HBO Max is finally going on today and as mentioned earlier about knowing the difference between the platforms such as HBO Now and HBO Go, then you’ll know that the HBO Max is somehow a big deal as it offer you everything to binge-stream shows, movies, cartoons and everything interesting from the WarnerMedia archive ranging from their oldies to their newbies all in one place.
Unlike Netflix or even Disney Plus, the HBO Max subscription is quite pricey with a tag of US$14.99 making it the most expensive of them all. But with that there have been questioning about how subscribers will port on to the new service because it might be somehow complicated than you’d expect.
But simply put, HBO wants to bring new users onboard in order to gain a big traction next to the big guys like Netflix, the service then plan to bring in all it’s catalog of entertainment all in one together on the platform. So with the HBO Max, shows like Friend, Big Bang Theory are all a click away. In fact, the upcoming Zack Snyder cut of the Justice League will also be making it to the HBO Max by 2021.
Beyond that, HBO Max will have so-called Max Originals, new shows and movies made just for HBO Max. At launch, the service will have six, including an anthology series called Love Life starring Anna Kendrick that follows one character through a new romantic relationship each episode. HBO Max’s second wave of originals will add 11 more titles hitting in the summer. Most are new seasons of existing shows that will stream exclusively on HBO Max, but the summer slate also include the Aug. 6 premiere of Seth Rogen’s comedy film An American Pickle.
With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down major operations across the globe, many HBO Max’s originals were also disrupted as well. With many people confined to their homes, streaming via the internet is the new norm and with that, numerous streaming services have now spring up lately. Though the company hasn’t commented publicly about the impact of the pandemic on its content, there are signs that there is a disruption.
The service has booked a quarantine cooking show with Selena Gomez where she will be joined remotely by chefs on every episode. HBO Max’s subscription is the same as the other HBO Now service and that is like double of the price you would pay for Netflix US$7/month or Peacock US$9/month
But whether you get a free upgrade to HBO Max is complicated but the case is different for new users who just have to sign up fir the US$14.99 monthly subscription fee and get access to the platform’s huge catalog of original shows and exclusive releases. There was even a preorder discount yesterday which removes US$3 from the monthly fee for a whole year shrinking the price to just US$12/month for the first year though it’s still a big price compared to competitors.
And those who already have the regular HBO subscription or HBO Now will be getting the Max all for free at no cost but still not all of them will have that privilege- like I said, it’s a little bit complicated. But in order to get an automatic upgrade to the HBO Max, HBO needs to make deal with whatever billing company you’e using. The company is reported to have reached agreement with big digital firms like Google and Apple which will allow users who subscribed through their platforms an breezy upgrade.
But HBO doesn’t yet have deals with all providers. In fact it doesn’t have with some big names in the industry such as Comcast for example which is the biggest cable company in the US and HBO Max hasn’t announced a deal with Comcast’s Xfinity service yet. With that, you might be forced to pay twice which is one part for HBO regular subscription and the other for the Max streaming service or you might have to just cancel your account from your current provider and then sign up afresh for HBO Max after all, its the same US$14.99.
Let’s get deeper about the cost
HBO Max’s official subscription price each month is US$14.99 but if you preordered, then you’ll get US$3 off reducing the price to just US$11.99 each month for the first year.
Sometime within the first year, the service will expand to include another tier that carries advertising. The company hasn’t specified the price, launch date or catalog limitations on this tier, but it would presumably be cheaper or even free. There is high probability of HBO Now getting replaced eventually by the HBO Max at some point but the service currently is billed US$15/month.
HBO Now subscribers are welcome to stick with that service, but they’ll essentially be paying the same amount for less content. HBO Max will have all the same shows and movies on HBO Now plus a big catalog of licensed programming and exclusive originals.
The pricing of the HBO Max might not be friendly to everyone and in comparison to other services like Apple TV Plus when announced last year was just US$5 or even Disney Plus was US$7. With that, these services have been able to maximize the potential and garner a huge base of subscribers altogether which is cool.
HBO Max will be launching today
HBO Max will launch today, Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 in the US after which it will expand to other regions like Latin America and Europe by 2021 according to reports form the company. The launching period of the service might be strategic as well considering the fact that more people are now confined to their homes due to the pandemic. We’ve seen the launching of numerous steaming services since late last year up till now with Quibi joining the industry as well after other services like Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus then Peacock and some others who are already in existence.
What devices can stream HBO Max?
HBO Max will be available on a wide variety of devices, including phones, tablets, the web, connected TVs and game consoles.
The service has confirmed support for the following devices and platforms:
- Most Apple devices that can stream video will support HBO Max — iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD. However, customers with second- and third-generation Apple TV models will need to stream HBO Max content from their iPhone or iPad to their TV with AirPlay.
- Google’s Android operating system for phones and tablets will have an app. Android TV devices, Chromebooks, Google Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices will support HBO Max too.
- Sony’s PlayStation 4 systems will be able to download the HBO Max app via the PlayStation Store.
- Microsoft‘s Xbox One gaming consoles will also be able to get the HBO Max app via the Microsoft Store.
- Select Samsung internet-connected smart TVs — models from 2016 through 2020 — will be able to download and purchase HBO Max directly.
But one popular device may not get HBO Max, at least initially. Earlier in May, AT&T incoming CEO John Stankey said that Amazon’s Fire TV products may not have an HBO Max app. “I’m pleased to say we’re going to be in virtually all app stores, or maybe one exception. It looks like we may not be in the Amazon Fire app store when all of this is said and done,” he said.
Where to get the HBO Max
Visiting the website of the service at HBOMAX.com but you can also get it though Apple as there will be the HBO Max iOS application that will be available for both iPhone and iPad from which you can sign up and then pay though in-app purchase. Apple will also integrate HBO Max into the APP TV app which will allow you to stream channels in one place.
As for Android users, you’ll get it through the Play Store with the in-app purchase as well and you’ll also be able to stream HBO Max on Android TV, Chromebook and Google Chromecast. And if you already have an HBO Now subscription, you can transition and you’ll continue to be billed by Google if that’s how you want it. And YouTube TV, the streaming pay-TV service operated by Google’s YouTube, will also carry HBO Max.
People with Samsung Smart TVs that support the HBO Max app will also be able to sign up directly there.
What are the shows coming to HBO Max?
HBO Max will be getting a boatload of shows, movies and originals with high profile shows like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Rick & Morty and South Park. The service claims to already have about 10,000 hours of content so if you’re permanently working from home just like me, then you’re lucky to binge-watch nonstop.
Th service plans to have about 31 originals in its first year of release and then increment that to about 50 by the second year but the coronavirus pandemic might just have a strain on the schedules. And while the entire service line up might seem confusing, HBO itself might just be the only one quite straightforward.
With the HBO Max, you’ll be getting everything on the regular HBO as well which includes HBO series like Westworld and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver;and the past seasons of those programs as well. You’ll also get big HBO shows like The Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and the The Wire and other HBO original films.
Movies will be a crucial part of the catalog. And any movie that’s available to watch on the traditional HBO network will also be available to stream on HBO Max. Highlights of the HBO Max film catalog will include (but not necessarily be available at launch):
- The so-called Snyder cut of Justice League, slated to arrive on HBO Max in 2021
- The full sets of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix trilogies.
- The Lego movies.
- DC films like Joker, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Shazam, Aquaman and every Batman and Superman movie of the last 40 years.
- Studio Ghibli anime films that have never been released for streaming in the US before.
- Anime selections like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and other top titles from anime-focused streaming service Crunchyroll, which is also owned by AT&T.
- Classic movies like The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, The Shining, Singin’ in the Rain, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Goonies, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and many others.
- Newer hits like Crazy Rich Asians and A Star Is Born.
Ultimately, HBO Max will have more than 18,000 movies, the company has said.
On top of that, AT&T has been licensing outside hit shows to beef up HBO Max’s catalog. The most most eye-popping deals have been:
- A reported $425 million deal for all episodes of ’90s hit Friends, which exited Netflix to start streaming on HBO Max at launch
- A reported $500 million deal to stream The Big Bang Theory
It’s also secured deals for past seasons of Rick and Morty; 11 of the most recent seasons of Doctor Who, plus another three to come; CW dramas like Pretty Little Liars, Batwoman, and Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene as well as more upcoming CW series; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; The West Wing; and British series like Luther and Ricky Gervais’ original The Office, among many others.
Animated satire South Park will not only contribute its full back catalog to HBO Max but also stream new episodes. The latest episodes of South Park will stream on HBO Max 24 hours after they air on Comedy Central for the next three seasons.
And HBO Max will have exclusive new shows and movies called Max Originals. For the most part, original series on HBO Max will drop new episodes on a weekly basis.
At launch Wednesday, the originals will be:
- Love Life, the romantic comedy starring Anna Kendrick and produced by Kendrick and Paul Feig, known for blockbuster comedies like Bridesmaids
- On the Record, a controversial Me Too documentary film about record executive Russell Simmons.
- Legendary, a competition show based on underground drag balls.
- Craftopia, a YouTuber-hosted craft series.
- New Looney Tunes cartoons.
- The Not Too Late Show with Elmo.
After launch, the next Max Originals that are scheduled for release are:
- Karma, an unscriptedkids adventure competition series — June 18.
- Doom Patrol, the second season of the DC Universe series — June 25.
- Esme & Roy, the second season of the preschool animated series from Sesame Workshop — June 25.
- Search Party, the third season of the comedy thriller that originally aired on TBS — June 25.
- Adventure Time: Distant Lands-BMO, which is the first of four specials resurrecting Cartoon Network’s franchise Adventure Time — June 25.
- Expecting Amy, a three-part docuseries about comedian Amy Schumer’s life on tour during her pregnancy — July 9.
- Close Enough, an animated comedy about millennial roommates — July 9.
- The House of Ho, a multigenerational family docusoap — July 16.
- Tig n’ Seek, an animated children’s series from Cartoon Network Studios about an 8-year-old and his gadget-building cat — July 23.
- Frayed, a scripted comedy about a wealthy Londoner who goes back to her Australian hometown — July 30.
- The Dog House, an unscripted British animal rescue series — July 30.
- American Pickle, the Seth Rogen comedy that is HBO Max’s first original film, about a 1920s immigrant who gets preserved in pickle brine for 100 years and meets his great-grandson (both characters portrayed by Rogen) in modern-day Brooklyn — Aug. 6.
Then over the course of the fall and beyond, HBO Max will add other originals, including:
- The Flight Attendant, starring and executive produced by Kaley Cuoco based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian.
- The Friends unscripted cast reunion special.
- Sci-fi epic Raised by Wolves from director and executive producer Ridley Scott. The 10-episode series focuses on two androids raising human children on a mysterious planet. The show had already wrapped production in South Africa.
HBO Max originally planned to have 31 original series in its launch year (which totals 69 series when combined with HBO content). Then in 2021, HBO Max planned to expand Max Originals to a slate of 50 shows. About half are targeted at young adults aged 16 to 34, and the rest will be divided between more adult fare and kids and family content outside the HBO brand.
Some of the other highlights of the originals set for HBO Max include:
- New DC titles. A Green Lantern series that producer Greg Berlanti (a young-adult TV guru behind Riverdale and Arrow) says will travel to space and “promises to be our biggest DC show ever made.” Strange Adventures, a one-hour drama anthology series also produced by Berlanti that explores the intersecting lives of mortals and superhumans. DC Super Hero High will be a half-hour comedy from Elizabeth Banks, the producer and actress known for the Hunger Games films and 30 Rock, that’ll focus on a group of adolescent students at a boarding school for “gifted” kids.
- Projects by J.J. Abrams. Abrams, known for a parade of television and box office hits, signed a megadeal with AT&T and WarnerMedia to make projects for the company. On HBO Max, he’ll help produce a show set in the Justice League Dark universe; Overlook, a thriller based on Stephen King’s The Shining and set in the Overlook Hotel; and a 1970s crime show called Duster.
- A half-hour comedy from actress-producer Issa Rae. Rae’s Rap Sh*t explores the music business in Miami through the eyes of three women: an upstart hip-hop duo and their hustling manager.
- A half-hour comedy from actress/producer Mindy Kaling. College Girls (a working title) tracks three 18-year-old freshman roommates at Evermore College in Vermont.
- The Boondocks animated series is getting “two reimagined seasons” along with a 50-minute special originally planned for fall 2020.
- A new Jellystone animated series with the classic Hanna-Barbera characters from Warner Bros. Animation.
- A new animated series from Cartoon Network Studios called The Fungies, as well as a hybrid live-action/animated comedy, Tooned Out, from Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis.
- Comedy specials from Conan O’Brien and the team behind his TBS show. They’ll be developing five stand-up specials for HBO Max: O’Brien will host two specials that feature short sets from multiple up-and-coming comics and curate hourlong sets from three comedians. That slate will join another one-hour special from comedian James Veitch.
The service will have a smaller slate of original films, between five and 10 per year, according to the original plan. Early highlights on the original movie slate include:
- A two-picture deal with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine.
- A documentary about Anthony Bourdain.
- A four-picture deal with Berlanti, including Unpregnant, about two teenage girls who go on a road trip to New Mexico after one finds out she’s pregnant, based on the young adult novel by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan.
- Super Intelligence, a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy about a woman whose romantic life is selected for observation by artificial intelligence.
- Bobbie Sue, a comedy feature starring Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez as an up-and-coming young lawyer who joins a stuffy Boston law firm.