HBO Max is rebranding. Here’s what that means for you
Warner Bros. Discovery revealed on Wednesday that “HBO Max” is out, and “Max” is the name of its renowned streaming service. The revamped platform will house merged content from HBO Max and Discovery Plus, giving you shows like Euphoria and Succession alongside greige-tinged unscripted series like Fixer Upper. With the new name comes a new slogan: The One to Watch.
The company is touting a bigger library and better user interface, but you may have some basic questions about how all of these changes will affect your existing account. And newcomers may be curious about what’s going on with Max and what the service has to offer. Here are the answers to some of your questions.
When will Max be rolled out in my country?
US customers will have access to Max on May 23. Users in Latin America will see the rollout in fall 2023, with select markets in Europe and Asia receiving access to Max in early to mid-2024.
Once the service is launched, it will be automatically updated with the new logo, interface and Max features. According to Warner Bros. Discovery, existing subscribers will see their profiles, billing information and watchlists seamlessly migrate to the updated version and they only need to open the app to use the platform. However, the company said some users will be prompted to download the new version of the streaming app.
New Max customers can either sign up for HBO Max now or wait until they sign up for the new service on May 23 to start streaming instantly.
How much will Max cost?
Pricing will remain the same as current HBO Max subscriptions, but there’s a new premium plan that will cost more than the two standard options. Ad-Lite Max will cost $10 per month and come with HD and two streams, while Ad-Free Max costs $16 per month for HD, two streams and 30 downloads.
When the new service arrives in May, there will also be a $20-a-month Ultimate plan, which offers four simultaneous streams, 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos sound, and 100 downloads. That’s a change, as HBO Max currently offers three streams for both plans with the option to watch select titles in 4K Ultra HD. Yes, you’ll have to pay more for 4K, but some existing HBO Max features will still be available for up to six months after Max launches.
Note that Discovery Plus will continue to be a standalone streaming option. It is currently priced at $5 per month for the ad-supported plan and $7 per month without ads.
What TV shows and movies will be on Max?
The streaming offer from Warner Bros. Discovery will bring together content from HBO Max and Discovery Plus. Max will have HBO Originals, Warner Bros. movies, Max Originals, DC Comics and Harry Potter alongside programming from brands including Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC and ID. The entire HBO Max library will be on Max along with a select collection of Discovery titles.
During its press conference on Wednesday, Warner Bros. Discovery highlighted a range of new titles which will hit the newly renamed streaming service. In addition to DC drama The Penguin, subscribers will get access to spinoffs from familiar franchises like The Conjuring, The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. New shows coming to the streamer range from a limited series starring Kate Winslet to a series of Barbie-themed home improvement contests, and from a thriller based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to a series of meetings of the producers of 90 Day Fiance.
WBD Content Manager Kathleen Finch and Max Content Manager Casey Bloys stressed that family and kids content will also take center stage on the new service, targeting audiences of all ages. Viewers will receive more animation and entertainment releases from popular brands such as Cartoon Network, Hanna-Barbera, Boomerang, Looney Toons and DC. This includes a new animated version of Peter & the Wolf by Bono from U2.
Subscribers can also expect movies to find Max as their streaming home after their theatrical releases. Shazam! Fury of the Gods will arrive on launch day, and Blue Beetle, Dune 2, Barbie, and The Flash are among the other movie titles you’ll find on the platform. The Flash will hit Max in the fall.
Is there a way to turn off Discovery or HBO Max content?
No. But you can choose to have a standalone Discovery Plus subscription instead of subscribing to Max. While there is no separate release for HBO Max and HBO-branded content, Warner Bros. Discovery says the updated app will have an interface more suited to the user’s personal tastes. It will also feature genre hubs and a new content navigation menu at the top of the screen to make it easier to find what you want.
According to the company’s global head of streaming, JB Perrette, Max “will have differentiated, high-performance personalized experiences including things like ‘Because you watched’ recommendations and immersive hero images tailored to each user.” He said the app’s recommendation engine will eventually learn to surface content that matches your viewing habits.
Should I cancel my current HBO Max or Discovery Plus subscription if I have both?
There is no need to cancel your subscriptions now, unless you no longer enjoy them. All existing HBO Max subscribers will switch to Max when the app relaunches in May. Max will include Discovery Plus content, but Discovery Plus will also remain a separate, cheaper streaming option that only contains content from the Discovery networks. If you like Max’s fully merged lineup, you might want to wait and drop Discovery Plus in May.
What if I get HBO or HBO Max via cable?
If you currently receive HBO Max or HBO through a wireless carrier or your cable/satellite TV provider, you will have access to the updated Max app. You won’t have to cancel and re-subscribe. When it launches, it will be available through AT&T, Hulu, Cox, Xfinity, Verizon, DirecTV, Prime Video Channels, and other services. You can check the list on Max’s website. Max will be accessible on most devices, including TVs, game consoles, and cell phones.
If you’re new to Max or Discovery Plus, you can sign up now or wait until May 23.
To learn more about WBD’s streaming services, read its strategy for live sport and that the channels are on Discovery Plus.
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