The $15-per-month streaming service is a direct response to Netflix, beefing up the HBO catalog with many extra films and reveals whereas offering a a lot slicker expertise in comparison with HBO’s present streaming apps. Its arrival ought to make the streaming wars way more fascinating, whereas giving cord-cutters (and cable holdouts) yet one more streaming service to consider.
If you’re nonetheless unsure about what HBO Max has to supply, right here’s what it’s essential know:
It’s HBO, after which some
Until at the moment, HBO has provided two streaming apps: HBO Go for people who already get HBO via their pay TV supplier, and HBO Now for individuals who need to subscribe on a standalone foundation.
HBO Max can have all the identical status programming as these apps, and on the identical $15-per-month worth as HBO Now, nevertheless it’s padded out with an in depth catalog of extra films and TV reveals, primarily from the WarnerMedia catalog. Those embody movies from DC, full trilogies for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, basic TV reveals similar to Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, cartoons from Looney Tunes, and a small number of anime from Crunchyroll.
AT&T, which owns WarnerMedia, has additionally secured some programming from outdoors its catalog, together with each episode of South Park, the whole collection of Big Bang Theory, all 11 seasons of Doctor Who, and animation from Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, et al). All instructed, HBO Max can have 10,000 hours of programming, and it additionally has its personal authentic collection on the way in which.
In a way, HBO Max is the closest factor but to a direct Netflix various. The worth is comparable (Netflix’s HD plan prices $13 per thirty days), there aren’t any ads, and it’s aiming for a similar broad vary of tastes and age teams. By distinction, Disney+ and Hulu have narrower audiences—the previous interesting extra to households, the latter being extra for adults—and in comparison with Amazon Prime, HBO Now can have a a lot deeper bench of critically acclaimed TV reveals.
You would possibly get it without cost
If you’re already paying for HBO, there’s probability you may get HBO Max at no additional cost. HBO Now subscribers can entry Max without cost, as can people who get HBO by way of Hulu, YouTube TV, AT&T, Spectrum, Altice, Optimum, Suddenlink, Verizon, Cox, and sure smaller suppliers.
AT&T can be offering HBO Max free for individuals who subscribe to its Unlimited Elite wi-fi plan, gigabit house web service, “Premiere” tiers of AT&T TV or DirecTV, U-Verse 400+ channel plans, and AT&T TV Now’s Max tier. Some AT&T wi-fi plans are additionally providing a yr of Max without cost.
In most instances, you’ll must obtain the HBO Max app and login with no matter account you presently use to entry HBO. But in the event you’re subscribed to HBO Now and are utilizing iOS, Android, Android TV, or Apple TV, you must see an choice to convert the Now app to Max—no additional obtain or sign-in needed.
Some streaming platforms and TV service suppliers aren’t on board
For machine assist, HBO Max works with iOS, Android, Android TV, Apple TV (fourth-gen or later), Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung TVs (2016 and later), Chromebooks, and net browsers at launch.
As of May 26, Amazon Fire TV and Roku gadgets are conspicuously absent from that listing. To watch HBO on these gadgets, you’ll nonetheless want to make use of the HBO Now app or subscribe via Amazon Channels or The Roku Channel. Either manner, you received’t get the additional content material on supply at HBO Max.
Same goes in the event you’re subscribed to HBO via Comcast. To entry HBO in your streaming machine, you’ll nonetheless want HBO Go, and a completely separate app that doesn’t embody the expanded HBO Max catalog.
There’s no reside TV
Much like the present HBO Now service, HBO Max is strictly on demand, so it received’t carry HBO’s reside channel feeds. For these, you’ll nonetheless must subscribe to HBO individually, whether or not it’s by way of cable, satellite tv for pc, a reside TV streaming service similar to Hulu + Live TV, or streaming “channel” stores similar to Amazon Channels or The Roku Channel. (That stated, in case your supplier additionally gives entry to the HBO Max app, you’ll get the most effective of each worlds at no additional cost.)
Yes, you may obtain movies
Joining the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Apple TV+, HBO Max will assist downloads on cell gadgets. We’re nonetheless awaiting clarification on what varieties of restrictions could apply.
There’s no 4K, HDR, or Dolby Atmos (but)
Just like HBO Now, HBO Max is proscribed to 1080p streaming at launch. A spokesperson stated 4K, HDR, and Dolby Atmos are all on the roadmap, however didn’t present timing.
The app seems to be fairly slick
As for the HBO Max app itself, it seems to be like a serious enchancment over the present HBO Now and HBO Go apps. The prime of the house display has a carousel of featured content material, under which you’ll have fast entry to reveals you’re already watching. Scrolling additional down reveals suggestions, editorial picks, and hyperlinks into varied model hubs inside the HBO Max catalog. You may also search inside the app, which is sensible sufficient to grasp phrases like “documentary series” (which might keep away from displaying documentary movies).
HBO is large on the thought of utilizing shapes to focus on various kinds of content material. Square-shaped icons signify private picks, similar to lately watched packages or your watchlist. Vertical posters symbolize featured films and reveals, and wider rectangles symbolize episodes in a collection.
“As users, we are very averse to row after row after row of rectangles,” stated Andy Forssell, govt vice chairman and common supervisor of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer enterprise.
In the long run, you’ll additionally see extra round icons on the house display, representing strategies that come from people as a substitute of algorithms. The app’s editors will highlight specific reveals in some instances with descriptive textual content, and Forssell instructed that content material creators and even different customers might begin suggesting issues to look at sooner or later.
“We think data is critical, and we’ve invested a lot in analytics and smart use of that data, but we think human curation has been underweighted a little bit,” Forssell stated.
Casual password sharing isn’t a priority
HBO Max will enable as much as three gadgets to stream on the identical time, and can monitor for excessive instances of abuse. That stated, don’t anticipate any type of strict enforcement towards informal sharing between members of the family or shut mates. The concept that some sweeping trade crackdown on password sharing is imminent continues to be overblown.
“If a kid goes away to college, I’m not interested in having a platoon of lawyers decide, is that kid in the household anymore? We’re not going to be draconian about that,” Forssell stated. “But if the Russians have managed to scoop up a ton of passwords and are reselling them, that we need to help protect people from, so that’s where we’re going to focus our efforts.”
Everyone will get a profile
HBO Max will enable as much as 5 person profiles per account, every with their very own suggestions and watchlists. The service may also assist kids’s profiles, with the choice to dam out sure movie or TV content material scores.
There’s a PIN system for youngsters’s profiles as effectively, although it really works backwards from what you would possibly anticipate: Adult profiles are usually not locked behind a PIN, however when you choose a kids’s profile, the kid’s profile turns into locked in till a PIN is entered, at which level all profiles turn into accessible once more.
You can search with Siri or Google Assistant
Forssell stated that each time potential, HBO Max will attempt to assist platform-specific search and navigation options. On Apple TV, meaning you may search the HBO Max catalog with Siri and browse packages via the Apple TV app. HBO Max may also assist Google Assistant search on Android TV gadgets.
No ad-supported model this yr
Although AT&T has talked about providing each ad-free and ad-supported variations of HBO Max, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar told Deadline last month that the latter received’t arrive till 2021. It’s nonetheless unclear what the worth of an ad-free HBO Max can be in any occasion.
This is admittedly a tangential level, nevertheless it’s been considerably amusing to see streaming providers have interaction in a little bit of a color war. While HBO Now opted for black branding, HBO Max exists on a spectrum of purples and deep blues, which nobody can accuse of trying like Netflix or Hulu.
“There are some parameters that are simple: Red is taken, green is taken, so first of all, you land where you land,” Forssell stated, including that the brand new scheme was meant to really feel a bit youthful than HBO’s grittier branding. “It’s a crazily subjective decision, but we felt that purple felt right.”
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