April 14, 2023
HBO Max will start streaming as Max in the U.S. beginning May 23, according to Warner Bros. Discovery. With the rebrand, significant content from Discovery+ as well as new original programming including a series derived from “The Big Bang Theory” and a prequel to the HBO Original “Game of Thrones” will join the platform’s offerings. “The one to watch for every mood and every moment,” is WBD’s tagline for Max, which will offer three tiers. The top-tier Max Ultimate, at $19.99 a month or $199.99 per year, will stream ad-free at up to 4K UHD with Dolby Atmos sound.
Max Ultimate will allow four concurrent streams and up to 100 downloads per month, with “an expanded catalog of content available in 4K UHD” that will include programming from franchises including “Harry Potter,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Dark Knight Trilogy” and more, according to Variety, which reports that “all Warner Bros. movies released this year and in the future will also be available in 4K UHD when they arrive on Max following their theatrical windows.”
The mid-tier Max Ad-Free costs $15.99 per month or $149.99 per year, and for that subscribers will get 1080p resolution, two concurrent streams, 30 offline downloads and 5.1 surround sound quality. The economy-priced Max Ad-Lite, at $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year, has the same features except no downloads and a smattering of ads, Warner Bros. Discovery said in an announcement.
Addressing why the company dropped HBO from the name, WBD president and CEO of global streaming and games JB Perrette said in Variety “we all love HBO, and it’s a brand that has been built over five decades,” but it’s reputation for “edgy, groundbreaking entertainment for adults” is “not exactly where parents would most eagerly drop off their kids.”
With WBD’s deep bench of beloved children’s characters, animation and brands there was a sense of disconnect and the company felt the family category was underperforming.
“HBO will be preserved as a brand within the Max fold,” Variety writes, noting Perrette said discussion about a name change was “heavily debated” prior to Discovery’s purchase of WarnerMedia.
Max “will gain an updated user interface that’s delivered by way of a largely seamless transition for existing HBO Max subscribers across most platforms,” says TechCrunch, adding that “Discovery+ subscribers will be able to continue to watch in their standalone app, if they choose.”
In addition to the new content and logo, WBD execs have focused on making Max “a more personalized, technically improved streaming service,” according to TechCrunch.