HBO Max prices and deals explained: how to stream Max TV shows and movies

Max logo
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

HBO Max is no more! That's right, Warner Bros. has once again changed its streaming service, for better or worse, with a relaunch under the name Max. This now means HBO Max has combined with Discovery Plus to bring together the latest from HBO, WB Movies, the DC Universe, Animal Planet, Food Network, CNN, and more in one catalogue. It's a new dawn. It's also quite a confusing one, so we're here to break down all of Max's prices and deals.

The transition from HBO Max to Max officially took place on May 23rd, 2023. That means a lot has changed. So, let's start with the new pricing.  There are three new tiers with the regular Max price sitting at $9.99 a month (ads), $15.99 a month (ad-free), or $19.99 a month for the new Max Ultimate Ad Free tier. 

Each tier has its own annual prices too, which will save you a bit of cash but even going for the cheapest option, it's one of the more expensive streaming services out there when you compare it to today's Disney Plus bundles, Hulu prices, and Apple TV Plus costs. Given its unique stellar content though and the super plethora of new movies added on a regular basis though, Max is arguably the best and only streaming service out there you need.

Whether it's House of the Dragon with Matt Smith, Barry starring Bill Hader, or the must-watch black comedy-drama Succession, there's so much that justifies its price. Not to mention, the plethora of DC films and shows, including original series like Peacemaker starring John Cena, and Doom Patrol starring Brendan Fraser. Films like The Flash and The Batman are exclusively available on Max too. If you're a comicbook fan, you need to get on this.

Of course, the most recent must-watch show is HBO's The Last of Us TV series with Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. With all this in mind, check out our Max guide for a complete rundown of what’s included plus ways you can save money on the Warner Bros. streaming service.

HBO Max prices and plans

Sabrina Impacciatore in The White Lotus

(Image credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO)

The cheapest way to get HBO and Discovery Plus (or Max as it's now known) is to subscribe to the Max Ad-lite tier at $9.99 a month. This version offers access to the full HBO and Discovery Plus library, two concurrent streams, 1080p resolution, no offline downloads, and 5.1 surround sound quality. It does, however, feature limited ad breaks. There is also an annual membership for $99.99 a year, which equates to a saving of $19.89.

If you don't fancy ads, Max Ad Free is the next tier up at $15.99 a month. This gives you access to the full HBO and Discovery Plus, two concurrent streams, 1080p HD, up to 30 offline downloads, and 5.1 surround sound quality. Again you will receive no ads here. An annual Max Ad free membership is priced at $149.99 a year, which is a saving of $41.89 in comparison to paying monthly.

The third and final new tier is Max Ultimate Ad Free at $19.99 a month. Alongside gaining access to the full HBO and Discover Plus line-up, this also gets you four concurrent streams, 4K Ultra HD resolution, 100 offline downloads, and Dolby Atmos sound quality. The annual membership for Max Ultimate Ad Free is $199.99 a year, which equates to a saving of $39.89.

Opt for the monthly plans and you can upgrade and downgrade at will if you want to give all three Max plans a try. Max is compatible with Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, LG Smart TV, Samsung TV, PlayStation, Xbox, Roku, and more. The full list can be found here.

It's also worth noting that existing HBO Max subscribers will still have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months following launch. 

HBO Max deals

Brian Cox in Succession

(Image credit: HBO)

At the time of writing, there are no deals live for Max. We're expecting an introductory offer to be put up in time for Memorial Day and the relaunch of the streaming service, so check back soon. 

How to get HBO Max for free

Bill Hader in Barry

(Image credit: HBO)

HBO Max pulled its 7-day free trial in December 2020 and Max, similarly, doesn't offer one. Warner Bros. didn't provide an explanation behind this move, but we imagine it's because HBO didn't want people to stream Wonder Woman 1984 and other same-day premiere movies for free and then ditch its service. 

That said, Max does allow users to stream a number of free first episodes CIA the website or app. This includes 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, and more. 

Alternatively, a week-long free trial via Hulu was available if you're a new or existing Hulu customer (and choose HBO Max as an add-on). Bundling HBO Max with Hulu will expand your streaming library by over 80,000 TV episodes and movies — including next-day streaming of current-season shows. Just remember to cancel after seven days or you'll be charged for a month of service. Check out our full guide to the latest Hulu prices and bundle deals. We'll have to wait and see if this continues for Max. 

If you want to stay updated on the trial's return, keep an eye on our HBO Max free trial guide where we also go into greater detail about the Hulu route mentioned above.

HBO Max shows and movies

Paddy Considine and Milly Alcock in House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO Max / Ollie Upton)

Catch all of HBO's award-winning original series on Max. Relive the second-hand embarrassment of Curb Your Enthusiasm or finally see what the fuss over Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon is all about. Kick back and explore the mad universe of Rick and Morty or even survive a post-apocalyptic world in The Last of Us

Meanwhile, HBO Max has expanded its portfolio of Max Originals exclusive content. Standouts include the thriller series The Flight Attendant with Kaley Cuoco, the animated sitcom Close Enough, the mockumentary An American Pickle, and the award-winning drama It's a Sin from Russell T Davies. You then have Succession, Barry, Peacemaker, The White Lotus, The Gilded Age, Euphoria, Abbott Elementary, The Staircase, Our Flag Means Death, and The Rehearsal all making waves over the past couple of years. 

Other notable shows on HBO Max include Friends, The Watchmen, Made for Love, Lovecraft Country, The Nevers, Veep, Superman & Lois, South Park, The Boondocks, Reno 911, The Big Bang Theory, Sex and the City, The Leftovers and The Sopranos.

With the relaunch in May 2023, this also means Max features Discovery Plus content now, such as the Food Network, HGTV, and the Discovery Channel. That's a huge increase in new shows and documentaries.

HBO Max's vast catalog of movies features a mix of recent hits and beloved classics including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Dark Knight trilogy, The Matrix quadrilogy, all eight Harry Potter films, the DC Extended Universe, The Wizard of Oz, and Casablanca. HBO Max is also home to an extensive library of Studio Ghibli films — hence the reason you can't find Ghibli movies on Netflix in the United States. On top of this, Max now features more than 1,000 films and episodes in 4K UHD, increasing by almost eight times compared to what was available on HBO Max.

Is HBO Max on Roku or Fire TV?

HBO Max on Fire TV

(Image credit: Amazon)

HBO Max is now available to stream on Roku devices as of December 2020, and so is Max as of May 2023. If you already subscribe to HBO via Roku, it'll update to Max automatically. As of November 2020, HBO Max is now available to stream on Amazon Fire TV Stick and Amazon Fire TV Cube. This applies to the Max rebranding as well.

Is HBO Max worth it?

The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO / Sky)

The short answer: yes. Max's new prices may give you pause since competing services like Disney Plus and Apple TV+ is half the cost and feature some Ultra HD content. However, Max arguably has the most impressive media library of any streaming platform thanks to parent company WarnerMedia, its ongoing quality of original shows, and the new addition of Discovery Plus.

If you can only pick one streamer, we'd recommend Max. While the movies are pretty great - Avatar: The Way of the Water, Magic Mike's Last Dance, The Menu, and Banshees of Insherinare some of the new highlights - it's really the original TV series that make it stand out above everything else. Every award season, HBO clears up with The White Lotus doing that most recently. We expect The Last of Us to follow.

We even saw numerous films released on streaming the same day as theatres back in 2021, with Wonder Woman 1984 being released in 4K Ultra HD. There are around 30 movies on HBO Max (Dune, The Matrix, The Suicide Squad etcetera.) available in 4K so if that's a priority for you, it might be wise to look elsewhere. Also, now that the pandemic is over (for the most part), it's unlikely we'll see films being released day and date like then. We are, however, seeing movies come to HBO Max faster than ever before. Baz Luhrmann's Elvis debuted in cinemas in June 2022 and then arrived on HBO Max in September, for example.

Max may have pulled the plug on its free trial – although you can still try first episodes of several shows – but you can still head over to Hulu and try both HBO Max and Hulu for a week at no cost.

Can I watch HBO Max outside of the US?

Peacemaker starring John Cena

(Image credit: HBO Max )

Max is currently available in the United States (including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands). More countries are planned to receive the Max relaunch by the end of 2023.

Meanwhile, HBO Max is available across most of Europe and rolled out across 39 more countries in July 2022. This includes: Anguilla, Antigua, Argentina, Aruba, B.V.I., Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

In the UK, Max is unlikely to be coming anytime soon as a lot of HBO content is contracted to appear on Sky TV until the end of 2025. If you're thinking of tunneling in from outside of the US, you'll find it's hard work as you need a US bank card to set up an account and you can no longer pay with Apple Pay, PayPal, or Google Pay instead.

If you are outside of the US and have access to Hulu though and are paying for that with something like a Revolut card, then you could add Max as a bolt-on to that streaming service instead for the same price as you would going direct.

Check out our viewing guide on how to watch Snyder Cut online. You'll find cheaper options via Disney Plus bundles and we've got you covered for other networks with guides to the latest Peacock TV costs and Paramount Plus prices.

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.