HBO Max Review 2022: Price, Shows and Movies, and More

After hundreds of hours of testing, we can safely say we love HBO Max. See if it has the content you want at the right price.

Every HBO series on demand

Price: $9.99–$14.99/mo.

Standout features: Every HBO series on demand, HBO Max Originals, Large TV and movie library

Is HBO Max good?

HBO Max is classic HBO with a boatload of extra content for the same $14.99 a month price (or $9.99 with ads). If you’re already an HBO fan, it doesn’t get any more “good” than that.

The “more shows/same cost” factor isn’t all HBO Max has up its sleeve. It’s also now 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, HBO Max’s original shows and movies are starting to blossom. By bringing over fan favorites like Doom Patrol and Search Party from other platforms and networks and dropping buzzy series like The Flight Attendant, Made for Love, and Hacks, HBO Max Originals have improved significantly since the streaming service launched in May 2020.

The biggest selling point of HBO Max could be its ongoing slate of major movies being streamed the same day as their theatrical releases: Godzilla vs. Kong, Dune, Matrix 4, and more premiered on HBO Max in 2021 at no extra cost, and more are coming in 2022.

HBO Max pros and cons

Pros

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

Cons

  • Higher price
  • No free trial
  • Spotty performance on older devices

HBO Max promotions and deals

HBO Max doesn’t offer a free trial, but you can try it out for seven days by adding it through your Hulu account. When the week’s up, you’ll be billed $14.99 a month unless you cancel the HBO Max add-on.

You can find more discounts in our HBO Max Deals guide.

HBO Max plans

Package Price Hours of content Streams Video Details
HBO Max $14.99/mo. 10,000 3 1080p, 4K View plans
HBO Max (with ads) $9.99/mo. 10,000 3 1080p, 4K View plans

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

HBO 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. HBO Max also features several Max Original series, including Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That, Gossip Girl, and Station Eleven.

As we’ve mentioned, HBO 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.

Also, about HBO Max’s recent addition of an ad-supported $9.99-a-month tier: We don’t think a $5 discount is nearly enough for us to put up with commercials in HBO Max and HBO content. It’s a nice gesture, but 50 years of ad-free Home Box Office (that’s what it used to be called, kids) has kind of conditioned us against it.

Also, the ad-supported version of HBO Max doesn’t allow you access to the same-day theatrical-release Warner Bros. movies that the regular version does. Boo!

HBO Max vs. other streaming services

Service Price Editorial rating Streams Resolution Compatible devices Details
HBO Max $9.99–$14.99/mo. 4.5/5 3 1080p, 4K 10+ View plans
Netflix $9.99–$19.99/mo. 4.33/5 1–4 1080p, 4K 14+ View plans
Hulu $6.99–12.99/mo. 4.22/5 2 1080p, 4K 13+ View plans
Prime Video $8.99–$11.99/mo. 4.19/5 3 1080p, 4K 13+ View plans
Disney+ $7.99/mo. 4.61/5 4 1080p, 4K 13+ View plans
Apple TV+ $4.99/mo. 3.93/5 6 1080p, 4K 7+ View plans
Paramount+ $4.99–$9.99/mo. 4.07/5 2 1080p 12+ View plans
Peacock Free–$9.99/mo. 4.33/5 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, HBO 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.

Shows and movies on HBO Max

HBO Max on-demand shows and movies

HBO 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 HBO Max. The same goes for Doctor Who and Dexter’s Laboratory.

Cool stuff, but not without some filler: we can’t imagine there’s much appetite for all 15 seasons of MAD TV, or even 15 minutes of early-years HBO originals like Tanner ’88 and Arli$$. Still, there’s enough content here to challenge Netflix and Disney+ to a deep-dive contest.

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

Shows on HBO Max (partial list):

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

Movies on HBO Max (partial list):

  • The Lord of the Rings movies
  • DC Universe movies
  • Jurassic Park
  • Inception
  • Die Hard
  • The Matrix
  • Dunkirk
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Inception
  • The Invisible Man
  • Tenet
  • Contagion

HBO Max original shows and movies

HBO Max’s slate of Max Originals is a work in progress at the moment, with only eight current exclusive shows. Two of its highest-profile “new” series, Doom Patrol and Search Party, were appropriated from other WarnerMedia networks (DC Universe and TBS, respectively).

New Max Originals on the horizon include a Gossip Girl revival, a big-budget Dune adaptation, and a new Conan O’Brien variety series. There’s also a Green Lantern series in the works, because apparently no lessons were learned from the 2011 film.

HBO Max original shows (partial list):

  • The Flight Attendant
  • Doom Patrol
  • Search Party
  • Love Life
  • Raised by Wolves
  • Hacks
  • Made for Love
  • And Just Like That . . .
  • Station Eleven
  • Ten-Year-Old Tom
  • The Way Down
  • FBoy Island

HBO Max specs and features

There are a few key technical differences between HBO 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

Service Included streams Upgrades Offline downloads
HBO Max 3 None Yes (HBO Max, $14.99/mo.)

Three simultaneous streams on the same account through different devices is pretty standard for on-demand streaming. The lowest we’ve seen is one stream for the most basic Netflix plan, while the highest is Apple TV+ at six—a rare case of Apple giving something away for cheap.

Unlike previous HBO streaming services, HBO Max can be set up for up to five separate viewer profiles, with individual preferences and even color-coding.

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

HBO Max supported devices vs. the competition

Device HBO Max
Amazon Fire Cube, Stick, TV
Android phones, tablets
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.

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

HBO Max video and audio quality

Like most on-demand services, HBO Max streams in 1080p HD and 4K UHD. And yes, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is supposed to look like that.

HBO Max homescreen screenshot
HBO Max's home screen

HBO Max’s interface is a familiar mix of graphic rectangles, not far removed from what you get with Netflix, Disney+, or the old HBO NOW—only with more deep purples and blues.

HBO Max homescreen screenshot
HBO Max's DC hub

What is more unique to HBO Max is its “hubs,” which break up its catalogue into nine content channels: HBO, DC, Sesame Workshop, Classics Curated by Turner Classic Movies, Studio Ghibli, Cartoon Network Collection, Adult Swim Collection, Crunchyroll Collection, and Looney Tunes. Nice, but we’d suggest adding “The One with All the Friends” to make an even 10.

Final take: Is HBO Max worth it?

You get more content with HBO Max for the same price as HBO on cable—hello! Yes, $14.99 a month seems steep, but we think HBO Max earns its price tag (we’re not into HBO Max with ads at any price, though).

We’d say it’s also worth it for HBO newbies who might be finally pulled into the subscriber fold by HBO 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).

Get HBO Max

Methodology

Our experts employed hours of hands-on testing with 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.

HBO Max FAQ

Can I subscribe to HBO Max through a provider?

HBO 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 online at HBOMax.com, you’ll still need the HBO Max app to actually watch the content.

HBO Max is not available through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels.

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, is now HBO Max.

Some HBO NOW subscribers were automatically switched to HBO Max upon its launch. HBO Max is now the only HBO streaming service.

Are there kids’ shows on HBO Max?

Despite HBO’s perception as an “adult” premium channel, HBO Max has quite a bit of children’s programming from Sesame Street, Cartoon Network, and Looney Tunes. Some of HBO Max’s kids’ shows include these:

  • Sesame Street (from HBO)
  • The Not-So-Late Show with Elmo
  • Craftopia
  • Looney Tunes
  • Adventure Time: Distant Lands
  • Esme & Roy
  • Summer Camp Island
  • The Fungies
  • Jellystone 
  • Little Ellen 

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