AT&T launched Max in May 2020. The following May, it announced plans to get rid of WarnerMedia and HBO altogether. And 11 months later, HBO became part of the newly created Warner Bros. Discovery. But that's not the confusing part. Max is HBO's fourth streaming service. Read on as our Max review sets things straight and lays out what the service has to offer.
With nearly 50 years of high-quality content in its library, Max is positioned to go toe-to-toe with Netflix, Hulu and other on-demand services. We'll help you decide whether it's worth adding to your streaming lineup.
Why we're reviewing Max
Max is going through some big changes lately, but it remains one of the most talked-about streaming services out there, with a lot of content and a lot of people wanting to know if this is the right choice for them. Our Max review will aim to cover all you need to know about this service, from its content library to its current pricing and future plans, too. This should help you decide whether or not Max is the right choice for you.
What is Max?
Max is a subscription service that is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. It first launched in May of 2020 and was designed to offer content from HBO, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim.
Designed as a rival to the likes of Netflix and Disney+, Max was seen as a successor to HBO's previous services, HBO Now, HBO Go, and now HBO Max. It quickly turned into a big success, attracting tens of millions of subscribers and putting a big focus on its own original programming.
The current state of Max
In 2022, Max made headlines due to some major changes with its parent company. This all started in March of 2022, when Discovery Inc. shareholders approved a merger with WarnerMedia, creating Warner Bros. Discovery.
At the time, the Discovery CFO, Hunnar Wiedenfels, announced that the company had some big plans for Max and wanted to eventually merge it with Discovery+.
This was pretty exciting news for streaming fans, but Max subscribers were disappointed in July of 2022 when it was revealed that Max was no longer making any new original series in many parts of the world, as well as removing certain shows from the platform.
Things got worse in August, when multiple HBO Original films and HBO series were taken off the service, and the most dramatic news of all came with the announcement that Batgirl, a big-budget DC movie which was supposed to launch on the platform, got cancelled.
A Scooby Doo movie called Scoob! Holiday Haunt was also cancelled, and more reports came out that the company was planning to release more movies in theaters, rather than keeping up its "direct-to-streaming" approach.
This was all pretty bad news for Max, and even more shows were pulled from the service. Not only that, but fans started to worry about the future of their favorite HBO originals, and certain movies that were originally set to release on the platform, like Evil Dead Rise, were shifted to theatrical release only.
However, things started to improve in May 2023, when the previously-named HBO Max officially merged with Discovery+ and became Max. This merger allowed the streaming service to expand its on-demand library to over 35,000 hours of content, including HBO originals and a variety of third-party content.
With new content offerings and Max originals on the way, it seems the streaming service is returning to its original glory.
Our 60-second summary of Max
The jewel in Max's crown is its content. This is the major selling point of the platform, and Max’s library of amazing shows has helped it keep up with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, with critically-acclaimed and hugely exciting shows like House of the Dragon, We Own This City, and Westworld making this platform one to watch.
With the recent addition of new content on the platform, there’s a lot of great stuff to watch on there, and it’s not particularly expensive. At the same time, with so much disruption to the service right now, it’s hard to say what happen with Max next, and this uncertainty is sure to make certain subscribers hesitate about keeping their subscriptions going.
The pros and cons of Max
There's a lot to like about Max, especially in terms of content. There's literally something for everyone: lots of cartoons for the kids, award-winning HBO dramas for the adults, tons of new and old Warner Brothers movies and more.
Its departure from AT&T also boded well for the streaming service, as Warner Bros. merged Max and Discovery+ into a single platform.
That's excellent news for cord-cutters looking for more family-friendly content – not something that HBO is particularly known for.
- Nearly 50 years of HBO's award-winning content
- Strong lineup of animation
- Classics from the Turner Classic Movies vault
- Exclusive home of several iconic TV shows
- Live sports and TV are on the horizon
- Expensive compared to other on-demand services
- Max is HBO's fourth streaming app
- The service has been removing content and canceling films unexpectedly
Plans and pricing for Max
There are currently 3 plan options available for Max: With-Ads, Ad-Free, and Ultimate Ad-Free.
You can read more about the plans and pricing here.
The content library of Max
As stated earlier on, original content is the main selling point of Max, and it has some super shows for users to enjoy. One of the biggest shows in the world right now is House of the Dragon, and this show is available exclusively on Max (as well as the HBO cable channel). The platform also boasts other highly-rated shows, from Barry to The Flight Attendant, Tokyo Vice, Julia, The Staircase, Hacks, and The Rehearsal.
There’s also a good level of emphasis on family-friendly content on this platform, with plenty to offer for younger viewers. The animated Gremlins reboot, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, premiered on the platform, and Adventure Time: Distant Lands, a limited series of specials based on Adventure Time, will surely trigger nostalgia in older Millennials and Gen Xers.
Warner Brothers films
Warner Bros. can essentially do whatever it wants with DC comic book characters and stories. The fact that every single DC-related movie (except for the newest ones, of course) will be a part of the on-demand catalog is one of the service's major draws. Other notable Warner Bros. films include the Matrix trilogy and the Lord of the Rings franchise.
Content from the Turner Classic Movies vault rounds out the catalog with classic movies from the past. Warner Bros. also owns Adult Swim, which is the company behind the surprise hit show Rick and Morty.
Content from other production companies
During its dalliance with the entertainment industry, AT&T signed deals with NBC to acquire the right to stream Friends and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. You'll also find the BBC's Doctor Who, Luther, Top Gear, and Ricky Gervais' original version of The Office on Max_._ In addition, Max will be the exclusive home of Comedy Central's South Park.
With its recent merger with Discovery+, Max has added a variety of content from HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID, and more, which means you can watch even more of your favorite shows.
The interface of Max
One common complaint about HBO Now was its clunky interface. Max's interface seems to be much slicker and more responsive by comparison – proving that old adage about the third time (or more) being a charm.
Since its rebranding, Max has expanded its navigational abilities with five main hubs: Home, Movies, Series, HBO, and New & Notable. On mobile devices, you can also access Downloads. The secondary navigation menu offers even more categories to choose from, such as Animation With an Edge, A Scary Good Time, and HBO Highlights. Additionally, you can browse by 17 genres, 21 collections, or 18 brand hubs, including Food Network, TCM, Studio Ghibli, and ID.
Device support for Max
Max's list of supported devices isn't as robust as some streaming services, but it should be good for most people. While it might not cover a lot of streaming devices, it does have a dedicated app for the 3 major computer operating systems. Max is on Apple TV and other popular platforms, including:
- Computer: Mac app, Windows app, Chromebook app, Web browsers
- Mobile: Android, iOS, Fire Tablets
- Streaming: Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku
- Gaming: PlayStation, Xbox
- TVs: Android TV, Hisense, LG, Samsung, Vizio
- Cable set-top boxes: Cox, Spectrum, Xfinity
Offline viewing on Max
The With Ads plan doesn't let you download content to watch offline, but you can with the Ad-Free or Ultimate Ad-Free option. This makes it perfect for long flights or when you're going someplace without internet access.
Customer support for Max
You can expect above-average customer support features. In addition to the standard self-service ticket system and knowledge base, Max offers live phone and chat support. The support team also answers questions via Twitter and other social networks.
Watching Max outside of the U.S.
To watch Max outside of the United States, you’ll need to use a VPN:
- Choose a VPN that works with Max. Some good options include ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
- Download and install the VPN software on your device.
- Connect to a server in the United States.
- Sign in to Max and start streaming!
You asked, we answered! Here are some frequently asked questions about Max availability that we can give you quick answers to.
Can I watch Max on my Amazon Fire Stick?
Yes! You can watch Max onto your Amazon Fire Stick by searching for the app from the Home screen and downloading/installing it. Then you just have to login to your Max account. If you have Max as an add-on to your Amazon Prime account, use your Amazon login instead.
Can I watch Max on my Nintendo Switch?
You can watch Max on your Nintendo Switch by adding Max as a Hulu add-on. The Switch doesn’t have a separate Max app, but they do have Hulu, so the only way to watch Max on your switch is by accessing it through your Hulu subscription.
Can I watch Max on my Nvidia Shield TV?
Yes! You can download the Max app to stream on your Nvidia Shield TV.
Summing up: Our view on Max
The most important part of any streaming service is its content library. Max is very strong in that respect. For many, the HBO vault alone will be worth it. After all, HBO helped usher in the Golden Age of Television.
The people behind HBO continue to make great decisions in terms of content development, as evidenced by the massive success that was Game of Thrones and the new success of House of the Dragon. And now, with new content offerings thanks to Discovery+, you can find even more to watch.
Alex Munkachy • Author
Alex Munkachy is a freelance writer, game developer and hobby robotics enthusiast.
Lisa Holden • Editor
Lisa Holden is an editor and creative based in Houston, TX. Lisa holds a BA in African-American Studies from Temple University and has spent her career working in news publications and magazines, even founding a magazine herself. She began working as an editor for Flixed in 2023. When she’s not editing or working on one of her many creative endeavors (whenever that is), she enjoys traveling to new places and biking on sunny days.