What Is the Difference Between HBO and HBO Max?
There are a lot of different HBOs. (All the names above are or were real at various points except the last one.) And while some of the overlap has been simplified in recent months, there’s still a lot of confusion out there that’s bound to grow now that Warner Bros. has announced that their entire 2021 movie slate is coming to HBO Max the same day the films premiere in theaters.
When HBO Max launched last May, HBO was still operating multiple services — HBO Go was the streaming platform for subscribers who got HBO through their cable company while HBO Now was a standalone streaming service that offered essentially the same content without a cable subscription. HBO Max offered everything HBO Go and Now offered, plus extra HBO Max originals like Looney Tunes Cartoons and Ridley Scott’s Raised By Wolves. Since then, HBO Go and HBO Max have been collapsed into HBO Max. Forget all the other names; if it’s on your computer, tablet, phone, or app, it’s all HBO Max.
In other words, if you subscribe to HBO’s cable channel through most major cable companies, access to HBO Max is included in the deal, and you just need to go to their website and sign up. Or if you don’t have HBO, you can subscribe directly to HBO Max through its website. The monthly price for a subscription is currently $14.99 a month — which is more than most of the service’s competition. But the competition isn’t going to have movies like The Suicide Squad, The Matrix 4, and In the Heights next year.
Notably, the press release about Warner Bros.’ entire slate premiering on HBO Max in 2021 does not mention premieres on HBO — meaning you’ll need an HBO Max account to watch them. If you watch HBO on cable, but not online, you may want to set up your login now. Wonder Woman 1984 premieres on HBO Max on Christmas Day.
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