It’s here. The big change we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. Last year, Warner Bros. Discovery announced it would merge HBO Max and Discovery+ content to create a new streaming product. And that streaming platform has finally launched on May 23 under the name Max. For many, this decision seems like a strange one. But despite what the masses think, they have no choice but to crown a new streamer. R.I.P. HBO Max, long live Max.
But what is Max? How is Max a different platform than HBO Max? And, most importantly, what will you have to pay for it? Well, those are all great questions. And Warner Bros. Discovery has some answers.
What Is Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max, How Do You Get It, and What Content Will It Have?
In the simplest terms, Max is a service that combines the offerings of HBO Max and Discovery+. However, while Max will replace HBO Max, it won’t replace Discovery+. Users can continue to subscribe to Discovery+ on a standalone basis, but HBO Max will transform into Max on May 23. This was likely done in an effort to allow users of Discovery+ to continue to subscribe at a lower cost.
According to Max’s website, all HBO Max users will get Max on May 23. And if you sign up for HBO Max now, Warner Bros. Discovery will “transfer your account information to Max when it arrives.” On certain devices, you will also need to download a new “Max” version of the app. On other devices, the Max app will appear automatically.
Amazon, Cox, Roku, VIZIO TV, Xfinity: Find the Max app and open it.
Android, Apple, DIRECTV, LG TV, PlayStation, Samsung TV, Xbox: Open HBO Max and choose Download.
Additionally, the platform notes:
Your HBO Max profiles, watch history, and your settings (including parental controls) are available in Max.
There are two things that don’t transfer to Max:
HBO Max downloads: You’ll need to download your shows and movies again with Max.
Custom profile pictures: If you had a custom profile picture in HBO Max, you’ll see a generic profile icon in Max (Max doesn’t support custom profile photos). If you’d like to choose a different profile avatar, go to Add and manage Max profiles.
As far as content goes, Max will contain HBO Max’s entire library plus “Discovery favorites,” defined as “the best real-life shows from your favorite TV brands: HGTV, the Food Network, TLC, ID, Magnolia, Discovery, and more.”
The Cost of a Max Subscription
Happily, or however you choose to feel about it, this move to Max will not include a price increase for most HBO Max users. HBO Max raised its price in January to $15.99/month for ad-free viewing, and that remains the Max pricing as well. Max with ads will cost $9.99/month. Meanwhile, “Ultimate Ad-Free” Max will cost $19.99/month. The difference between Max Ad-Free and Ultimate Ad-Free is down to quality, device usage and downloads. Ad-Free Max allows you to “stream in Full HD on 2 devices at once, up to 30 offline downloads.” Ultimate Ad-Free Max meanwhile allows you to “Stream in 4K UHD on 4 devices at once, up to 100 offline downloads.”
Max Promises Max with Ads will Really Be “Max Ad-Lite”
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav recently noted that Max will have one of the “lightest ad loads in streaming.” In fact, he referred to Max with Ads as Max Ad-Lite, an interesting branding choice. Zaslav noted, “Max Ad-Lite subscribers get all the same content as ad-free subscribers. See only three or four minutes of ads per hour and pay just $9.99 a month.” Is that a good deal? It’s hard to say at this point.
The Verge reveals that viewers will see 15-second pre-roll ads that play before your content, 30-60 second mid-roll ads that arrive in the middle of viewing, and additional static ads that pop up when a program has paused. Additionally, there could be instances where brands pay more to offer fewer ads to viewers.
When Will Max Replace HBO Max?
As mentioned, HBO Max evolved into Max on May 23.
Why Did HBO Max Lose the HBO to Become Max?
Give that HBO Max has some pretty significant brand awareness, the rebrand seems strange for fans of the platform. It seems like the Warner Bros. Discovery’s perspective, however, is that if the HBO stayed, users wouldn’t understand that the platform now also contained a different kind of content. In an effort to appeal to as many subscribers as possible, HBO was removed from the title of the streamer. Of course, to many HBO symbolizes a kind of prestige and quality. So we will have to wait and see how users respond to the rebrand, and, ultimately, whether it was a good idea.