Max: HBO Max replacement, price, movies, TV shows, devices, and more

The Max streaming logo on a TV
Max is your gateway to some of the best movies and TV shows around. (Image credit: Max)

Max is only a year old, the result of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) merging HBO Max with Discovery, but it's already one of the best streaming services you can sign up for. Indeed, Max brings you a huge library of movies and TV shows so, whatever your tastes, you'll never run out of quality things to watch.

In this guide, you'll find everything you need to know about the super streaming service. We'll cover information about price, the devices supported by Max, 4K availability, and details of all the best movies and TV shows Max offers, from Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, DC, Studio Ghibli, Warner Bros, and more. So, get reading!

What is Max?

Barbie at the wheel of an up-ended car, with Ken in the back seat.

Barbie, the biggest movie at the worldwide box office in 2023, is definitely more than Ken-ough on Max. (Image credit: Warner Bros. / Max)

Max was born when Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) merged its streaming platforms, HBO Max and Discovery Plus, in May 2023. 

Max is a bigger and more streamlined streaming service than its predecessor. Not only do you gain access to all of HBO Max's vast library (including most DC comics content, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and more) – the entertainment behemoth also allows you to stream the best programs from Discovery Plus' TV brands, including TLC, Magnolia Network, and HGTV. (It's worth noting, however, that Discovery Plus is still available as a separate service.)

Here are some of the other big benefits that the Max service offers over its predecessor:

  • Smarter recommendations
  • Improved performance
  • Easier sign-in and use
  • Profile PIN for adult profiles
  • New hubs and genres

To start viewing, you'll need to download the Max app on your device of choice (more on these later) or to head to Max.com to begin streaming via a web browser.

Where is Max currently available?

Dune cast standing in the desert for a promotional image

The two Timothee Chalamet-starring Dune films are out now on Max. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

This is where things get slightly more complicated. Before 2024 began, HBO Max had only been rebranded to Max in the United States. That changed on February 27, when Max rolled out in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Three months later (May 21, to be precise), Max landed in Europe. It's now available in 26 European nations, including France, Belgium, Poland, and the Netherlands.

What about in countries where HBO Max was never available? Will they be getting Max? In the UK and Australia, for example, HBO-developed movies and TV shows air on Sky and Foxtel/Binge, respectively. These licensing agreements aren't expected to end for some time, so WBD's HBO-based contracts with Sky and Foxtel will simply continue as they are. With Sky's deal not set to expire in December 2025, UK viewers will definitely have to wait another two years before they get Max. Still, at least the in-development Harry Potter TV show, which is slated to arrive in 2026, may be a Max UK launch title.

Max price: how much does it cost?

Roman, Shiv and Tom in a boardroom in Succession season 3

Keeping up with the Roys: the entirety of the critically acclaimed Succession is now available on Max. (Image credit: HBO)

There are three Max price points to choose from, with the more expensive tiers offering extra perks over their cheaper cousins. All three are available for monthly and annual fees, with the 12-month deals offering significant savings of up to 20%.

Here's a closer look at what's available:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Max subscription tiers
Header Cell - Column 0 Max Ad-LiteMax Ad FreeMax Ultimate Ad Free
Price$9.99/month or $99.99/year$15.99/month or $149.99/year$19.99/month or $199.99/year
Ads?YesNoNo
Resolution1080p HD resolution 1080p HD resolution4K UHD resolution
Streams2 concurrent streams2 concurrent streams4 concurrent streams
Sound5.1 surround sound quality5.1 surround sound qualityDolby Atmos sound quality
Offline supportNo offline downloads30 offline downloads100 offline downloads

Max has also introduced a Bleacher Report sports add-on. This was originally included at no extra charge to existing Max subscribers but will cost $9.99 monthly from February 29, 2024.

If you're subscribed to HBO through your cable or satellite TV package, internet plan, or wireless plan, the Max home page explains that users may have access to Max at no extra cost. However, you'll need to head to the Max providers page to see if you're eligible. You can also add Max to your Hulu plan for $15.99 per month.

When HBO Max switched over to Max last May, WBD promised that existing subscribers "will still have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months following launch". This was good news in the short term, but – when those six months were up – they didn't waste much time cutting back on features for former HBO Max users on the $15.99/month option.

As we reported in December 2023, subscribers on that tier lost their 4K and HDR picture quality, and saw the number of simultaneous streams available to them cut from three to two. If they want to recreate the features of their old package, they need to pay the $19.99/month Max Ultimate Ad Free tier.

Is there a Max free trial?

Robert Pattinson in the Riddler's lair in The Batman movie

Is it possible to get a Max free trial to stream The Batman? Could be a question for the World's Greatest Detective... (Image credit: Jonathan Olley/Warner Bros.)

The short answer is no. In the early days of HBO Max, potential subscribers were allowed to give the new platform a free spin for seven days before deciding whether to sign up. But since December 2020 that wasn't an option on HBO Max. For the most part, this remains the case with Max even though the streaming service will put out limited offers that give people free access. But there aren't any around at the time of writing. 

Max movies: Dune Part Two, A24, Studio Ghibli, and more

A promo shot for The Hobbit showing the main characters, including Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf, looking off into the distance surrounded by mountains.

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies are both available on Max. (Image credit: New Line Cinema / Warner Bros.)

Max is stuffed with plenty of critically-acclaimed and highly-rated movies. Netflix's library might contain notable highlights from other studios, but Max offers tons of amazing films from Warner Bros' impressive library, a back catalog that's been over a century in the making.

So, what's on offer? For one, an eclectic range of movies based on DC Comics, including Batman (1989), Joker, and The Dark Knight, as well as DC Extended Universe (DCEU) films including Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Black Adam, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods. You can also find out how to watch the DC movies in order while you're here.

Genre movies are generally well represented, with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and Dune also available. Take a look at our dedicated guide to the best Max movies for our top-tier choices and our new Max movies list, which is updated every month with the latest movies to hit the platform.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman crouches on a World War I battlefield.

Wonder Woman is one of the many DC Comics-inspired movies available on Max. (Image credit: Warner Bros)

One of Max's bespoke channels features Studio Ghibli movies, which gives subscribers access to every animated film from the legendary studio, including Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro. Yhere's plenty more for kids among the best Max family movies, too. Another channel – TCM (Turner Classic Movies) – delivers plenty of classics, such as Casablanca.

More than 100 A24 films are headed to Max soon thanks to a new licensing deal between Max and A24, which will now see the latter's films exclusively debut on the service a few months after their theatrical release. To whet your appetite for the new deal, here are 5 new A24 movies we’re excited to see in 2024.

It's also worth noting that Max's movie offerings aren't limited to Warner Bros releases. For example, Disney's blockbusting Avatar: The Way of Water isn't just available on Disney Plus, as Max has become the beneficiary of a previous deal signed between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros before Disney acquired Fox in March 2019. The agreement sees select 20th Century Studios movies also made available on WBD's streaming platforms.

Max shows: The Last of Us, House of the Dragon, and more

Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as police officers in a snowy landscape in True Detective: Night Country.

The Jodie Foster-starring True Detective: Night Country is an exciting new addition to the Max roster. (Image credit: Max)

Max may have ditched the HBO from its branding but the cable behemoth's acclaimed content remains a major part of the new streaming service's offering – and that's a big reason to be cheerful.

Indeed, that connection with HBO means that few platforms can compete with the TV drama offering available on Max, with long-standing classics such as The Wire, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones sitting alongside more recent (but similarly acclaimed) fare such as Chernobyl, Succession, Euphoria, House of the Dragon, The Last of Us, The White Lotus, The Flight Attendant, and the latest Jodie Foster-starring season of True Detective.

HBO isn't just known for its highly bingeworthy dramas. Smash-hit comedies including Veep and Flight of the Conchords are available, while the 12th and final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm is currently airing on the platform. The documentary line-up includes McMillions and The Case Against Adnan Sayed, while HBO's rich history of stand-up specials is also showcased, with some of the biggest US comedians' live shows available to stream.

A screenshot of a Euphoria season 2 poster, which stars Zendaya

Euphoria has been one of Max's edgiest – and most acclaimed – dramas of recent years. (Image credit: HBO)

Older shows from Warner's archive (and beyond) help supplement the HBO offering. Max has the exclusive US streaming rights to all 10 seasons of Friends and 26 seasons of South Park. The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, The Nanny, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are among the other sitcoms you can enjoy.

Great animated shows from the ’90s like Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and the more futuristic Batman Beyond can be beamed right into your living room, too. And, if you're after some anime, Crunchyroll has a channel on Max that offers a broad selection. Access to Cartoon Network encompasses shows like Steven Universe and Adventure Time, while the channel's more grown-up cousin, Adult Swim, supplies not-for-kids animated shows like Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Import shows include Italian crime drama Gomorrah, Brit hit I Hate Suzie, and the first 13 seasons of the BBC's successful 2005 Doctor Who reboot. (Who's recent 60th anniversary specials are available on Disney Plus.) For more recommendations encompassing Max's impressive suite of TV content, check out our comprehensive guide to the best Max shows.

Max vs HBO: what's the difference?

Jon Snow and Daenarys Targaryen stand next to each other in Game of Thrones

Is Max worth investing in over HBO? (Don't ask Jon Snow – he knows nothing.) (Image credit: HBO)

The main difference between HBO and Max comes down to the range of programming you can access. Subscribing to HBO will allow you to stream every original series and movie that the premium channel has to offer. 

Signing up for Max, meanwhile, gets you more than triple the content. You won't only gain access to Max's originals line-up, but you'll get everything on HBO and numerous other channels, such as Adult Swim and the best of Discovery Plus's back catalog. Essentially, there's no reason to get HBO over Max. They cost roughly the same, but you get way more stuff with the latter. 

What devices is Max available on?

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley singing into a microphone.

Elvis is available to watch on Max, but is Max the king of streaming services? (Image credit: HBO Max)

Want to know what devices support Max via web browsers or its app? Read the list below:

  • Amazon Fire tablets (4th generation or later)
  • Amazon Fire TV (Fire OS 5 or later)
  • Android (5.1 or later)
  • Android TV (with TV OS 5.1 or later)
  • Apple TV 4K or HD (with tvOS 14 or later)
  • Airplay
  • Chromecast
  • Chrome/Firefox/Microsoft Edge (latest versions) and Safari (version 13 or later)
  • Cox Contour 2 and Contour Stream Player
  • HDMI cable
  • iOS (14 or later)
  • LG Smart TV (webOS 3.5 or later)
  • PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
  • Roku (OS 11.0 and later)
  • Samsung smart TVs (2016 models or later)
  • VIZIO Smart TV (2016 models or later)
  • Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X
  • XClass TV
  • Xfinity X1 and Flex

Max app: what features are available?

A screenshot of some Game of Thrones avatar choices on the Max streaming service

There are plenty of ways to personalize Max. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Discovery/Max)

Max lets you download content for offline viewing, except on its Ad-Lite tier. It also has a PIN system for parental control, personalized profiles, and brand-based content hubs similar to how Disney Plus categorizes Star Wars content and Marvel films. As mentioned earlier, these hubs include TCM, Studio Ghibli, DC, Crunchyroll, Looney Tunes, and Sesame Workshop. 

Max also comes packaged with a number of accessibility features, including Alexa voice commands, audio description, close captions, keyboard navigation, and screen readers

Does Max support 4K streaming?

Ellie and Joel look at someone off camera in The Last of Us episode 6

The Last of Us can be streamed in 4K on compatible devices. (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Yes. Max supports 4K streaming on a selection of compatible devices, with over 1000 movies and TV shows available to watch in 4K UHD. That's eight times (!) the quantity that was available on HBO Max, including a bunch of new movies that weren't supported previously. Read our guide to eight films worth watching in 4K on Max right now.

There are a couple of caveats, mind you. First off, the 4K UHD support is only offered as part of the Ultimate Ad-Free tier, which will set you back $19.99 a month / $199.99 per year. Additionally, Dolby Atmos and Vision are only supported on specific films and TV series (read the full list in this WBD blog post), as well as on certain devices, which you can see below:

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube
  • Android TVs, including AT&T Streaming Box
  • Apple TV 4K
  • Google Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast with Google TV
  • PlayStation 5
  • Roku Ultra 4800x, Roku 4k TVs, Roku Premiere, and Roku Streaming Stick Plus
  • Xbox Series X
  • Xfinity X1 (Xi6) and Flex

Is Max worth the money?

The employees of The White Lotus welcome guests to their hotel.

You can check in for two brilliant seasons of hotel drama The White Lotus on Max. (Image credit: HBO Max)

Max is building on its association with both HBO (home of some of the best TV of the 21st century) and WBD's 100-year-plus catalog of movies. Not all streaming services will survive the ongoing content war, but Max has a lot of positives in its corner, especially with WBD's ongoing investment in blockbuster movies, the addition of the Discovery Plus library, wider 4K UHD support, and competitive price points. In fact, TechRadar named Max as Streaming Service of the Year in 2023.

HBO Max was already a great streaming service, and Max has built upon the foundations laid by its predecessor in impressive style. However, it remains to be seen whether its original releases make it stand out in an overpopulated US streaming landscape, especially when the price of entry (particularly on its ad-free tiers) is higher than the equivalents on Disney Plus, Netflix, and Prime Video.

For us, Max's superb movie and TV line-ups make it worth investing in even before all of its other features are accounted for, especially with the impressive raft of exclusive upcoming content already confirmed for the platform. Big hitters in the development pipeline include The Batman spin-off The Penguin, new TV shows set in the worlds of The Conjuring and The Big Bang Theory.

Harry Potter Max Original Series | Official Announcement | Max - YouTube Harry Potter Max Original Series | Official Announcement | Max - YouTube
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Perhaps the most headline-grabbing news, however, is that Max will be the home of more Game of Thrones prequel shows (one, titled A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, is already in production) and a big-budget TV adaptation of JK Rowling's Harry Potter franchise – the latter recently finding its showrunner and lead director.

We're unsure how popular Max will prove to be in the long term – it only launched in 2023 – and WBD will to ensure that any early teething problems are ironed out quickly. But, if Max can start to make a dent in Netflix's dominance of the landscape – as well as actively competing with other popular streamers such as Disney Plus for audience attention – WBD's decision to merge its two platforms will become a justifiable expense. As always, however, the proof will be in how many new subscribers Max can entice in the coming months and years.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.

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