What the HBO Max Rebrand Means for Your Streaming Account
Here's an idea of what to expect amid changes to the streaming service's name, face and library.
Kourtnee covers TV streaming services and home entertainment news and reviews at CNET. She previously worked as an entertainment reporter at Showbiz Cheat Sheet where she wrote about film, television, music, celebrities, and streaming platforms.
ExpertiseKourtnee is a longtime cord-cutter who's subscribed to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Crunchyroll, Sling, Spotify and more. As a real-life user of these services, she tracks the latest developments in streaming, the newest reCredentials
Though Kourtnee hasn't won any journalism awards yet, she's been a Netflix streaming subscriber since 2012 and knows the magic of its hidden codes.
Meara covers streaming service news for CNET. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Texan, as well as for state and local magazines. When she's not writing, she likes to dote over her cat, sip black coffee and try out new horror movies.
HBO Max will soon become Max, a revamped streaming service, according to Warner Bros. Discovery. The reworked platform will house merged content from HBO Max and Discovery Plus, including dramas such as Euphoria and Succession next to greige-tinted Fixer Upper and other unscripted series. Along with the new name comes a new tagline: The One to Watch.
The company is touting a larger library and a better user interface, but you may have some questions about how all these changes will affect your existing account. And newcomers may be curious about what's up with Max and what the service has to offer. Here are answers to some of your questions.
When will Max roll out in my country?
US customers will have access to Max on May 23. Users in Latin America will see the rollout in fall 2023, with certain Europe and Asia markets receiving Max access in early to mid 2024.
Once the service launches, it will automatically upgrade with the new Max logo, interface and features. According to Warner Bros. Discovery, existing subscribers will see their profiles, billing information and watch lists seamlessly transfer to the updated version and they'll only have to open the app to use the platform. However, the company said some users will be prompted to download the new version of the streaming app.
New Max customers can either sign up for HBO Max now, or wait to subscribe to the new service on May 23 to start streaming instantly.
The price will remain the same as current HBO Max subscriptions, but there's one new premium plan that will cost more than the standard two options. Max Ad-Lite will cost $10 per month and come with HD and two streams, while ad-free Max is priced at $16 monthly for HD, two streams and 30 downloads.
When the new service arrives in May, there will also be a $20-per-month Ultimate Plan, which offers four concurrent streams, 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos sound and 100 downloads. This is a change, as HBO Max currently offers three streams for both plans with the ability to watch some titles in 4K Ultra HD. Yes, you'll have to pay more for 4K, but some existing HBO Max features will still be available for up to six months after Max's launch.
Note that Discovery Plus will continue to be a standalone streaming option. It's currently priced at $5 a month for the ad-supported plan and $7 per month without ads.
What TV shows and movies will be on Max?
Warner Bros. Discovery's streaming offering will bring together content from HBO Max and Discovery Plus. Max will have HBO originals, Warner Bros. movies, Max originals, DC Comics and Harry Potter alongside programming from brands including Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC and ID. The entire HBO Max library will be found on Max with a selected collection of Discovery titles.
WBD's head of content, Kathleen Finch, and Max's content boss, Casey Bloys, emphasized that family and children's content will also take center stage on the new service, with an aim at audiences of all ages. Viewers will get more animation and entertainment releases from popular brands like Cartoon Network, Hanna-Barbera, Boomerang, Looney Toons and DC. This includes a new animated version of Peter & the Wolf from U2's Bono.
Subscribers can also expect films to find Max as their streaming home after their theatrical runs. Shazam! Fury of the Gods will arrive on launch day, and Blue Beetle, Dune 2, Barbie, and The Flash are among the other movie titles you'll find on the platform. The Flash will hit Max in the fall.
Is there a way to opt out of Discovery or HBO Max content?
No. But you can choose to have a standalone Discovery Plus subscription instead of subscribing to Max. While there won't be a separate version for HBO Max and HBO-branded content, Warner Bros. Discovery says the updated app will have an interface that's more tailored to a user's personal tastes. It'll also feature genre hubs and a new content navigation menu at the top of the screen to make it easier to find what you want.
According to the company's global streaming boss, J.B. Perrette, Max will "have differentiated and high-performing personalized experiences including elements such as 'Because You Watched' recommendations, and immersive hero images tailored for each user." He indicated that the app's recommendation engine will eventually learn to surface content that matches your viewing habits.
Should I cancel my current HBO Max or Discovery Plus subscription if I have both?
There's no need to cancel your subscriptions right now unless you're no longer enjoying them. All existing HBO Max subscribers will transition to Max when the app relaunches in May. Max will include Discovery Plus content, but Discovery Plus will also remain a separate, lower-priced streaming option that has content only from Discovery networks. If you like Max's fully merged lineup, then you may want to wait and drop Discovery Plus in May.
What if I get HBO or HBO Max through cable?
If you currently receive HBO Max or HBO through a mobile carrier or your cable/satellite TV provider, you'll have access to the updated Max app. You won't have to cancel and resubscribe. Upon launch, it'll be available through AT&T, Hulu, Cox, Xfinity, Verizon, DirecTV, Prime Video channels and other services. You can view the list on the Max website. Max will be accessible on most devices, including TVs, gaming consoles and mobile phones.
If you're new to Max or Discovery Plus, you can sign up now or wait until May 23.