And, I wish I’d written it. Oh, I’ve written other articles about HBO Max, but I have to say this one from Polygon is probably the best. It’s incredibly comprehensive, but in case it’s too long to read — or you like reading my stuff better — here’s a quick encapsulation.
What is HBO Max?
It’s a streaming service that will give you all your HBO content plus a lot of older movies and TV shows.
Isn’t that the same as HBO GO or HBO NOW?
Kinda. But there’s more stuff than there ever was before.
So then HBO will have three streaming apps?
For now, yes. But don’t expect things to stay like that. If you have HBO NOW, you’ll get HBO Max for free, and I’m guessing HBO NOW will just quietly disappear real soon. HBO GO might hang along for a while longer.
Why will HBO GO hang on for a while longer?
Because not everyone who gets HBO will get HBO Max. Almost everyone will. But, the big exception in the cable world is Comcast, who hasn’t signed an agreement with AT&T. So, Comcast users will continue to use HBO GO, which is limited to only that content that is on HBO’s broadcast channels. Eventually the two companies will figure out a deal, I’m sure.
How much will HBO Max cost?
As of this writing, AT&T is still running a special for HBO Max at $11.99 a month, but that deal goes away if you sign up after May 27. But, if you already get HBO from your cable provider, you’ll probably get it for free. That is, unless you have Comcast. Folks with Altice, Spectrum, Consolidated Communications, Cox, and Verizon Fios TV will get it for free, as will anyone who gets HBO through AT&T, whether it’s over fiber, satellite, or cellular. At least that’s the way I read the news.
When does HBO Max launch?
Officially, it will launch May 27. However, I have heard some rumors that the apps may hit app stores as early as Monday. You might want to check the app store for your phone or streaming device each day next week. I know that it’s been in a closed beta for a while and it might make sense to do a soft launch.
Will there be day 1 problems?
Most of the technologies that HBO Max uses are already in use in the latest versions of HBO NOW and HBO GO. I’ve been told that the big change will be the user interface. The payment processing and authentication are the same as they have been for the older apps. However, you might not want to rush to delete the HBO GO or HBO NOW apps quite yet, since their servers could be slow next week as people sign up.
THE BIG QUESTION
“You may ask yourself” why I’ve spent so much time talking about HBO Max, a product we don’t sell at Solid Signal and that we probably never will. The answer is simple, in two parts.
First of all it’s true that we won’t sell HBO Max, but we do offer DIRECTV Satellite and AT&T TV. Adding an HBO subscription to either of those services gives you HBO Max for free, and the cost to add HBO is about the same as a standalone HBO Max subscription. So in essence you get those HBO live TV channels for free. You can’t beat free… it’s a great opportunity for our current customer base.
And the second part of it is, honestly I think this is a very cool service. I think that there have been a lot of approaches to streaming services, ranging from ad-supported services like Pluto, to low-cost services like Apple TV+ and mid-priced services like Disney+. However, no one has managed to come up with a truly premium streaming service. HBO Max combines the most popular content of the last several decades and offers it at a fair price. Yes that price is higher than Disney+, which offers a lot of its own content. But it’s also a lot more content right out of the gate and a level of ongoing new releases that Disney+ won’t match. Yes, they have their own original content at Disney+ but other than The Mandalorian it’s really more like basic cable level stuff.
I think HBO Max is the new must-have streaming service and I’ll be the first in line whichever day it launches. Will you be right there with me?