By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, can you explain the basics when HBO Max becomes Max. Do we have to do anything different to watch HBO shows now on streaming? How does this change things? — Eileen, Fairfax, Virginia.
Eileen, as announced in April, HBO Max today has changed its name to just Max, dropping the HBO. The switch has prompted several reader questions so let’s see if we can provide some clarity and guidance to the top inquiries.
Why is the name changing?
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) CEO David Zaslav says ‘Max’ will reflect the streamer’s new programming mix of both HBO and Discovery shows. WBD executives believe 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 which will help them better compete with broader services such as Netflix.
Do I need to do anything different to start watching Max starting today.
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.
The service says you shouldn’t need to sign in on devices where HBO Max was installed. And your profiles and viewing histories will roll over into the new app.
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I subscribe to HBO through my cable service. Will I have access to Max?
If you get HBO with your cable or satellite TV package, you may have access to Max at no extra cost. To find out if your TV provider supports Max, go to max.com/provider and search for your provider (or find your provider on the Max providers page).
Will I have to pay a higher price now?
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.
Will there be more 4K programming in the $19.99 a month plan?
Max will have more than 1,000 movies and show episodes in 4K, eight times more than was previously on HBO Max, the streaming service announced yesterday. The lineup of 4K titles will include seasons one through three of Succession (season four will be added in 4K on June 30), Game of Thrones, The Last of Us, the Harry Potter films, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Dark Knight trilogy, the Matrix films and many others.
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I’m a HBO Max subscriber. If I want 4K, will I need to upgrade to the $19.99 plan?
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 today. That means you can continue to watch 4K in your $15.99 plan without upgrading until November 23. At least.
What about AT&T subs who have HBO Max as part of their wireless package?
AT&T wireless subscribers have been on the $15.99 a month plan. Willard says 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 includes the AT&T subscribers. That means you can continue to watch 4K in your $15.99 plan without upgrading until at least November 23.
Note: I am an AT&T subscriber and I was able to switch today to Max without any interruption.
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.
What I subscribe to HBO Max and Discovery+?
If you subscribe to HBO Max, you can install the Max app and stream HBO Max and select Discovery content together on Max. Discovery+ will continue as a stand-alone service. Max will not have all Discovery+ shows, just a selection.
I subscribe to HBO on cable. Will that become Max, too?
No, the cable/satellite edition of HBO stays the same.
Which devices will have Max?
Amazon Fire TV
LG Smart TV
VIZIO Smart TV
Xfinity X1 and Flex
Amazon Fire TV
Apple TV 4K
AirrPlay 2-compatible 4K TVs
Cox Contour 2 and Contour Stream PlayerGoogle Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast with Google TV
4K LG Smart TVs
iPhone and iPad
Roku Ultra, Roku Ultra LT, Roku Streaming Stick 4K+, Roku Streaming Stick 4K, Roku Streaming Stick+, Roku Express 4K+, Roku Express 4K, Roku Premiere+, Roku Premiere, Roku Smart Soundbar, Roku Streambar, Roku 4K TVs, Roku 8K TVs, and Roku 4
Samsung Tizen 4K TVs
VIZIO 4K Smart TVs
Xfinity X1 (Xi6) and Flex
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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
When you say “just a selection”, what do you mean by that specifically? How will they decide what is a “selection”? I am subscribed to both services and want to know what content is where. This will allow me to decide if I want to keep my Discovery Plus subscription.
Are you getting the ultimate tier? I am just getting ad-free as an AT&T subscriber
I have several Roku and Apple TV boxes. I subscribe to DIRECTV. I cannot get any of my boxes connected to Max. When I put in my registration information from DIRECTV, I get bounced back to the original screen.