Update: June 15, 2020: This article has been updated to show the upcoming changes to HBO Go and HBO Now, both of which will disappear (sort of) after July 31.
HBO Max is the new streaming service from Warner Media. Oddly, it’s not the only HBO branded streaming service. We’re talking about HBO Now and HBO Go. The three services are similar enough so it can be confusing to both new users and even long-time customers. We are here to point out the similarities and differences. We are also here to show how both HBO Now and HBO Go are going away in the near future.
Read: Best HBO Max movies
HBO Go features (Going away after July 31)
If you are signed up for HBO via your local cable or satellite TV provider, you can access Go with your cable or satellite login and access all of the movies in the HBO library, along with all of its TV shows, mini-series, documentaries, and specials.
Read: Best HBO Max TV shows
Here’s the thing. WarnerMedia has already made deals with a number of major and smaller cable TV providers that allow their HBO customers to sign into Max at no additional cost. Indeed, iOS and Android users of HBO Go have already seen those apps updated to HBO Max. After July 31, HBO Go is going away completely, as it will be replaced by HBO Max.
HBO Now features (to be rebranded as HBO on July 31)
This service is for customers that don’t have HBO via a cable TV or satellite hookup. It launched in 2015 and allows those people to access the cable channel’s content via smartphones, smart TVs, set-top boxes, and game consoles. It currently has about 8 million subscribers. It costs $14.99 a month, which is the same price as HBO Max.
After July 31, the HBO Now apps will be rebranded and will simply be called HBO . . . for now, at least. So why does WarnerMedia just rebrand Go as Max? Well, the problem is that two major smart TV and set-top platforms, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, do not currently support Max. Until they do, WarnerMedia is just offering the HBO content on those platforms, so rebranding the apps to just the HBO brand makes sense for now.
HBO Max features
This service not only has all of the content from HBO but lots of other movies and TV shows as well. That includes classic TV sitcoms like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and TV dramas like Doctor Who and Pretty Little Liars. It also has classic and current Warner Bros. movies that are not currently on the cable channel, like Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, 2001, and all of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. You can also stream shows from several of WarnerMedia’s other cable TV channels like TNT, TBS, TruTV, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, and CNN. Finally, there are selections of movies from Criterion, along with anime from Crunchyroll and Studio Ghibli.
As we mentioned, many cable TV companies are giving their HBO subscribers access to Max at no additional cost. In addition, Now customers can sign up for Max at the same price as the current Now (soon to be just HBO) service. There’s really no reason for those folks to keep the Now service unless they have Roku or Amazon Fire TV devices.
In summary, after July 31 there will only be two HBO branded services for mobile and smart TV services. One will be HBO Max, which has all of the HBO content plus a lot more. The other is HBO, which just has the HBO content, and is only going to be available for Roku and Amazon Fire TV owners.
Hopefully, that answers your questions about Max, Now, and Go. Hopefully, WarnerMedia will consolidate all of these services into just Max eventually. In the meantime, have you signed up for the service?