HBO Max free trial: how to test the Max streaming service today

Max logo
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Wondering whether there is an HBO Max free trial? Well, there's actually no such thing as HBO Max anymore. Instead, Warner Bros. has combined HBO and Discovery Plus to make Max, the new streaming service that was relaunched in the US on May 23rd, 2023. Confused? You're not the only one.

The bad news is that no HBO Max free trial or Max free trial exists at this moment in time. We know, not the news you wanted to hear but there is the option to watch some of HBO's first episodes for free as well as a cheaper HBO Max tier than the standard rate. Now that Warner Bros. raised the price in January 2023 too, these options are proving more vital than ever.  

First, let's rewind to the home premiere of Wonder Woman 1984 in late 2021. Warner Bros. decided to remove the HBO Max free trial, presumably to stop people from signing up, watching the superhero film, and then leaving without paying a dime. It makes sense but we still don't have to be happy about it. All things considered, there are still ways to save on your subscription.

Whether you're bundling through Hulu, scouting through promo codes, or taking advantage of regular discounts available via HBO Max itself, we're showing you how to find those all elusive HBO Max free trials or at least save some cash before you start paying Max's entry fee of $9.99 a month.

Is there an HBO Max free trial?

HBO Max free trial for Snyder Cut

(Image credit: HBO Max)

As far as a direct option from the HBO Max website (or Max as it's now known), there is no free trial available. But there is another option for an HBO Max free trial that we'll detail below. It's worth noting that HBO Max has never been cheaper via its $9.99 a month ad-supported tier. If you'd prefer zero ads, the $15.99 a month Max Ad Free tier should be the one you subscribe to, or enjoy 4K content and Dolby Atmos support then the Max Ultimate Ad Free tier at $19.99 a month is the one for you. Or if you want to hold off and opt for the new Max Ultimate tier (coming May 23rd, 2023). 

There are also cheaper annual options for all of the above at $99.99 per year for  Max Ad-Lite, $159.99 per year for Max Ad Free, and $199.99 per year for Max Ultimate Ad-Free. 

As mentioned, HBO Max stopped its free trial option in late 2021, just before Wonder Woman 1984 came to the service as the first movie Warner released on it at the same time as the theatrical version. Movies do still come pretty fast to the streamer though. Elvis debuted theatrically in June 2022 before then making its way to the platform only two months later. 

With a price rise taking place at the start of 2023 and the launch of Max now having taken place, there's a chance the free trial may return in 2023 to help entice more subscribers. With the competition heating up and streaming fans picking up Disney Plus bundles, or checking out the latest Peacock TV costs and Paramount Plus prices (the latter two still have free trials too), it would make sense from a business perspective. Regardless, there are a couple of alternative methods to getting the HBO Max free trial today. 

HBO Max free episodes

Tokyo Vice

(Image credit: HBO Max)

While not a free trial as such, HBO Max (and we're hoping Max will do the same) offers a number of first episodes from some of its biggest original shows for free. These can be watched either via the app or the Max website.

Examples of shows that are available to watch for free include: Tokyo Vice, Succession, The Sex Live of College Girls, Starstruck, The Climb, Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon, The White Lotus, Barry, Euphoria, Industry, Take Out with Lisa, House of Ho, The Last of Us, and more. 

Try HBO Max via Hulu

HBO Max free trial Hulu

(Image credit: Hulu)

HBO Max (or Max) is available as an add-on to a bunch of cord-cutting streaming services, and you can even add it to Hulu's cheapest $7.99 a month tier. And you can still add HBO Max as an add-on to your Hulu subscription as a 7-day free trial. This option is open to both new and existing Hulu subscribers, including anyone signing up for a free 30-day trial at Hulu.

Once the 7 days are up, Max payments kick in at the same $15.99 a month payment as if you were going direct. As things stand, Hulu isn't providing the option of the $9.99 a month Max Ad-Lite as a bolt-on. 

You'll be able to log in to the Max app and website with your Hulu login so you can enjoy complete access. If you try to browse via the Hulu app you won't see the full selection of content, especially the cinema movies, so do make sure to get the proper HBO Max app too. It's actually a very slick app to use already, we don't know why rivals like Prime Video are still such a mess to navigate through when it's been around for years.

So yes, a month of Hulu and a week of Max, for free.

So there you have it, those are your best options to get an HBO Max free trial. It's not the most direct route, but most importantly, it is still possible to get it 100% free. So you can get one and watch Zack Snyder's Justice League in all its glory, among the highly underrated The Suicide Squad, the controversial Don't Worry Darling, and the juggernaut that is Avatar: The Way of the Water for free.

Whether you sign up directly via Max or sideways on Hulu, you're still only on rolling one-month contracts, with no long-term commitments required. So you can keep it for a month or two if you like and see how many box sets you can get through and drop it whenever you want.

HBO Max free trial promo codes

The Matrix Resurrections

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

As things stand, there aren't any HBO Max free trial promo codes doing the rounds. The closest thing is to sign up for a year instead of monthly payments. This saves you $19.89 (16%) a year for Max Ad-Lite, $41.89 (21%) a year for Mad Ad Free or $39.89 (16%) a year for Max Ultimate Ad Free.

We'll update this guide if we hear otherwise on any sort of promo codes though, as you never know what might come along. Now that Max is rolling out in the US and is expected to make it to more countries before the end of 2023, it would make a good opportunity for some promo codes to get more people onboard.

If you're after a few discounted sports streaming options too, we've put together a few guides on the latest ESPN Plus costs and Fubo TV costs and packages too. Not to mention, we've broken down all the latest HBO Max prices and deals, so you can stream Max for the lowest cost possible.

Matt Poskitt
Deals Editor

Matthew is the Deals Editor for GamesRadar, keeping up with everything in games and constantly searching the web for the best deals on offer. Prior to this, Matthew headed up the games and entertainment section at T3 with his work also found across TechRadar, IGN, Tom's Guide, Fandom, NME, and more. In his spare time, Matthew is an avid cinema-goer, keen runner and average golfer (at best). You can follow him @MattPoskitt64.