What Is HBO Max, And What’s On It?

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On Wednesday, HBO launched its new streaming service, HBO Max. Like its competitors Netflix and Hulu, HBO Max will give users access to longtime classic TV shows and movies as well as original content. However, since HBO Go and HBO Now have also long existed, many people have struggled to understand how HBO Max is different from these predecessors. Below, learn what HBO Max is and what it offers.

What is HBO Max, and how is it different from other HBO platforms?

HBO Max is HBO’s brand new streaming service that will have far more options than its old streaming service, HBO Now. The new service is essentially HBO Now upgraded to include all manner of exclusive TV shows and movies that, though not always HBO programs or films, are not currently available on other streaming platforms.

HBO Now and HBO Go are the same service, with one key difference: Whereas HBO Go is the on-demand version of HBO for all cable users who have access to HBO, HBO Now is available to anybody for a monthly fee. In this way, HBO Now is just HBO Go for people who don’t pay for access to HBO’s TV channel. HBO Max is simply an expansion of HBO Now to include additional content.

Most, if not all, current HBO Now users will be automatically upgraded to HBO Max for free. However, despite Wednesday’s launch, HBO Max may not yet be available on roughly 70 percent of all streaming devices

What is available on HBO Max?

HBO Max provides users access to all original HBO content as well as some beloved TV shows and movies that aren’t available on other streaming services. Among the highlights are:


After five years on Netflix, Friends left streaming services at the end of 2019. With the launch of HBO Max, the classic sitcom is now available to stream again. Despite the show’s prominence in mainstream culture, in recent years, the series has experienced a retrospective critical backlash.

All eight Harry Potter movies

The highest-grossing film series in history is now available exclusively on HBO Max. All eight movies in the series based on J.K. Rowling’s ubiquitous Harry Potter fantasy books can be streamed on HBO Max, and subscribers can also watch the 2018 spinoff film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Almost every Studio Ghibli movie

Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli animation studio has produced countless popular and influential films including Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke. Now, the entire Studio Ghibli catalog is available exclusively on HBO Max except Grave of the Fireflies, which can be streamed on Hulu instead.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

The late culinary icon Anthony Bourdain’s game-changing series Parts Unknown left Netflix, where it was immensely popular, late last year. The 12-season, 104-episode series is now available to stream exclusively through HBO Max. 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Before Will Smith appeared in countless blockbuster films, he was the star of this legendary ‘90s TV series. HBO Max adding The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to its platform marks the first time the series is available to stream on any service in the U.S. following years of speculation.

Which HBO Max series or films are you most excited about? Sound off in the comments!

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