For better or worse–because it is a terrible name for a streaming service–the HBO Max rebranding into Max will begin on May 23, 2023.
Warner Bros. Discovery made the announcement on Wednesday. I was offline because of Passover’s final two days and as such, I’m just now sharing the information with readers. While the service will initially launch in the US, WBD will begin rolling out in international markets where HBO Max is currently available, starting with Latin America later in 2023, followed by select countries across Europe and Asia in 2024.
What we know about Max is that the enhanced streaming service will launch in the U.S. on May 23. It will be the destination for HBO Originals, Warner Bros. films, Max Originals, the DC universe, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an expansive offering of kids content, and best-in-class programming across food, home, reality, lifestyle and documentaries from leading brands like HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID and more. Max will stand out amongst streamers by uniquely combining unrivaled breadth and superior quality with iconic franchises and strong product experience, all for great value. (Where is CNN and Turner Sports in all of this?!?)
“From the biggest superheroes to real life champions; from culture-shaping dramas to taste-shaping entertainment; from fantastical realms to the realest of worlds, Max will offer an unrivaled range of choice,” said JB Perrette, President & CEO, Global Streaming & Games, Warner Bros. Discovery. “This new brand signals an important change from two narrower products, HBO Max and discovery+, to our broader content offering and consumer proposition. While each product offered something for some people, Max will have a broad array of quality choices for everybody.”
Upon launch, there will be three pricing options, giving subscribers the choice to select which plan best fits the needs of their household.
- Max Ad-Lite | $9.99/month or $99.99/year
- 2 concurrent streams, 1080p resolution, no offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
- Max Ad Free | $15.99/month or $149.99/year
- 2 concurrent streams, 1080 resolution, 30 offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
- Max Ultimate Ad Free | $19.99/month or $199.99/year
- 4 concurrent streams, up to 4K UHD resolution, 100 offline downloads, Dolby Atmos sound quality
Existing HBO Max subscribers will have access at the same price as their HBO Max subscription and can visit http://help.hbomax.com/introducingMax to find out more. Additionally, current subscribers will still have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months following launch. Current subscriber profiles, settings, watch history, “Continue Watching,” and “My List” items will also migrate to the new service so they can pick up streaming right where they left off.
The streamer will bring HBO Max’s can’t-miss programming and Discovery+’s engaging real life entertainment content together to create a complete viewing experience for all ages. The service will feature a regular freshness of content with an average of more than 40 new titles and seasons every month. With a library of iconic favorites, Max will offer a world-class collection of globally recognized brands, franchises, series, and characters, making it a truly unprecedented offering. Audiences will be able to explore the iconic worlds of HBO, the DC Universe, and Harry Potter, plus hit movies, original series, and fan-favorite genres like true crime, reality, food, and comedy, all in one place.
“The Max service is a wide-ranging mosaic of content that will be unmatched in the breadth, reach, and excellence of its offerings,” said Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO, HBO and Max Content. “We are unique because we have the best-in-all-categories across the board by any measure – be they ratings, awards, fandom. We know we can satisfy any craving because we have the brands that people love. At Max, they will find what they want, when they want it.”
Newly announced titles include a Max Original Harry Potter series, an adaptation of the original book series by transphobic author J.K. Rowling, who will serve as executive producer (she makes money from anything associated with Harry Potter so please keep this in mind if you’re an ally and support transgender rights); a Max Original comedy series derived from The Big Bang Theory; an HBO Original “Game of Thrones” prequel A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight; a Max Original drama series based on The Conjuring films; Magnolia Network’s Fixer Upper: The Hotel; Discovery Channel’s Survive the Raft; Max Original Peter & the Wolf from Bono; Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty: The Anime; Investigation Discovery’s Lost Women of Highway 20; Cartoon Network’s Tiny Toons Looniversity; and TLC’s Love & Translation.
The event also provided first looks at additional highly anticipated upcoming titles including Max Originals The Penguin starring Colin Farrell; HBO Original drama series The Sympathizer, an espionage thriller and cross-culture satire based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name; HBO Original limited series True Detective: Night Country starring Jodie Foster and Kali Reis; HBO Original limited series The Regime starring Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet; Max Original six-part docuseries SmartLess: On The Road, following Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes as they take viewers on an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the sold-out live tour of their podcast; and Max Original kids’ series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. In addition, a first look at HGTV’s four-part Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge hosted by Ashley Graham, which will also be available to stream on Max, was shown during the presentation.
- Premium Video Playback: A new video playback experience will deliver smooth and cinematic video to users, wherever and however they prefer to watch. Whether binging their favorites, watching offline on-the-go, or tuning in on Sunday nights for the latest episode of Succession, users can count on seamlessly diving into their preferred worlds.
- Personalization: Max will expand personalization beyond just the home page, offering a differentiated and high-performing experience for every user across the whole service. By significantly increasing our investment in machine learning while maintaining an editorial voice, Max will deliver a unique human and machine approach that will help surface the best content for our users.
- More Prominent Kids Experience: At launch, Max will introduce a default kids profile for new subscribers along with accompanying parental controls. Parents can choose to customize settings and select to limit content for the kids profile by ratings: little kids (tv-y), big kids (tv-y7, tvy7-fv), big kids plus (tv-g, g), preteens (tv-pg/pg), or teens (tv-14, pg-13). Parents will also have the ability to set individual profile PINs to lock access to their adult profiles, as well as a parent code to lock their children inside of the Max kids experience.
- Simplified Navigation: Max works harder so viewers don’t have to. Streamlined categories, improved content details pages, shortcuts, dedicated brand hubs and thematic content rails, make exploring the app and discovering new interests easier. The updated design coupled with a better personalization engine will help consumers quickly find and discover the best of what they are looking for.
- 4K UHD: The Ultimate Ad-Free tier of Max will have an expanded catalog of content available in 4K UHD including key programming such as Game of Thrones, The Last of Us, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight Trilogy and more. All Warner Bros. movies released this year and going forward will also be available in 4K UHD when they arrive on Max following their theatrical windows.
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