Max price: plans, current deals, and what to watch

Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO, HBO and Max Content, speaks onstage during the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront 2023 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 17, 2023
(Image credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Following its rebrand last year to from HBO Max to just, simply, 'Max', there's been continued excitement for the streaming platform as it continues to become home to some of the best entertainment out there. From Succession to The Last of Us, 2024 promises more excitement with the arrival of The Penguin, a spin-off that picks up from the events of Robert Pattinson's Batman movie. We'll also get season 2 of House of the Dragon, as well as exciting cinematic releases like Wonka, Barbie, and Aquaman And the Lost Kingdom.

With Max Originals like The White Lotus and Euphoria taking centre-stage, you'll also find iconic HBO shows (Chernobyl, Mare of Easttown), a carefully-curated set of movie classics from TCM and top choices from the Warner Brothers film and TV archive. Added to that, you'll meet hobbits, DC superheroes, Friends, and houses filled with dragons, alongside the addition of Discovery Plus' unscripted reality shows around home improvement and the like.

Max offers some excellent deals, and is already at a mega-competitive price. But how does it compare to some of the other best streaming services out there like Disney Plus, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video? Keep reading, and we'll let you know.

Max subscription price and plans: your quick guide

The HBO Max prices and plans had a big change in May last year with the introduction of a third tier alongside its rebrand to Max, the conclusion of its acquisition by Discovery Inc. in 2021.

All three plans offer the HBO Max content you know and love including TV shows and movies from Warner Bros, DC, Cartoon Network, and more, as well as current and future Max Originals. But on top of that, you can also watch the likes of Fixer Upper, 90-Day Finance, and other hit reality TV shows from Discovery Plus.

As part of the rebrand, HBO has also promised to significantly expand its 4K offering, with a brand new flagship fleet of shows, including a Harry Potter TV adaptation, a spin-off of The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones prequel A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, The Penguin, and True Detective: Nighty Country set to lead the charge. 

The only downside and loss for current HBO Max subscribers is that the new, pricier tier is the only plan that offers 4K streams. 

If you were a HBO Max subscriber, however, you may be able to stay on your old plan for at least six months after the launch of Max.

Devices compatible with HBO Max include Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, HBO Max on Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, and iPad, Android, and iPhones. 

Still from Barbie

(Image credit: Warner Bros. / Max)

Are there currently any HBO Max deals?

If you're a new or existing customer of Cricket Wireless, its Unlimited package includes a free ‘With Ads’ HBO Max subscription.

As for the HBO Max free trial? The 7-day offer was discontinued in December 2020 for US customers. Following the conclusion of its merger with Discovery Inc. we also saw the opportunity to get a week free trial with Hulu and Prime Video subscriptions disappear, too. 

Currently, one of the best streaming deals available right now for Max is up to 20% off when signing up to its annual plans.

Max home screen

(Image credit: Future)

How does the HBO Max price compare to other streaming services?

To get a good idea of how the HBO Max prices compare to its competitors, we've compiled a table comparing the biggest platforms ad-free plans.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Streaming serviceAd-free rate
Max$15.99-$19.99 a month
Disney Plus$13.99 a month
Netflix$15.49-$19.99 a month
Hulu$17.99 a month
Paramount Plus$11.99 a month
Apple TV Plus$9.99 a month
Peacock TV$11.99 a month

How does the HBO Max price compare to Netflix?

Netflix has four plans to choose between: 

  • Standard with ads: $6.99 a month
  • Basic: $9.99 a month
  • Standard: $15.49 a month
  • Premium: $19.99 a month

Max’s base-level $9.99/month (or $99.99/year) Ad-Lite plan, which lets you stream on two devices at the same time at up to 1080p, without any downloading capabilities, can be weighed up against any of the three cheapest Netflix plans.

Netflix’s Standard with ads plan is really temptingly priced at $6.99/month, and lets you stream on two devices at the same time at up to 1080p, with no downloads. Netflix’s $9.99/month Basic plan removes the ads and adds downloads, but limits use to one device at a time, with video quality restricted to HD. At $15.49/month, Netflix’s Standard plan costs a fair bit more than Max Ad-Lite, but includes downloads on up to two devices, and is ad-free. Video quality is limited to Full HD, and you get two concurrent streams.

Max’s $15.99/month (or $149.99/year) Ad-Free plan is certainly more appealing than a Standard Netflix plan, as it allows you to stream on up to two devices at once in Full HD quality, and download up to 30 titles for offline viewing. 

The $19.99/month ($199.99/year) Max Ultimate Ad-Free plan ramps things up with 4K streaming quality, four concurrent streams, 100 downloads and Dolby Atmos sound quality.


(Image credit: Netflix)

It only really warrants comparison with the $19.99/month Netflix Premium plan, which also includes 4K streaming on up to four devices at once. There’s also Netflix spatial audio, while downloads can be accessed on six devices at a time.

All in all, there’s not a lot between them in terms of price, but their libraries are very different. Max’s catalog is studded with many of the greatest TV shows ever created, such as The Sopranos, Succession, Curb Your Enthusiasm, South Park, and The Wire, as well as more recent hits like The Last of Us, The White Lotus, Station Eleven, and Euphoria. Almost anything else pales in comparison.

Netflix has major hits of its own though, in Stranger Things, Wednesday, Sex Education, and Better Call Saul, which are all appointment viewing.

Netflix certainly has the upper hand in terms of quantity, being loaded with nearly three times as much content as Max – 17,000 titles globally to Max’s 2,500+. It also trounces HBO Max regarding the number of titles available to stream in Ultra HD – over 500 where HBO Max has somewhere around 40 in 4K – though HBO is accelerating the expansion of its 4K offering.

How does the HBO Max price compare to Amazon Prime Video?

There’s only one Amazon Prime Video plan you need to know about: 

An Amazon Prime Video subscription lets you stream on three devices at once and download films and TV shows, with video quality topping out at 4K.

It’s cheaper than the $15.99/month (or $149.99/year) Ad-Free Max plan, which is limited to two concurrent streams at Full HD, and the $19.99/month ($199.99/year) Max Ultimate Ad-Free plan, which lets you stream in 4K on up to four devices at once. 

However, it’s fair to say that each service caters to completely different needs. Amazon’s enormous content library can best be described as eclectic, and its flagship title, The Rings of Power, ultimately fell flat. There are, however, some gems to be uncovered, such as The Boys and Daisy Jones & The Six. 

Most people are likely to get much more entertainment out of Max’s $9.99/month (or $99.99/year) base-level Ad-Lite plan than they would from the entire Amazon Prime Video library. 

The ace up Prime Video’s sleeve, however, is the package of bonus extras that it offers. A subscription comes with free delivery and free music streaming, while in NFL’s Thursday Night Football, Prime Video also has a major stake in live sport. The 30-day free trial for new users is very tempting too.

How does the HBO Max price compare to Disney Plus?


(Image credit: Disney Plus)

There are two Disney Plus plans to choose from: 

Disney Plus remains one of the most popular VOD streaming services with a beloved collection of lucrative brands. And, if you don't mind ads, at $7.99 per month it provides strong value. 

However, the recent price hike means those not wanting adverts will have to pay $13.99 (or grab an annual subscription to save 20%, bringing it to $139.99). Because of this, and HBO Max's reduced 'With Ads' plan (which is only $1 more than Disney's no-ads plan), we might see HBO Max taking a bigger share of the VOD profits – particularly from grown-ups yearning for more grounded content. 

In terms of functionality, Disney Plus account sharing allows four people to stream from one account simultaneously, while HBO Max is capped at three. 

But from a content perspective, the House of Mouse has a relatively slim bounty, with 500 films compared to over 2,000 on HBO Max, and all available for not much more. If you want the ad-free experience though, you’ll have to pay $14.99 per month – which is still $4 above the ads-free Disney Plus price

Content is key in both cases, and each service is the exclusive home of some beloved brands and film franchises. Disney Plus will enchant those who are Team Marvel, Pixar, The Simpsons and The Muppets – plus Star Wars spin-offs like Obi-Wan Kenobi are coming thick and fast. 

But anyone beholden to DC Comics, Studio Ghibli, nail-biting TV dramas and blockbuster cinema, will jump at the opportunity to pay the marginally higher HBO Max price.  

How does the HBO Max cost compare to Apple TV Plus?

Apple TV Plus keeps things simple with one price plan: 

At $9.99 per month, an Apple TV Plus subscription costs half the price of an HBO Max's most expensive ad-free, 4k plan, and one account can be shared between an additional five people – more than any other streamer listed here. 

Furthermore, new Apple TV Plus subscribers get a 7-day free trial as standard, while you’ll get either three, six or 12 months for free if you buy an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV.

Apple TV Plus has been a slow-burn VOD service, quietly accruing subscribers with its high-quality exclusive TV series and films – the awards juggernaut Ted Lasso, for example, the newsroom drama The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, and visually spectacular, David Attenborough-narrated Prehistoric Planet. 

But, given it’s mainly home to brand-new Apple TV originals, its library of titles is incredibly lean. It’s got about 115 feature films and series, whereas HBO Max has hundreds.

In regards to the quality of what’s on offer, Apple TV Plus has quickly developed a reputation for producing content near enough on a par with HBO, best seen with recent hits like Severance and Slow Horses. Everything here is immaculately produced, and available to watch in stunning 4K. But as of yet, very little has inspired the adoration of HBO shows like The Wire, Euphoria, Sex and the City, or The Sopranos.

Still, Apple TV Plus is a fraction of the HBO Max cost, and there’s a lot to look forward to. Heading to the platform in the future is Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed Western crime drama Killers of the Flower Moon, while Apple also has the rights to at least 24 Friday night regular-season MLB games each season until 2029.

How does the HBO Max cost compare to Hulu?

Hulu offers two on-demand plans:

In terms of price, Hulu slightly undercuts Max, with its on-demand only plan costing $7.99 a month or $79.99 annually, and featuring an impressive library of more than 4,000 titles to stream. 

However, in order to provide a similar functionality to a fully-fledged HBO Max subscription, you need to purchase a few add-ons that bump up the price. 

Want to forgo the annoying adverts? Then you’ll need to pick the $17.99 Hulu (No Ads) option. Want to stream on more than two devices at once? Unlimited Screens costs another $9.99, which brings us to a monthly total of $28. Suddenly that $15.99 HBO Max price for its ‘Ad Free’ plan doesn’t seem so extravagant.

There’s no question that Hulu still offers great value and flexibility. Its Basic plan is available to students for an unbelievable $1.99, while those looking for a cable TV experience can upgrade to Hulu with Live TV for $76.99 a month, where, on top of a roster of more than 75 live channels and a vast VOD library you now get Disney Plus and sports service ESPN Plus thrown in. 

So, it beats HBO Max in the price wars. But few would disagree that, when it comes to sheer quality of content, HBO takes the crown – and any naysayers can take their disputes to Tony Soprano.

Daniel Pateman

Daniel Pateman is a freelance writer, producing articles across the cultural spectrum for magazines like Aesthetica, Photomonitor, The Brooklyn Rail and This is Tomorrow. He also provides text-writing services to individual curators and artists worldwide, and has had work published internationally. His favourite film genre is horror (bring on Scream 5!) and he never tires of listening to Absolute 80s on the radio.

With contributions from