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HBO Max vs Max: What’s the difference?

HBO Max vs Max: The popular HBO Max streaming service is about to drop the HBO name, but not the content. Confused? Allow us to elaborate.

HBO Max is one of the most essential streaming services around. With an enviable library of new and original TV shows, as well as some of the biggest movies around, it sits close to the top of the streaming tree.

However, things are about to change thanks to the merger of HBO’s parent company Warner Brothers and Discovery. That means the Discovery+ library is joining the fray too.

Max is going to replace the current HBO Max streaming service in the United States from May 23 at So, let’s take a look at the differences subscribers can expect.

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HBO Max vs Max: Content library

HBO Max effectively combines the libraries of the current HBO Max service with what’s on Discovery+.

That’s means you’ll get the HBO classics like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Deadwood, Veep, Six Feet Under, Band of Brothers, Boardwalk Empire and Sex and The City. You’ll also continue to receive newer hits like House of the Dragon, Big Little Lies, Succession, The Last of Us, The White Lotus, Euphoria, and Barry.

The HBO library of movies also includes The DC Universe, the Harry Potter Universe, the Lord of the Rings films along a rotating array of hundreds of new and classic films. However, in recent months we have seen some HBO content removed from the archive (like Westworld for instance) as the new company seeks to cut down on residual costs.


Being added into the mix is the Discovery+ library, which introduces content from the Discover Channel (Shark Week, y’all!), Animal Planet, the History Channel, A&E, TLC and CNN Originals.

Those shows include hits like Ghost Brothers: Lights Out, 90 Day Fiancé, Gold Rush, Home Town, Darcy & Stacy, Crikey! It’s The Irwins and the January 6th documentary Unprecedented. You can get a greater sense of what’s on offer at discoveryplus.

Discovery Plus

HBO Max vs Max: Cost

HBO Max currently has two cost tiers. It’s $9.99 for the limited ads option and $15.99 for the ad-free version. For the higher tariff, you also get 4K HDR video and access to Dolby Atmos audio and offline downloads of content so you can watch on the go.

That’ll change on May 23 when the new Max service launches a third tariff, which removes the higher-end AV tech and offline downloads unless you subscribe to a new, higher-priced tier costing $19.99 a month.

  • Max Ad-Lite | $9.99/month or $99.99/year.
    2 concurrent streams, 1080p resolution, no offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
  • Max Ad Free | $15.99/month or $149.99/year.
    2 concurrent streams, 1080 resolution, 30 offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
  • Max Ultimate Ad Free | $19.99/month or $199.99/year.
    4 concurrent streams, up to 4K UHD resolution, 100 offline downloads, Dolby Atmos sound quality.

So, you’ll be paying $4 a month more if you wish to watch at the best resolution your set up can offer. Otherwise you’ll be paying $15.99 a month for basic HD and no opportunity to take the content with you.

Current HBO Max subscribers will be able to roll over their sub, and will keep their plan features for at least six months. That means if you’re currently paying for ad-free, you’re guaranteed Dolby Atmos and 4K support for half a year. After that you’ll probably going to have to go to the Max Ultimate tier which costs $19.99.

Banshees HBO Max

If Max still worth it?

Considering you’re adding a lot of content to the equation (Discovery+ currently costs $4.99 a month or $6.99 a month for ad-free) then it’s possible Max could be a better deal for some HBO Max subscribers you’re into the additional content offering.

However, for those who just love HBO shows and movies then the prospect of paying an extra $4 a month as a punishment for getting the most out of their TV and speakers might just be too much to ask.

Discovery+ has a lot of reality TV among the valuable properties from Discovery, Animal Planet and Food Network (we’re massive Beat Bobby Flay fans in our house).

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