Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) launched Max to US subscribers on Tuesday, giving them access to 35,000 hours of content, more than double what HBO Max offered.
As of today, a large portion of HBO Max subscribers will automatically be upgraded to Max, while other customers will have to manually download the new streaming app. All HBO Max users will migrate their previous subscription information, profiles, settings, and other preferences — such as their “Continue Watching” and “My List” titles — to the new platform.
The revamped streaming service will roll out later this year in Latin America and then in 2024 to more markets, such as Europe and Asia-Pacific.
What does Max cost?
Max is the same price as HBO Max for the most part.
However, there’s also a third, more expensive tier, “Max Ultimate Ad Free,” which costs $19.99 per month and has 4K HDR video quality, immersive audio with Dolby Atmos, the ability to watch on four devices at once, and 100 offline to download.
HBO Max subscribers could access 4K content with the former ad-free plan. They now have to pay an extra $4 to get high quality content. “Max Ad Free” costs $15.99 per month but only comes with HD video resolution.
WBD announced Monday that more than 1,000 movies and episodes will be available in 4K, which is 8x more content than HBO Max. Titles include ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘The Last of Us’, ‘Black Adam’, ‘The Suicide Squad’ and franchises such as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight and The Matrix.
Additionally, “Avatar: The Way of Water” will premiere on Max on June 7, allowing Ultimate subscribers to stream the sequel to “Avatar” in 4K UHD, HDR 10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos.
The ad-supported tier, “Max With Ads,” costs $9.99 per month and allows subscribers to watch content on two devices simultaneously, HD video resolution and 5.1 surround sound quality. Unfortunately, the advertising plan does not offer offline downloads.
Speaking of ads, the company introduced new ad formats for advertisers during this year’s Upfront presentation.
In addition to traditional pre-roll and mid-roll ads, advertisers also get new interactive options. This means Max subscribers can interact with things like pause ads, which are ads that appear when users hit the pause button; “one-click reveal,” an ad that reveals a surprise message, promotion, or trivia answer; carousel ads that display multiple products; expandable ads, which are immersive to users and “locator” ads, where users can learn more about local sellers in their area.
What new features does Max offer?
The platform offers a host of new features and updates for users to enjoy, including more personalization, an improved homepage, easier navigation menu, better performance, and more.
Starting with a personal favorite, Max gives subscribers over 350 new profile avatar options to represent their favorite TV or movie character. Users can now customize their profile with an icon of Joel (Pedro Pascal) from “The Last of Us”, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) from “Succession”, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) from “Game of Thrones” or Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) from ‘White Lotus’.
Other characters include those of Harry Potter, Justice League, ‘The Big Bang Theory’, ‘The Sopranos’, ‘Friends’, ‘House of the Dragon’, ‘Insecure’, ‘Hacks’, ‘The West Wing’, ‘Peacemaker and much more. There are even kid-friendly options like “Sesame Street,” “Scooby Doo,” and “Tom & Jerry.”
WBD has previously revealed that it is adding default kid profiles for new subscribers, as well as the option to restrict certain content based on the child’s age: little kids, big kids, big kids plus, pre-teens, or teens.
The new avatars are a step up from HBO Max’s limited profile customization options, such as changing the background color and adding the username. Subscribers to the HBO Max mobile app can replace the icon with a photo from their library.
Max will update and disable the profile avatars over time, the company told BlogRanking.
During a demo of the platform, we also learned that the profiles have a new “spotlight” effect, with a blue circle around a selected profile.
While Max’s overall interface will have a similar design to HBO Max, there are key differences. In addition to the new blue background, the home page, content details pages, and navigation menu have also received a makeover.
The Max home screen now includes dedicated rows for categories, genres, and brands. HBO Max hid all genres in the navigation menu. Plus, Max’s navigation menu has been reduced to three tabs – Home, Movies, and Series – compared to HBO Max’s 35+ selections.
Navigating from episode to episode is also easier as Max has included the “More Episodes” button in the content itself. So if a user is watching an episode and wants to jump to another, they can simply click the button at the bottom of the screen instead of clicking outside the video and going to the details page.
The detail pages for each TV show have also been upgraded. Previously, if HBO Max users wanted to read an episode’s description, they had to jump to a separate page. Now the description appears on the side of the screen.
Once a viewer has completed a movie or the last episode of a season, Max has a new recommendation end card where users can browse similar titles. If users want to add a recommended movie or show to their list, all they have to do is press and hold the OK button on their remote control.
As of mid-June, WBD said it plans to roll out additional updates every few weeks. The upcoming features will be based on consumer feedback, the company noted.
In terms of performance, Max is built on a new code base to ensure greater stability across all devices. As a result, the company plans to make its new app at least 20% faster than HBO Max.
Speaking to WBD chief technology officer Avi Saxena and chief product officer Tyler Whitworth earlier this month, BlogRanking reported that Max uses four content delivery networks (CDNs) to accelerate content delivery. HBO Max has experienced crashes before, like the “Euphoria” season 2 finale and the “House of the Dragon” premiere.
If a show were to go down, the multiple CDNs would (hopefully) keep Max working.
What content is available on Max?
From Max Originals, Warner Bros. movies and HBO titles to content from brands like HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery (ID) and more, subscribers have plenty of content to stream.
At launch, the latest movie to arrive on the service is the DC superhero movie ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” which premiered in theaters on March 14.
Max also released a new documentary today, “Bama Rush,” which revolves around the sorority system at the University of Alabama; a true crime docuseries “How to Create a Sex Scandal” and Zooey Deschanel’s new unscripted series “What Am I Eating?”
More new and upcoming titles:
- Clone High (May 23)
- German Genius (May 23)
- SmartLess: On the Go (May 23)
- Being Mary Tyler Moore (May 26)
- Sarah Silverman: Someone You Love (May 27)
- Reality (May 29)
- The Curious Case of Natalia Grace (May 29)
- Burden of proof (June 6)
- American Pain (June 8)
- First Five (June 9)
- The Walk (June 21)
- Downey’s Dream Cars (June 22)
- The Penguin (TBD)
- And more.
Max will continue to add more titles to the service. The company claims that it will continuously update the platform and release an average of more than 40 titles and seasons each month.
The company has previously unveiled a range of exciting new content based on popular IP, including Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, The Big Bang Theory, The Conjuring, and Stephen King’s “It,” among others. .
WBD has yet to reveal details about its live sports offering on Max.
While most Discovery+ content will be available on the new service, that doesn’t mean the company is shutting down Discovery+. Instead, its sister streaming service will continue as a standalone offering.