HBO Max: What It Is and How to Watch It

Everything you need to know about the biggest HBO streaming platform

Looking for a new streaming service? HBO Max could be what you need.

What Is HBO Max? Where Does It Get Shows and Movies?

HBO Max is an on-demand, subscription-based media streaming service from Warner Media Entertainment that features a selection of titles pulled from Warner's massive library of movies and TV shows, in addition to content from other Warner Media brands like HBO.

That means it has movies and TV shows produced by Warner Bros., all of the same content you can find on HBO Go and HBO Now, and content from the likes of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, TBS, TNT, and more. The service also features exclusive content, like The Flight Attendant, Green Lantern, and the Gossip Girl reboot.

In practice, HBO Max is a lot like Netflix, Disney+, and Peacock. It's a streaming service that allows you to watch movies and TV shows on-demand wherever you want.

If you're at home, you can stream through their website on your computer or use a streaming device to watch on your television. And if you don't want to be tied down, you can stream to your phone or tablet using the HBO Max app. All you need is a subscription to HBO Max and access to high-speed internet.

You don't need a cable subscription, or a subscription to the HBO channel, to access this service.

What's the Difference Between HBO Now, HBO Go, and HBO Max?

HBO already had two streaming services before announcing HBO Max, so it's only natural that some people find comparing HBO Max to HBO Go, or for that matter to HBO Now, a little confusing.

Here's what you should know:

  • HBO Go was a streaming service available to HBO cable subscribers; it's been replaced by HBO Max.
  • HBO Now has been rebranded as HBO. It includes all of HBO's movies and TV shows.
  • HBO Max includes all of the same content you can find on the HBO app, plus a massive library of content from other Warner Media properties.

How to Sign Up for HBO Max

If you're interested in signing up for HBO Max, first make sure you don't already have it. If you subscribe to HBO on cable or had HBO Go, you don't need to sign up.

If you're a non-cable HBO (formerly HBO Now), you might consider switching to HBO Max, which offers significantly more programming for the same monthly price.

  1. Navigate to HBOMax.com.

  2. Select SIGN UP.

    Signing up for HBO Max.

    If you subscribe to HBO through a supported provider, you will have access to HBO Max at no extra charge. Select SIGN IN to find out.

  3. To set up an account, fill in your name, email address, and create a password. Then click CREATE ACCOUNT.

    Signing up for HBO MAX.
  4. Next, add a payment method, and follow the prompts to finish.

What Content Can You Watch on HBO Max?

With an HBO Max subscription, you can stream the entire HBO library, including original series and movies, documentaries, comedy specials, and a rotating library of new and classic movies. If you're an HBO or HBO Now subscriber, you'll see all of the same content you're familiar with on HBO Max.

HBO Max shows.

In addition to shows like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos, HBO Max also includes a massive library of shows from various Warner Media properties and partners, including Rick and Morty, Friends, and The Big Bang Theory. They've also secured streaming rights to shows like South Park and the entire Studio Ghibli library.

While most of the content on HBO Max consists of shows that have aired elsewhere, the service also produces original content that isn't available anywhere else. For example, if you want to see what happened after the conclusion of Cartoon Network's Adventure Time or the CW's long-running Gossip Girl, the continuations to both of those series are only available through HBO Max.

In line with HBO's decision to bankroll Sesame Street in exchange for timed exclusivity, the service will also include a lot of content geared toward kids, like Looney Tunes: Back in Action movies like My Neighbor Totoro.

How to Watch HBO Max

The main way to watch HBO Max is through the HBO Max website, which features a streaming media player that works in most web browsers. It also allows users to set up and switch between multiple profiles and includes other features that are more or less in line with other streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.

Watching HBO Max on Mobile Devices and Televisions

In addition to the website, you can also watch the service through the HBO Max app. The official HBO Max app is available on Android, iOS, and most television streaming devices.

HBO Max pictured on a phone.
HBO/Warner

The HBO Max app will allow you to create profiles for multiple users, including protected child profiles, and receive custom recommendations for each user. Instead of relying only on algorithms, you'll actually be able to receive recommendations from people HBO Max refers to as "talent and influencers," including short videos explaining their recommendations.

Other features include separate watch lists and recommendations for each user, an interface that HBO Max describes as "swipey," and the ability to download shows and movies for offline viewing.

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