sign-in process varies according to which device you have, and you may already have a username or password that you used with the HBO Go app, which has been largely retired. In that case, you might be prompted to use that password instead.

Note that the HBO Max is available on phones , tablets and computers too, including Apple iPhone , iPad and iPod Touch (with iOS 12.2 or later), Android phone and tablets (with Android OS 5 or later), Amazon Fire tablets (fourth generation and later) and Windows and Mac computers via various browsers. Game consoles such as the Xbox One, Series S and Series X as well as the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 all also have HBO Max apps. 

If you don't have one of the supported TV devices you can still watch HBO Max by streaming from a phone, tablet or computer to a TV. Here's how.

Watch this: Google runs into antitrust trouble, Roku gets HBO Max

If I don't get HBO Max from a provider, what should I do? 

You'll have to subscribe to HBO Max directly.

The price is similar to what most cable providers charge for basic HBO -- $15 per month -- but HBO Max is currently running a special deal through March 1: You can get a six-month HBO Max subscription for $70. That works out to about $11.67 a month, a savings of about 22%.

That deal is good enough that, assuming you want to keep HBO Max for six months, you might even want to cancel your current HBO or subscription and take the new deal instead (assuming you're not in the middle of a contract with your TV provider). Again, you'll still get access to every TV show and movie on regular HBO, in addition to all the exclusives on HBO Max. You'll just have to stream it all via the app instead of using your cable box.