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Home to numerous famous movies and excellent shows, HBO has been one of the best avenues for premium programming. Up until summer 2020, its product catalog has included HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO MAX.
HBO NOW operated as a video-on-demand streaming service and allowed subscribers on-demand access to most of the content in HBO’s library of original series—moreover, you could stream HBO’s original films and documentaries as well as films acquired from HBO’s content partners—quite without having to invest in a cable or satellite TV package. The service did not include real-time streams of HBO’s linear channels.
Similar but different too, HBO GO primarily functioned as a TV Everywhere video on-demand streaming service. You could access it if subscribed to HBO—via your cable or satellite TV service—and stream selections of HBO content either via the HBO website or the HBO GO app on your mobile device(s). On May 27, 2020, HBO MAX was launched as a top solution to all your streaming problems—but much confusion was caused among HBO subscribers as a result of other developments that took place alongside this exciting launch.
On June 12 it was announced that HBO NOW would be rebranded as HBO. All existing HBO NOW subscribers would be able to access HBO content via the rebranded HBO app on all supported devices as well as throughplay.hbonow.com. And most HBO subscribers would have access to HBO MAX as well without additional cost.
Then on July 31, HBO discontinued the HBO GO service making it unavailable on most devices. The service was replaced by HBO MAX—and remained available only on devices that did not yet support HBO MAX. Also, due to ongoing negotiations regarding the carriage of HBO MAX with certain TV service providers like Altice USA and Mediacom, HBO GO content was made available via the desktop website. This arrangement would remain in place until HBO MAX became available to subscribers of such TV service providers. No surprise that these rapid changes left a vast majority of people quite perplexed. Most still find it hard to distinguish between HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO MAX. And, choosing the right option can be a problem, if you do not have the right information on hand.
To make the selection process easier for you, we have arranged it all out here in a comprehensible way. And we hope this information would help you make a smart choice based on what best suits your needs and budget. So, let’s get started.
Well, with the latest changes, you can now only stream HBO content through HBO MAX and the rebranded HBO app (previously HBO NOW). HBO GO will soon become extinct as we explained earlier, and would be replaced by HBO MAX, no matter which TV service provider you may be subscribed to. However, for the sake of making an informed choice, it is necessary we compare the past and the current HBO streaming options, so you can decide which one is it for you—HBO MAX or HBO?
HBO MAX combines the benefits of HBO NOW and HBO GO—you can access it via your cable or satellite TV subscription as with HBO GO, and you can also subscribe to it as a standalone streaming service without any strings attached as was with HBO NOW. In other words, HBO MAX is a combo of the other two streaming options as far as ways to access it are concerned.
The major difference between HBO (formerly HBO NOW) and HBO MAX is the content you get access to. And, the same is the case when you compare HBO GO with HBO MAX. To make it simple, HBO MAX is all of HBO together—from new MAX originals to blockbuster movies as well as classic TV favorites. If you are subscribed to HBO through a satellite or cable TV provider, you can enjoy content from the entire HBO catalog. But as with HBO NOW, you won’t be able to watch real-time streams of HBO linear channels as yet—the Live feature is expected to be included later on. Here we must add, with an HBO subscription via a cable or satellite TV service, you could however stream HBO linear channel programming via HBO GO.
HBO MAX boasted 10,000 hours of content at launch—everything from first-runs and the HBO library. For instance, original series, documentaries, specials and 2,000 films—from the universe of WarnerMedia and its content partners. That is the reason it was named MAX—it was designed to maximize the variety of content available via HBO NOW and HBO GO.
You can only watch HBO Live if your HBO subscription is through a cable or satellite TV service provider. But, you would not be able to do the same without such a subscription.
HBO NOW is no longer—however, as we mentioned before the standalone streaming service used to make you wait before it broadcast content from HBO linear channels for viewing. With HBO MAX you do stand a chance to be able to watch HBO Live, even if the feature is introduced a little later in the day.
HBO NOW and HBO GO did not allow users to download video content. And, you always needed an internet connection to stream your favorite shows via these subscription video on demand streaming services. If you wanted to view content offline, the only option was to use a third party recording tool.
So, in case you prefer offline viewing, you may as well go for HBO MAX—it allows you to download movies and seasons as do Hulu and Netflix.
You can access HBO MAX in two different ways, depending upon the kind of HBO subscription you have. Let’s take a look at both methods.
For Existing HBO® Subscribers
If you have subscribed to HBO via a participating cable or satellite TV service provider, you get direct access to HBO MAX. You can either visit play.hbomax.com and log in using your provider credentials to start watching your HBO favorites. Or, you can download the HBO MAX app from the Play Store, App Store or the Channel store, on your Android, iPhone, or smart TV respectively.
To assist you further, here is a list of different TV service providers offering HBO MAX to their HBO subscribers:
4- AT&T TV
5- Apple TV
7- Suddenlink8- Spectrum™
10- YouTube TV
For Existing HBO NOW Subscribers
HBO NOW Subscribers get direct access to HBO MAX if they purchased their HBO subscription directly from HBO or from one of the providers we have listed below. For all such subscribers upgrade to HBO MAX would occur automatically—i.e. when your device goes for routine updates, it would replace the existing HBO NOW app with the HBO MAX app
• Google Play
• Verizon FiberOptic
• Liberty Cablevision
• Consolidated Communications
Are you unable to find your provider’s name on the list? Don’t worry! Your provider, most probably, hasn’t yet partnered with HBO to offer HBO MAX to its subscribers yet. If you desperately want to get HBO MAX, you may subscribe directly via HBO. That way, you get a 7-day free trial, letting you test out the streaming service—and after the end of the trial period you can enjoy the service for $14.99 per month.
None. As we said earlier on, HBO NOW has simply been renamed as HBO. Following the rebranding, all HBO NOW subscribers can access HBO as before—only that they will now do so via the rebranded HBO app on supported devices or through play.hbonow.com.
No, HBO NOW did not support 4K picture format nor does its rebranded version HBO. The highest video resolution you can enjoy with HBO is HD. In terms of audio, HBO MAX however offers Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital Plus on supported devices.
A true HBO fan may not be disappointed by the HD picture format, but there’s no denying nothing beats the 4K HDR streaming experience. According to HBO, it is only a matter of prioritizing certain features over others during the development process—so you never know what the future of the service may hold for you.
No. With Amazon Prime Video, you could enjoy a 7-day free trial of HBO NOW provided you had an eligible Prime membership. But, once the trial period expired, you had to pay $14.99 every month to continue the service. You can buy an HBO channel subscription for the same fee via Amazon if you are an Amazon Prime member.
Here is a quick comparison of the resolution, content, number of concurrent streams, and the monthly cost you will incur if you access the HBO or HBO MAX—either via a TV service subscription or otherwise.
|Service||Monthly Price||Max. Video Resolution||Content||Simultaneous Streams|
|HBO||Up to $20 as an add-on with most Cable and Satellite TV providers||1080p||HBO catalog||3|
|HBO formerly HBO NOW||$14.99||HBO catalog|
|HBO MAX||$14.99||Warner Entertainment Programming, HBO Catalog & Content Partner programming|
All HBO services cost you under $15 per month. But HBO NOW, which has been named as HBO only, does not offer the variety of content which HBO MAX does. The same is the case with the HBO channel. Then, why settle for less? HBO MAX may be the most desirable option among all HBO options since it bundles everything that other HBO services offer—unless your HBO channel subscription via a TV service provider also allows you to access HBO MAX.
The HBO MAX app is compatible with a number of devices—Apple iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch (with iOS 12.2 or later), Android phone and tablets (with OS 5 or later), PC (with Windows 7 or later), Mac (with Mac OS X 10.10 or later), Google Chromebooks, Smart TVs (Android, Apple, Samsung), PlayStation 4, Xbox One. As for browsers, the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari 10 or later, are all compatible for viewing HBO MAX content. As of now, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices do not offer access to HBO MAX, however AT&Tis in the process of negotiating carriage deals, and we can keep our fingers crossed.
With that said, we would suggest you learn about the cheapest ways to go for HBO services, if you wish to explore all available options. And, if you would also like to check out high-speed internet options so that you can stream happily without facing endless buffering loops, you can do so hereor call at 1-855-349-9328 to get expert help with finding the best available option in your area.
1. Is HBO NOW free on Amazon Prime Video?
No. You could get a free 7-day trial of the service via Amazon Prime Video if you had an eligible Amazon Prime membership. Now that HBO NOW has been rebranded as HBO, you can get an HBO channel subscription if you are an Amazon Prime member.
2. Does HBO NOW carry HBO live?
HBO NOW is no longer available. However before it was rebranded as HBO, the service made you wait before it broadcast content from HBO linear channels for viewing. To be able to view HBO Live you have to subscribe to the channel via your cable or satellite TV provider. Only then you can watch HBO content via TV Everywhere feature as it is broadcast.
3. Can you download shows from HBO NOW or HBO GO?
No. HBO NOW or HBO GO did not allow you to download content. You could watch content offline only if you recorded via third party recording tools. However HBO MAX lets you download video content.
4. Does HBO NOW support 4K?
No, HBO NOW did not support 4K picture format nor does its rebranded version HBO. The highest video resolution you can enjoy with HBO is HD. In terms of audio, HBO MAX however, offers Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital Plus on supported devices.
5. Can I watch HBO live with HBO NOW or HBO Max?
HBO NOW is no longer available, but even before it was rebranded as HBO, you had to wait for the service to broadcast content from HBO linear channels.
6. What the difference: HBO GO vs HBO NOW?
Both services are now unavailable as is. HBO NOW has been rebranded as HBO only. And HBO Go has been replaced by HBO MAX. HBO MAX bundles HBO content more comprehensively than either of the two previous streaming services from HBO. The difference between the two, now retired services, was that HBO NOW was available as a standalone video on demand subscription service while HBO GO could be accessed if you were subscribed to a cable or satellite TV service provider. HBO MAX can be accessed both ways.
7. Which is better: HBO NOW vs HBO GO vs HBO MAX?
All HBO services cost you under $15 per month. But HBO NOW, which has been named as HBO only, does not offer the variety of content which HBO MAX does. The same is the case with the HBO channel. HBO MAX may be the most desirable option among all HBO options since it bundles everything that other HBO services offer.
8. How to get HBO MAX?
If you subscribe to a cable or satellite TV service provider that carries HBO MAX, you can then subscribe to HBO as an add-on. Or choose a channel lineup that includes HBO by default. This way you will also be able to access HBO MAX. HBO MAX can also be subscribed to as a standalone service—you can download the HBO MAX app on a compatible device of your choice from the Play Store, App Store and Samsung TV app store and enjoy HBO content for $14.99 per month. HBO MAX website is yet another portal where you can take a 7-day free trial before continuing your subscription.
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