skip to main content

Max Review 2023: Price, Shows and Movies, and More

HBO Max has rebranded, and it's not quite the same. See if it has the content you want at the right price.

Editor's choice for on-demand streaming

Max (formerly HBO Max)

Price: $9.99–$19.99/mo. or $99.99–$199.99/yr.

Library: 3,500+ titles

Free trial: N/A

Is Max good?

Max is classic HBO with a boatload of extra content for $9.99—$19.99 a month. You probably know the service better by its old name, HBO Max. The price for a mid-tier ad-free plan ($15.99 a month) hasn’t gone up, but Warner Bros. Discovery has added all of the content from Discovery+ in the mix for the same price.

The “more shows/same cost” factor isn’t all Max has up its sleeve. It’s also the exclusive streaming home to non-HBO sitcom favorites The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And if you absolutely have to relive The Bachelor, it’s there too.

What’s more, Max’s original shows and movies are usually top-tier. By bringing over fan favorites like Doom Patrol and Search Party from other platforms and networks and dropping buzzy series like The Flight Attendant, The Sex Lives of College Girls, and Hacks, Max Originals have improved significantly since HBO Max launched in May 2020.

Unfortunately, though, WBD also has a history of scrapping its Originals, including Westworld and Infinity Train, which you won’t find on the service anymore.

Pros

  • Most HBO series on demand
  • Max Originals
  • Large TV and movie library

Cons

  • Higher price
  • No free trial
  • Spotty performance on older devices
  • HBO Max but worse

You’ll need a fast internet plan for all that streaming

Wanna speed up your download speeds? Enter your zip code below to see top internet providers in your area.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Max promotions and deals

Max doesn’t offer a free trial, but you can try it out for seven days by adding it through your Hulu or Amazon Prime account. When the week’s up, you’ll be billed $15.99 a month unless you cancel the Max add-on.

You can find more discounts in our Max Deals guide.

Max plans

Package Price Hours of content Streams Video Details
Max Ultimate Ad Free $19.99/mo. 10,000 4 4K View plans
Max Ad Free $15.99/mo. 10,000 2 1080p View plans
Max Ad-Lite $9.99/mo. 10,000 2 1080p View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Max is an on-demand streaming TV service from HBO, featuring all of the premium channel’s original series and a deep vault of shows and movies from HBO’s parent company, WarnerMedia. Max also features several Max Original series, including Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That, Gossip Girl, and Peacemaker.

As we’ve mentioned, Max is almost identical to standard streaming HBO in pricing and technical stats—the exception being its extra content and compatible devices. We’ll get to that later.

The switch from HBO Max to Max comes with a catch, though. You’ll no longer be able to watch 4K content with the Ad Free or Ad-Lite tiers. You’ll also get one fewer stream, from three to two. If you want those sweet perks back, you’ll have to fork over $19.99 a month for the Max Ultimate Ad Free tier.

If you liked HBO Max before 2023, you might not like it as much after the rebrand.

Max vs. other streaming services

Service Price Editorial rating Streams Resolution Compatible devices Details
Max $9.99–$19.99/mo. or $99.99–$199.99/yr. 4.5/5 2–4 1080p, 4K 10+ View plans
Netflix $6.99–$19.99/mo. 4.2/5 1–4 1080p, 4K 14+ View plans
Hulu $7.99–$14.99/mo. 4.475/5 2 1080p, 4K 13+ View plans
Prime Video $8.99–$14.99/mo. or $139.00/yr. 4.2/5 3 1080p, 4K 13+ View plans
Disney+ $7.99–$10.99/mo. or $109.99/yr. 4.4/5 4 1080p, 4K 13+ View plans
Apple TV+ $6.99/mo. 4.3/5 6 1080p, 4K 7+ View plans
Paramount+ $5.99–$11.99/mo. or $59.99–$119.99/yr. 4.25/5 2 1080p 12+ View plans
Peacock $5.99–$11.99/mo. or $59.99–$119.99/yr. 4.3/5 3 1080p, 4K 10+ View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

In the ad-free realm, Max is one of the most expensive on-demand streaming services, as is HBO on cable and satellite. If you were previously an HBO streamer, there’s no sticker shock here.

But, if you’re new to HBO, its “premium” price tag might be a bit off-putting. Either way, we say it’s worth it for the depth of content (assuming most of it stays on the platform in the rebranding to Max).

Shows and movies on Max

Max on-demand shows and movies

Max’s biggest selling point is legacy TV content from both HBO and WarnerMedia. Some of these shows are on cable constantly, but you can’t stream Friends and Big Bang Theory reruns on-demand anywhere but Max. Newly added to the Max brand are Discovery+ shows like 90 Day Fiance and Hell’s Kitchen. It remains to be seen whether these shows have the same viewer base as HBO titles, and whether this switch-up makes sense (it doesn’t).

Max is also touting a suite of Max Originals, but we can’t say we trust the company to keep any of them around for very long, considering its track record.

Note that, like standard HBO (cable and streaming), theatrical movies will rotate in and out of Max’s library. We don’t like being rushed, either, but that’s how availability windows work—hurry up and watch Speed again!

Watch HBO Max series free on Tubi and the Roku Channel

Did you know HBO Max (before the rebrand) canceled and removed a lot of popular series? Unfortunately, the only place you’ll find titles like WestworldThe Nevers, and Raised by Wolves is on WB Watchlist, a channel carried by FAST services like The Roku Channel and Tubi. They are no longer available to watch on demand.

Shows on Max (partial list):

  • Game of Thrones
  • The White Lotus
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • The Sopranos
  • Chernobyl
  • The Wire
  • Watchmen
  • Deadwood
  • Rick and Morty
  • Friends
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • South Park

Movies on Max (partial list):

  • The Lord of the Rings movies
  • DC Universe movies
  • Elvis
  • Jurassic Park
  • Die Hard
  • The Matrix
  • Don’t Worry Darling
  • Dune (2021)
  • Barbarian
  • Death on the Nile
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Last Night in Soho

Max original shows and movies

Max’s slate of Max Originals is continually expanding, with over 100 current shows, movies, and documentaries. Two of its highest-profile series, Doom Patrol and Search Party, were appropriated from other WarnerMedia networks (DC Universe and TBS, respectively).

Max original shows (partial list):

  • The Last of Us
  • House of Dragons
  • The Flight Attendant
  • Doom Patrol
  • The Sex Lives of College Girls
  • Our Flag Means Death
  • Tokyo Vice
  • Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
  • Gossip Girl
  • And Just Like That . . .
  • Peacemaker
  • Rap Sh!t
  • Titans
  • I Hate Suzie

Max specs and features

There are a few key technical differences between Max and its predecessors HBO NOW and HBO GO—the best being that it functions more like a real streaming service, not just an extension of the cable/satellite version of HBO.

Multiple streams

Package Included streams Video Offline downloads
Max Ultimate Ad Free 4 4K 100
Max Ad Free 2 1080p 30
Max Ad-Lite 2 1080p None

Unfortunately, the rebrand from HBO Max to Max means that you’ll see a drop in video quality and available streams. Previously, the $15.99/mo. tier got you three streams and 4K viewing, but now you’ll have to fork over $19.99/mo. for the privilege.

Max can be set up for up to five separate viewer profiles, with individual preferences and even show-specific profile pictures. Now you can start some family drama by assigning everyone characters from Succession.

Max allows downloads for offline mobile viewing, a convenience that cabled-bundled HBO previously didn’t offer. The $9.99 ad-supported Max Ad-Lite, however, doesn’t do offline downloads—another strike against it.

The term “Ad-Lite” also doesn’t inspire confidence, implying the company might add another “Ad-Heavy” tier down the road.

Max supported devices vs. the competition

Device HBO Max
START Amazon Fire Cube, Stick, TV END
START Android phones, tablets END
Android TV
Apple TV (4th gen.)
Apple TV 4K
Chromecast, Chromecast with Google TV
Echo Show
iPhone and iPad
LG TVs (select models)
Nintendo Switch
NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro
PC, Mac Web browsers
PlayStation 3, 4, 5
Roku Ultra, Express, Premiere, Stick, TV
TiVo Stream
Samsung TVs (select models)
Wii
Xbox 360
Xfinity Flex

Data effective as of post date.

Max is available on most streaming devices, though performance quality can be spotty on older gear.

Max video and audio quality

Like most on-demand services, Max streams in 1080p HD and 4K UHD (although the latter is paywalled behind a premium tier). And yes, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is supposed to look like that.

Max app user experience

Max’s new rebranding comes with a new app, so fellow CableTV.com writer Olivia Bono is here to provide some first impressions of the Max app experience:

As of May 23, 2023, the HBO Max app no longer works. Unfortunately, the switch to Max is more than just a new name—you’ll have to download the entirely new Max app to keep enjoying Max content. You’ll have to search for the Max app yourself, though, because the HBO Max homepage currently looks like this:

A purple iPad page with the "HBO Max" logo at the top and a message that says "Sorry, HBO Max isn't available in your region yet.
This is what HBO Max users saw when they logged in on May 23, 2023.

The new Max is, at the time of launch, just HBO Max but worse.

Notably missing is the side menu, which used to provide users with a quick way to access categories and Warner Bros. Discovery brands like Sesame Street and Studio Ghibli. Now, all navigation happens in the top row with five labels: Home, Series, Movies, HBO, and New & Notable.

A black-background webpage with the "Max" logo in the corner, and a suite of titles including South Park and What Am I Eating? With Zooey Deschanel.
The Max homepage on web on the day of launch.

WBD justified the rebrand to “Max” by saying that HBO wasn’t supposed to be their main brand anymore, but it’s the only brand you’re able to view from the homepage. If you want to view content by brands, you now have to click the magnifying glass “Search” icon.

Studio Ghibli, Sesame Street, and even Cartoon Network are much farther down in the brands list than you’d expect, and Wizarding World is very prominent for a dying franchise. The Wizarding World—that is, Harry Potter—page is bizarrely extensive now, including categories of unrelated titles with names like “For the Courageous Gryffindors” and “For the Ambitious Slytherins.” It would probably have been extremely cool in 2011.

The Max app has a lot of downgrades from its HBO predecessor, but perhaps the most glaring is the color. Gone is that signature HBO Max purple, replaced by a blue that will have you confusing it with Paramount+, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and probably Zoom.

And to make matters worse, they still haven’t added the fourth season of BBC’s Ghosts. 0/10, Max.

Final take: Is Max worth it?

You get more content with Max for the same price as HBO on cable—hello! Yes, $15.99 a month seems steep, but Max is worth it for HBO fans looking to ditch their cable companies.

We’d say it’s also worth it for HBO newbies who might be finally pulled into the subscriber fold by Max’s massive library of non-HBO shows. If the presence of all four seasons of The O.C. leads you to check out HBO’s Euphoria, cool (be warned—they’re very different teen dramas).

You’ll just have to put up with a slightly worse user experience after the rebrand to Max.

Max FAQ

Can I subscribe to Max through a provider?

Max is available through over 70 cable, satellite, live TV streaming, and mobile providers, including Cox, Xfinity, Hulu, YouTube TV, and DIRECTV. This just applies to billing, however; unless you’re on the company’s website, you’ll still need the Max app to actually watch the content.

Did HBO Max replace HBO NOW and HBO GO?

HBO has discontinued HBO GO, which was a free streaming service for HBO cable and satellite subscribers. HBO NOW, a separate streaming service from cable/satellite HBO or HBO GO, became HBO Max, which became just Max.

Still with us?

Are there kids’ shows on Max?

Despite HBO’s perception as an “adult” premium channel, Max has quite a bit of children’s programming from Sesame Street, Cartoon Network, and Looney Tunes. However, Warner Bros. Discovery often cancels and removes kids’ animated content from its platform, which might disappoint your kids.

Some of Max’s remaining kids’ shows include these:

  • Adventure Time
  • The Amazing World of Gumball
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Care Bears: Unlock the Magic
  • Codename: Kids Next Door
  • Craig of the Creek
  • Meet the Batwheels
  • Over the Garden Wall
  • Steven Universe
  • We Bare Bears

Does Max have live sports?

Yes, Max streams occasional live U.S. Soccer games featuring the USMNT and USWNT. The streaming service will likely add more live sports over the next year as Warner Bros. Discovery continues to refine its strategy. The company already airs baseball, basketball, and hockey games across its TBS, TNT, and truTV channels.

Methodology

Our experts employed hours of hands-on testing with the service previously known as HBO Max, rating the streaming service on bang for your buck, reliability, features, and customer satisfaction. Then we matched up HBO Max with other on-demand streaming services head to head to give a clearer picture of its strengths and weaknesses. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

Don't miss an update

Stay updated on the latest products and services anytime anywhere.