By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I am very confused by the HBO Max turns Max news. I have HBO Max. Do I need to do anything different? Do I need to pay more? What if I have HBO from my cable service, does anything change when I try to go to Max? Please help!! — Tom, Lafayette, Louisiana.
Tom, you are not alone. The announcement yesterday that HBO Max will become just ‘Max’ on May 23 has many viewers confused. I received a flurry of e-mails and Twitter questions from readers yesterday regarding how the switch will affect them. Let me try here to answer the top inquiries:
What did HBO just announce and why?
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) CEO David Zaslav announced yesterday that HBO Max will change its name to ‘Max’ on May 23, which will reflect the streamer’s new programming mix of both HBO and Discovery shows. WBD executives apparently believe that the HBO brand, which represents high-brow TV to some, could be a turn-off for potential Discovery viewers. They hope that the Max label will be more inviting to a larger audience.
Do I need to do anything different to start watching Max on May 23?
On May 23, the Max app will replace the HBO Max app in app stores. On your streaming devices, one of two things will happen:
1. HBO Max will automatically update to Max
2. Or when you open HBO Max, you’ll be prompted to download the Max app.
Your profiles and viewing histories will roll over into the new app.
Will I have to pay a higher price?
Yes and no. Here’s the Max pricing structure:
The 4K ‘Max Ultimate’ plan, which will also include simultaneous streaming on four devices and no ads, will cost $19.99 a month. Dolby Atmos audio is included on select titles.
* The $15.99 a month plan, which previously included 4K programming, will only deliver 1080p HD programming. No ads with this package. Two simultaneous streams. 5.1 Surround Sound.
* The $9.99 a month plan stays the same — no 4K but you get ads. 1080p video and two simultaneous streams. 5.1 Surround Sound.
You will have to pay more for 4K than you did before since 4K is now included in the HBO Max $15.99 plan. But if you now pay $15.99 a month or $9.99 a month for HBO Max, there will be no increase in price.
If I want 4K, will I need to upgrade to the $19.99 plan on May 23?
Chris Willard, a WBD spokesperson, tells The TV Answer Man that all HBO Max subscribers will have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months after Max’s launch on May 23. That means you can continue to watch 4K in your $15.99 plan without upgrading until November 23. At least.
Can I just order a package with HBO?
No. There is no separate plan with only HBO programming.
Can I order a package with just Discovery programming?
While you won’t be able to order HBO as a separate streaming service, Discovery+ will still be available for $4.99 a month with ads and $6.99 with no ads.
I subscribe to HBO on cable. Will that become Max, too?
No, the cable/satellite edition of HBO stays the same.
What if I access Max using my HBO cable user name and password? Which Max plan will I see? The $19.99 Ultimate 4K plan or the $15.99 no 4K plan?
WBD’s Willard says the company is still working with pay TV distributors to develop a plan for the $19.99 Ultimate Max. So no answers yet on which plan you will get when you use your pay TV credentials to watch Max.
Which devices will have Max?
The company says it expects the same devices that have HBO Max will have Max.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann