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Max vs. HBO Max: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Warner Bros. Discovery’s new world order is coming to a smart TV and mobile device near you — here’s what you need to know about HBO Max and Discovery+ joining forces as Max.

The newest streaming service on the block isn’t actually new at all; it simply combines the offerings of two major platforms into one. In the wake of the mega-merger that married former AT&T division WarnerMedia with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery, the predecessors’ respective streamers — HBO Max and Discovery+ — were reborn on May 23 simply as Max.

So, what does that mean, exactly? Just a fresh coat of paint?

Well, sort of, as Warner Bros. Discovery has made a point of assuring viewers that the film and television experience they came to love (or perhaps willingly tolerate?) will be preserved in as many ways as possible.

With that in mind, let’s discuss what’s up with Max now that it’s officially dropped the HBO.

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Max vs. HBO Max: Everything You Need to Know

When did HBO Max become Max?

On April 12, Warner Bros. Discovery announced the rebrand at a company event. Tuesday, May 23 is the official launch day for the rebooted product.

Why did HBO Max become Max?

HBO Max was meant to be an expansion of the preceding streaming platforms HBO Go (for HBO television subscribers) and HBO Now (for any paying customer under the sun) that took into account newly formed WarnerMedia’s full library of streaming IP following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner in 2018. For the first time, HBO enthusiasts could not only binge Game of Thrones and Sex and the City — and perhaps even the beloved Robert Wuhl vehicle Arliss if you’re a total sicko — but also Warner Bros. offerings from the wide world of DC Comics, New Line Cinema, Turner channels like Cartoon Network and TNT, and Hanna-Barbera. It also acquired rights to stream third-party material from networks like Comedy Central.

After AT&T sold off WarnerMedia in 2021 as part of the latter’s subsequent merger with Discovery, Inc., the content umbrella got even bigger, so Warner Bros. Discovery decided to merge its predecessors’ existing streamers to form Max.

What’s different about Max versus its predecessor?

In a word, though it retains certain aspects of HBO Max branding (and half of its name, if you hadn’t noticed), it supercharges its previous content library by introducing Discovery properties like its namesake channel, HGTV, Animal Planet, and Food Network.

Do I have to sign up for a new service or download anything new?

If you already had access to HBO Max on May 22, you still have it today. Period.

Does the Max subscription price mean I now have to pay more?

All existing HBO Max subscriptions will continue on at Max at the same rate for at least the next six months, according to Warner Bros. Discovery. Pricing tiers include:

  • $9.99 per month for “ad-lite”
  • $15.99 for classic ad-free supporting up to two simultaneous users
  • $19.99 for “ultimate” ad-free supporting up to four simultaneous users

What happens to my account settings and viewing history?

Don’t worry, all that carries over! If you had downloaded content locally on any of your devices, however, an official company explainer notes that you will need to do that over again.

So, HBO Max as we knew it is dead. Is the same true for Discovery+?

No, actually! If you’re only interested in 90-Day Fiancé, you can choose a Discovery-only option for $4.99 per month.

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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.