Your HBO Now is Now HBO Max, Here's How to Access It on Apple TV

HBO's streaming service gets a huge upgrade with tons more content

Your existing HBO Now subscription is getting a big (and mostly automatic) upgrade, meaning a lot more streaming content, at no extra cost, to you. Make sure you're ready for it.


Just in time to replenish your streaming needs (admit it, you've watched all of Netflix and Hulu), HBO Max, a tantalizing combo of HBO, Warner Media Library and Harry Potter, has arrived.

Remind me what it is again: HBO Max replaces HBO Now, the original HBO streaming service that, for $14.99 a month, provided viewers with unfettered access to all you could watch through a traditional HBO cable subscription. HBO Max is all of that plus content from HBO's parent company, Warner Media, which happens to own shows like Friends and Rick and Morty, and the DC characters like Superman and Wonder Woman.

Where is it: HBO Max is an app on Apple TV, Google Chrome, and other smart TV streaming systems.

What if you already have HBO Now? Make sure your streaming box software is up-to-date, and make sure you have the system set to automatically update streaming service apps.

Apple TV Settings
Let Apple TV automatically update apps. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

The Apple TV Experience: In the case of Apple TV, I first had to upgrade my box to tvOS 13.4.5 and double check that it was set to automatically update its apps. After that, it took a couple of streaming box restarts (you can do that through system settings) for the purple HBO Max app icon to appear.

HBO Max app on Apple TV
The new HBO Max app on Apple TV looks different, but familiar.  Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Small hurdles: HBO Max does look and work a bit differently than HBO Now. It starts buy asking your permission to show all of HBO Max or just HBO (they're the same price, so select HBO Max).

HBO Max Profiles
You now have the option of setting profiles on HBO Max.  Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Protect the kids: Unlike HBO Now, HBO Max lets you create profiles and adjust access settings for each one, meaning adults have full access to the HBO Max library, and children would have much more limited, kid-friendly access (no need for them to see Game of Thrones, is there?).

It's different: Navigation is a mix of familiar and new. There's a content carousel at the top that's somewhat reminiscent of the old service. Otherwise, it's new colors and groupings, including content Hubs that include Sesame Workshop, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, and the DC universe.

HBO Max Hubs
One of HBO Max's new features is Hubs of content.  Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

What's on there? In addition to the surprise inclusion of the entire Harry Potter movie library, HBO Max has a small collection of original content including the crafting competition show Craftopia, and Elmo's talk show, The Not Too Late Show with Elmo.

Harry Potter on HBO Max
Harry Potter, all of it, is on HBO Max.  Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Bottom Line: You have a brand new streaming option. If you're an HBO Now user, it's an instant update (with the instructions above). If you've never tried HBO Now, HBO Max is as easy as any app. And if you're wondering where Friends went on Netflix, it's right here on HBO Max.

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