Goodbye HBO, hello Max

Photo (c) Simpson 33 - Getty Images

The streaming service’s relaunch includes tiers with full libraries of Harry Potter, up to 100 offline downloads, and more

HBO Max is trimming off its old branding deadwood and relaunching as just plain ‘ol “Max.” Starting May 23, the streaming service will roll out an updated app alongside its updated name, and one that includes a sizable bonus – the full Discovery+ catalog.

HBO has a strong resume when it comes to delivering unique and critically acclaimed content. However, Dan Goman, CEO & founder of Ateliere, told ConsumerAffairs that its 30-year history also comes with some negative perceptions.

For some viewers, HBO is nearly synonymous with adult-themed shows/programming – “which can be a problem if you are trying to reach a very broad audience that cuts across age groups, demographics, etc.” The Discovery library, he says, addresses that.

Will the price go up, too?

Good news: HBO’s change does not affect prices. Base prices will remain steady at $10 a month with ads and $16 without ads. However, if you’re a 4K HDR aficionado, you’ll have to pay $20 a month for the “Ultimate” plan which also includes four simultaneous streams. Existing subscribers are lucky because they’ll get six months of Ultimate for free.

Max’s new plan for new subscribers breaks down like this: 

  • Max Ad-Lite: $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year (16% savings); is ad-supported; and subscribers can stream in full HD on two devices at the same time.

  • Max Ad Free: $15.99 a month or $149.99 a year (over 20% savings); comes with no ads;  and subscribers can stream in full HD on two devices simultaneously plus do as many as 30 offline downloads.

  • Max Ultimate Ad Free: $19.99 a month or $199.99 a year (over 16% savings); no ads; and users can stream in 4K UHD on four devices simultaneously, plus download up to 100 shows offline. 

Goman thinks Max’s pricing is right in the pocket.

“I don’t believe the product will be an issue for consumers,” he said, adding that he really likes the fact that consumers are getting several options on prices and are not forced to take-or-leave-it pricing.

“I believe they’re thinking about pricing in the right way - in that they are offering multiple options, including an ‘Ad Lite’ version that’s $9.99 per month, which is certainly in the range in terms of the consumer's perceived value, which a recent study indicated is somewhere in the $7.50 per month."

As far as what subscribers will get, ConsumerAffairs found a lot of worthwhile stuff in the come-hither content of the “Ultimate” tier. On top of the 4K quality, there’ll be full libraries of “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Last of Us,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Dark Knight Trilogy” and more. Also included are 4K UHD versions of all Warner Bros. movies released this year and in the future.

Max won’t just be a TV-only thing, either. Subscribers can access it online at, on phones, tablets, streaming players, and game consoles. 

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