HBO Max has finally launched, and like a lot of people, you might be wondering if your HBO subscription will get you in the door at no extra charge. It’s a valid question, given that cable packages are pricey, with or without premium channels, and paying for HBO Max on top of HBO doesn’t sound appealing. The good news is that HBO Max is serious about standing as a formidable rival to Netflix and Disney. Not only will the service offer 10,000+ movie and TV titles (both on the library catalog and original content sides), but it’s shaping up to be competitive, price-wise. We’ll try and clear up some confusion here.
The Cost Of HBO Max If It’s Not Part Of Your Existing HBO Package:
If you’re coming to HBO Max dry — that is, if you aren’t one of the fortunate viewers who will be rolled into membership with an existing HBO subscription elsewhere or as an HBO Now subscriber — then HBO Max’s standard price will run $14.99 per month. That’s a higher price than Netflix’s standard plan ($12.99) and lower than its premium plan ($15.99). HBO Max also runs the same baseline price as HBO Now, although a special introductory deal was once available to lock people into a 12-month HBO Max rate at $11.99 per month.
Naturally, anyone who can avoid being charged separately for HBO Max will want to do so. We’re all thrifty! So it only makes sense to look for ways to save money. First, let’s recap the other ways that you might already watch HBO: mainly, the other two HBO streaming services (HBO Go and HBO Now) already offered.
What Is HBO Max Vs. HBO Go And HBO Now?
– HBO Max is the newcomer streaming platform from WarnerMedia. The service will feature 10,000+ hours of premium content, which includes HBO’s entire library, HBO Max Originals, tons of Warner Bros. movies and TV shows, and much more.
– HBO Go is the on-demand streaming service that HBO cable viewers already receive as part of their subscription. The service includes HBO’s original content and rotating monthly selections, and access is tied directly into your specific cable TV package.
– HBO Now is a standalone, on-demand streaming offering for people who don’t hold a cable or satellite package but still want to subscribe to HBO and watch on a smart TV, laptop, tablet, phone or other compatible devices. The current price for this service is $14.99 per month, and many current HBO Now subscribers will automatically receive HBO Max access without any added cost.
So If You’ve Got HBO, Do You Get The HBO Max Upgrade For Free?
Maybe. The current guidelines aren’t clear cut, and they’re very much in flux. Here’s where the issue stands as of now:
– Those who subscribe to HBO (and, in turn, HBO Go) through a cable TV service may (or may not) be in luck. As it stands, there’s no deal between HBO and some cable TV service companies, but that could change in the future. However, HBO subscribers who pay for the channel through Charter or an AT&T package will receive HBO Max at no added charge. That includes subscribers to the AT&T-owned DirecTV, IPTV, AT&T TV, which means that millions of these HBO customers will get rolled into HBO Max. In a late-breaking announcement, HBO Max also announced partnerships with Alice USA, Cox Communications, Microsoft, National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), Samsung, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Verizon. Comcast has also hopped on board to provide HBO Max access to Xfinity X1 and Flex customers at no extra cost.
– HBO Now subscribers who pay straight through HBONow.com will automatically receive access to HBO Max. So will subscribers who sign up for HBO with the Hulu add-on or use Apple, Google, or YouTube TV to access HBO. And HBO Max has made a special point of saying that more partnerships might pop up before and following launch. Right now, though, it remains unclear whether those who pay for HBO Now as an add-on service through Amazon Prime or Roku will also gain access to HBO Max with no extra charge.
– We do know that neither HBO Go nor HBO Now will be erased from existence for the foreseeable future. You can keep on doing your thing and pretend that HBO Max doesn’t exist, but you probably will want to enjoy the expanded library if you can.
Where The Topic Goes From Here:
If you’re a cable subscriber who remains (understandably) puzzled on whether you’ll receive access to HBO Max at no extra charge, your best bet is to ask your cable provider. That’s easier said than done, we know. HBO Max’s FAQ page is also a good source for updates because, soon, HBO Max will also be the only place to stream every episode of Friends and enjoy an expanding slate of wonderful-sounding HBO Max Original TV series and movies. Beyond an included cable package, the easiest way to get HBO Max rolled into an existing HBO service is through HBO Now (directly or through Hulu), so if you’re tempted to cut the cord, there’s one more reason to do so. That, however, might feel like a drastic move, so maybe hang tight and see what happens — other partnerships may very well surface as HBO Max evolves.