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Max Review 2024: Cost, Plans, and More

HBO Max has rebranded with a new app, and it’s not quite the same. Our expert review has everything you need to know about Max (The One to Watch for HBO).

DC, Studio Ghibli, Adult Swim, and Discovery content


Price: $9.99–$20.99/mo. or $99.99–$209.99/yr.

Free trial: Up to 7 days

Library: ~35,000 hrs.

Plan Price Streams Resolution Details
Ultimate Ad-Free $20.99/mo. 4 4K View Plan
Ad-Free $16.99/mo. 2 1080p View Plan
With Ads $9.99/mo. 2 1080p View Plan

Is Max good?

Max (formerly HBO Max) is still pretty good. That said, HBO Max was once one of the best streaming services on the ‘net—so good, we named it our editor’s choice for on-demand streaming—but sadly, those days have passed.

So, what happened to this once-beloved service? Well, the downward trend began when HBO Max removed dozens of original titles back in 2022. HBO’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), isn’t the only company to remove original streaming content—previously assumed to live on the platform forever—but it was the first to do so.

The next big change occurred in May 2023 when WBD decided to ditch the “HBO” and rename its service as just Max. Unfortunately, instead of a simple name change, this involved an entirely new app that users had to download separately from HBO Max, and that new app came with many downgrades.

The now-rebranded Max is still a decent place to watch most DC, Discovery, and, yes, HBO content, but for some subscribers, that still might not be enough content to justify the hefty price tag.


  • Is great for DC, Studio Ghibli, and Adult Swim
  • Provides access to most HBO shows
  • Includes A-list theatrical releases


  • Has a poor user experience compared to HBO Max
  • Requires subscribers to bundle with Discovery+ content
  • Is one of the most expensive major streaming services

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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 $16.99 a month unless you cancel the Max add-on.

You can find more discounts in our Max Deals guide.

Max plans

Package Price Streams Video Details
Ultimate Ad Free $20.99/mo. 4 4K View plans
Ad Free $16.99/mo. 2 1080p View plans
With Ads $9.99/mo. 2 1080p View plans

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

Max comes in three different plans: With Ads, Ad-Free, and Ultimate Ad-Free. Ad-Free is the standard plan that you might already have if you’ve signed up for HBO through another streaming service or cable provider, and will get you a pretty good ad-free streaming experience. However, if you have a big family or want to take advantage of a 4K television, you might want to upgrade to the pricey Ultimate Ad-Free tier.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to stream HBO content, you’ll probably be fine with the lowest ad-supported tier. Keep in mind that HBO shows were originally designed to air on HBO—the premium cable channel whose entire deal is the lack of ads. Those ad breaks are going to be awkward and intrusive.

Each of Max’s three plans is one of the most expensive of its kind among the major streaming services. Its With Ads plan is more expensive than Disney+ and Hulu’s $7.99 tier; the Ad-Free plan is more expensive than Netflix’s $15.49 tier; and its Ultimate plan is slightly cheaper than Netflix’s premium $22.99 tier and the most expensive ($24.99) Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+ bundle.

Get more from Max with the B/R Sports Add-On

Max recently introduced its B/R Sports Add-On, which offers 300+ live sports events annually. The add-on is free but will eventually cost $9.99 a month after its promotional period ends at a yet-to-be-announced time.

B/R Sports Add-On content includes live MLB, NBA, NHL, and U.S. Soccer games. College basketball fans can also enjoy all matchups from the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament that typically air on TBS, TNT, and truTV.

Max vs. other streaming services

Plan Price Streams Resolution Details
Editor's choice
Amazon Prime Video
$8.99–$14.99/mo. or $139.00/yr. 3 1080p, 4K View plans
Apple TV+ $9.99/mo. 6 1080p, 4K View plans
Disney+ $7.99–$13.99/mo. or $139.99/yr. 4 1080p, 4K View plans
Hulu $7.99–$17.99/mo. 2 1080p, 4K View plans
Max $9.99–$20.99/mo. or $99.99–$209.99/yr. 2–4 1080p, 4K View plans
Netflix $6.99–$22.99/mo. 2–4 1080p, 4K View plans
Paramount+ $5.99–$11.99/mo. or $59.99–$119.99/yr. 3 1080p, 4K View plans
Peacock $7.99–$13.99/mo. or $79.99–$139.99/yr. 3 1080p, 4K View plans

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

Max’s biggest competitor is Netflix, and the two are pretty evenly matched as the most expensive on-demand streaming services around. Netflix definitely has the bigger library of original content, but unlike Netflix, Max allows users to have devices across multiple households. Netflix wins out if you’re not sharing an account with anyone, but in this economy? That’s pretty rare.

Max’s next closest competitor in price and size is Hulu. Hulu is still pretty pricey, and a choice between the two will likely come down to whether you want more cable TV shows (Hulu) or HBO shows (Max). While Max does have a decent amount of newer Cartoon Network and Adult Swim titles, for example, it’s not interested in having a comprehensive collection or exclusive access to WBD-owned properties. Hulu has joint custody of some titles like Steven Universe and Adventure Time, and exclusive control of Over the Garden Wall.

If you’re looking for the best value streaming service, our pick is Amazon Prime Video. Its standalone ad-free tier ($11.98) is much less expensive than Max’s ($16.99) and still provides a large library of content. You might lose out on House of the Dragon, but you’ll still get The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power and The Wheel of Time. And if you want to upgrade to a full-fledged Prime membership, you’ll get free shipping along with it.

Max also shares some similarities with Disney+. Both services have Avatar: The Way of Water, sure, but they’ve also both removed dozens of original titles from their services with very little warning (providing no alternative way to watch). At least when Paramount+ removes originals with no warning, those titles end up on VOD and DVD.

Shows and movies on Max

Max on-demand shows and movies

Max advertises itself as “the one to watch for HBO,” which is an awful slogan, but also not entirely true. Max does not have the full HBO library (see note about WB Watchlist), nor is it the only way you can get HBO.

However, it is a good way to watch certain recent HBO titles like Succession, The White Lotus, and The Last of Us, which all received several nominations from the 2023 Emmys. In fact, HBO received the biggest portion of this year’s nominations—127, a staggering amount. What does David Zaslav have on the Television Academy?

With its 2023 rebrand from HBO Max to just Max, WBD began incorporating content from its other streaming platform, Discovery+. While that service still exists as a standalone, HBO fans now get—or are stuck with, depending on your interests—access to all of Discovery’s biggest shows, like 90-Day Fiance and Mythbusters.

Shows on Max (partial list):

  • Succession
  • The Righteous Gemstones
  • Our Flag Means Death
  • Barry
  • Game of Thrones
  • House of the Dragon
  • The Last of Us
  • Tom and Jerry
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Insecure
  • And Just Like That…
  • Friends
  • Euphoria
  • Young Sheldon
  • The White Lotus
  • Craig of the Creek
  • Adventure Time
  • Primal

Watch HBO series free on Tubi and the Roku Channel

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

Movies on Max (partial list):

  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • Evil Dead Rise
  • The Meg
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  • Dune
  • Braveheart
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • In the Heights
  • Long Shot
  • Coraline
  • Glitch: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Parasite
  • 300
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • Insidious
  • A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Discovery on Max (partial list):

  • Ghost Adventures
  • Expedition Unknown
  • Downey’s Dream Cars
  • Deadliest Catch
  • Mythbusters
  • Naked and Afraid
  • Hoffman Family Gold
  • Growing Belushi
  • Expedition X
  • Mysteries of the Abandoned: Hidden America
  • Alaskan Bush People
  • Hunting Atlantis
  • Crikey! It’s the Irwins
  • The Crocodile Hunter Diaries
  • Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge

Studio Ghibli on Max (partial list):

  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Spirited Away
  • Ponyo
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Princess Mononoke
  • Castle in the Sky
  • The Secret World of Arrietty
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  • The Cat Returns
  • The Wind Rises
  • Whisper of the Heart
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • Porco Rosso
  • From Up On Poppy Hill
  • When Marnie Was There
  • Earwig and the Witch
  • Pom Poko
  • The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
  • Only Yesterday
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas

DC on Max (partial list):

  • My Adventures with Superman
  • The Batman
  • Teen Titans Go!
  • The Lego Batman Movie
  • Suicide Squad
  • League of Super-Pets
  • The Suicide Squad
  • Zack Snyder’s Justice League
  • Peacemaker
  • Wonder Woman
  • Man of Steel
  • Harley Quinn
  • Gotham
  • Batwoman
  • Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes and Huntsman
  • Young Justice
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Injustice
  • Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons
  • Batman: The Long Halloween
  • Batman: The Killing Joke
  • Batman: Gotham By Gaslight
  • DC Super Hero Girls
  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods
  • Joker
  • Doom Patrol
  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Max may be the one to watch for HBO, but WBD’s other favorite brand is DC. Max offers dozens of popular DC titles, from mainstream DCEU movies to animated specials like Legion of Super-Heroes. It’s even got plenty of DC LEGO titles, including The LEGO Batman Movie.

The biggest area Max is currently lacking in is the CW’s Arrowverse—Netflix still owns those streaming rights, so you won’t find The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow on Max. You’d think that Max would want a complete monopoly on DC properties from now on, but not so. Rotten Tomatoes reported that WBD recently sold three Batman projects to Amazon Prime Video, and let’s not forget about the time the studio canceled the near-finished Batgirl film. Max just can’t seem to decide whether it likes its superheroes or not.

Max specs and features

Max is very similar to the late HBO Max, but a few things have changed, including plan specs, ease of use, and app reliability.

Multiple streams on Max

Plan Price Included streams Video Offline downloads
Ultimate Ad-Free $20.99/mo. or $209.99/yr. 4 4K UHD with Dolby Atmos (on select titles) 100
Ad-Free $16.99/mo. or $169.99/yr. 2 Full HD 1080p 30
With Ads $9.99/mo. or $99.99/yr. 2 Full HD 1080p None

Data effective as of post date.

Unfortunately, the rebrand from HBO Max to Max means that you’ll see a drop in video quality and available streams. Previously, the Ad-free tier got you three streams and 4K viewing, but now you’ll have to fork over $20.99/mo. for the privilege. Both the Ad-Free and With Ads plans only allow two simultaneous streams, where the Ultimate Ad-Free plan allows four.

Max can be set up for five separate viewer profiles, with individual preferences and even show-specific profile pictures. Now you can really 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 ad-supported Max Ad-Lite, however, doesn’t do offline downloads—another strike against it.

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 devices

Device Max
Amazon Fire Stick, TV, tablet
Android phones, tablets
Android TV with OS 5.1 or later
Apple TV with tvOS 14 or later
Apple TV 4K
Apple TV 4K with tvOS 14 or later
Cox Contour 2, Contour Stream Player
Chromecast, Chromecast with Google TV
Facebook Portal
Amazon Echo Show
iPhone, iPad
LG TVs with webOS 2.5 or later
Nintendo Switch
PC, Mac web browsers
PlayStation 4, 5
Roku TV and Roku OS 11 or later
Samsung TVs (select models)
TiVo Stream
Vizio TVs (select models)
Xbox One
Xfinity X1

Data effective as of post date.

Max is available anywhere you could get HBO Max (the service was only around for a few years), but you’ll have to download a whole new app to continue using the rebranded service. No, we don’t know why they did it like this either.

Max app user 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 was, at the time of launch, just HBO Max but worse, and has only seen a few improvements in the time since.

One big problem that many viewers had with the new service was the tendency to lump all credits under “creators” rather than “actors” and “writers.” However, as of July 2023, Max no longer does this—likely because of industry and subscriber backlash.

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 Harry Potter, My Strange Addiction, and South Park are very prominent throughout the platform. The Wizarding World—that is, the Harry Potter franchise—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, but feels like a weird move to support the controversial and dying franchise in 2024.

I’ve also had reliability problems with Max since its rebrand. Sometimes Max’s new original content is excluded from the Just Added category on release day in favor of older movies and Discovery+ transplants. This was the case with the recent Justice League x RWBY crossover special.

And sometimes content is uploaded with the wrong audio track, like in the case of a new episode of Clone High from just weeks after the Max rebrand, where a descriptive audio track replaced the default English audio. (To be fair, this problem has since been fixed, but it took a day or two. I chose to watch the episode in Spanish to avoid it).

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.

What’s included in Max’s streaming service?

Max is the most expensive streaming service on the market, so it’s got to provide a lot of content to make up for that oversized price tag.

Max subscribers get access to HBO shows and movies, in addition to content from Discovery+, DC, Studio Ghibli, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and more.

Most of these collections aren’t exhaustive—the service removed DC’s Aquaman: King of Atlantis and HBO’s Westworld, for example—but contains enough to make most viewers happy. Just make sure it’s worth it for $9.99–$20.99/mo. or $99.99–$209.99/yr.


Is Max the same as HBO Max?

Yes, Max is the new name for the service previously known as HBO Max. However, you won’t be able to use the old HBO Max app to watch Max—if you haven’t already, you’ll have to download the new Max app.

The main difference? It’s blue instead of purple.

Can I subscribe to Max through a provider?

HBO—and by extension, 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.

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 features live sports through its new B/R Sports Add-On for an extra $9.99 a month. Live sports content comes from Warner Bros. Discovery channels like TBS, TNT, and truTV—including live MLB, NBA, NHL, and March Madness games. The platform also streams U.S. Soccer matches featuring the USMNT and USWNT.

Why you should trust us

Our experts employed hundreds of 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 compared 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.

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