HBO Max is now available to download from the App Store, ready for its US launch. The new HBO service has already begun streaming its huge back-catalogue along with new ‘HBO Max Originals'.

Warner Media's new streaming service debuts with over 10,000 hours of premium content for $14.99/month. The catalogue of content comprises of hit movies and TV shows from the likes of; Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Criterion Collection, New Line Cinema, Crunchyroll, Studio Ghibli, Boomerang, DC, Looney Tunes, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, CNN, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Rooster Teeth and of course HBO and all new HBO Max original programming.

HBO Max Originals available at launch include "Craftopia", a craft series for children of all ages hosted by Lauren Riihimaki. "Legendary", a drag competition show based on underground balls featuring competing voguing houses. "Love Life", a romantic comedy anthology series starring Anna Kendrick, produced by Kendrick and Paul Feig. "On the Record", the controversial Me Too documentary from accusers of record executive Russell Simmons, originally destined for Apple TV+ before - then executive producer - Oprah Winfrey pulled the plug. "New Looney Tunes" cartoons with over 80 11 min shorts coming to the service, and "The Not Too Late Show with Elmo", a nightly talk show produced by Sesame Workshop.

HBO Max will also include hit TV shows with "Friends", "The Big Bang Theory", "Rick & Morty", "The West Wing", "BBC's Top Gear", "South Park" and "Sesame Street", just a few stand-outs. Add in literally hundreds of classic and contemporary hit movies - including many of the Kaiju films, the original "Godzilla", Stanley Kubricks "Dr Strangelove", "Fight Club", the complete "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, almost every Studio Ghibli movie, "For All Mankind: A Trip to the Moon", Federico Felinis "8 1/2", "Wonder Woman", "Prisoners", "Ready or Not", "Shazam", "Downton Abbey", "Joker" - and it's clear that there's a lot of quality content to entice potential subscribers on day one.

Human created recommendations, custom profiles that mature with its youngest users, shared home pages and companion podcasts are just a few extras, exclusive to HBO Max, but like HBO Now and HBO Go, HBO Max will be limited to HD streaming for the time being. The lack of 4K content is somewhat disappointing for a streaming service launching in 2020, yet a date for higher quality streams is expected within days. What's yet to be seen is how/if Apple’s TV app will prioritise superior streams from 4K iTunes purchases and competing streaming services.

How to Watch on iPhone, iPad or Apple TV?

If you currently subscribe to HBO and pay Apple to access the service via the HBO Now app or through Apple channels, you will gain access to HBO Max at no extra charge. All HBO Max content will be compatible with the TV app, Siri search and your Up Next queue.

It should be noted that to get the best bang for your buck you should subscribe to HBO through Apple channels. HBO Apple channel subscriptions will still be shareable through Family Sharing to up-to 6 family members but HBO Max content must be accessed through the HBO Max app which has a limit of just 3 concurrent HD streams. Also in my experience the HBO Apple channel stream quality is far superior to that currently delivered via the HBO NOW app.

Here’s what you have to do to get the maximum from your current subscription:

  1. Your HBO NOW app will update to the HBO Max app. Otherwise you can open the app store on your device, search for HBO Max, and install the HBO Max app.
  2. Open the HBO Max app. You shouldn't need to sign in. But if you do, sign in using either your HBO NOW email and password or your Apple ID. On iOS just choose 'Restore Purchase'.
  3. You must agree to the HBO Max terms of use and privacy policy if prompted, then choose to ‘Access All of HBO Max’ or ‘Access HBO Only’.
  4. If you choose Access All of HBO Max, then you can stream the entire HBO Max catalog.
  5. If you choose Access HBO Only, then you can watch all of HBO on the HBO Max platform. If you try to play a show or movie that's not on HBO, you'll see this prompt again. Choose 'Access All of HBO Max' to access the additional content offering on HBO Max.

HBO Max is also available to the following customers at no extra cost, however details on how to upgrade may vary so its worth contacting your service provider:

  • AT&T (HBO's parent company) and DirecTV, U-verse, AT&T TV Now, AT&T TV and AT&T wireless users who can add HBO with certain unlimited plans
  • Altice USA and its Optimum and Suddenlink services
  • Charter and its Spectrum services
  • Cox Communications
  • Hulu
  • Verizon and its Fios services
  • YouTube TV or Google
  • NCTC group of independent cable and broadband companies - including; WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, RCN, Grande Communications & Wave, MCTV and others. (Check if your pay-TV provider is an NCTC member.)

Existing HBO subscribers through Comcast, Dish Network, Amazon Prime Video Channels and The Roku Channel do not currently qualify for an automatic upgrade to HBO Max. Instead customers of those providers should cancel their existing HBO subscriptions and sign up for HBO Max.

New to HBO?

New subscribers can sign up for HBO Max by visiting hbomax.com or by signing up to HBO through Apple channels or the HBO Max app. HBO Max costs $14.99/month following a 7-day free trial.  

Sigmund Judge

Sigmund Judge

Author

Sigmund is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Screen Times, where he writes about Apple TV, tvOS, Apple TV+ and the Apple TV app. Sigmund is also the co-host of the Screen Times podcast.