For the last few days, there has been a lot of buzz around HBO Max which is basically a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video. The much talked about streaming app was launched in the United States on 27 May 2020. HBO Max offered a ton of content – about 10,000 hours of movies and series at launch, however, its launch is surrounded by a lot of questions and confusion.
People are wondering how this service is different from HBO, HBO Go and HBO Max. In India, people are eager to know whether the streaming service is coming to India or not. Let’s give you some details about HBO Max:
What is HBO Max?
HBO Max is effectively a replacement for HBO Now and HBO Go. It is a standalone streaming service you don’t need a cable subscription to use. HBO Max includes all of HBO’s standard offerings, plus a ton of new stuff from various WarnerMedia properties, like DC Comics, CNN, TNT, TBS, and Cartoon Network. At the time of launch, HBO Max offered around 10,000 hours of content including movies and web series. FRIENDS is HBO max exclusive now. It has been taken down from Netflix. Like FRIENDS, many other shows and movies have been taken down and transferred to HBO Max.
There are already so many HBO platforms: Regular HBO, HBO Go, HBO Now. How is HBO Max different from them?
If you have a cable TV subscription that includes HBO, you can use HBO Go — it’s a free bonus app that comes with a paid HBO cable subscription which costs $14.99/month. Just login with your cable TV login details and you’ve got access to a vast library of HBO streaming content. It costs nothing extra and works on your smartphone to Apple TV/Roku/etc. to your computer.
HBO Now and HBO Go have the exact same content library: All of HBO’s original programming, plus a rotating library of movies. But, unlike HBO Go, HBO Now doesn’t require a cable TV subscription. It is a standalone streaming services cost $14.99/month. It was launched in 2015 to meet the demand of people who didn’t require cable networks.
Coming to HBO Max, it is essentially a “big sister” of the three services with additional content which is not available on HBO Go and HBO Now. As per my understanding, HBO Max is a replacement for HBO Now and HBO Go. In the coming few years, there would be nothing like HBO Now.
In most cases, current HBO Now subscribers have received an automatic upgrade to HBO Max. Please check the HBO Max website to see if your subscription is eligible for an upgrade.
AT&T cable subscribers who pay for HBO on TV are also eligible for a free year of HBO Max. These subscribers have started seeing HBO Max content show up on your user interface. All they have to do is download the app and access the HBO Max content.
HBO Max India: Is The Service Coming To India?
For now, HBO max is a United States thing. It has exclusively been launched in The United States. However, inside reports suggest that the company has plans to launch the platform globally.
Coming to India, HBO has a content distribution agreement with Star India signed back in 2016. It is a long term agreement. Since then HBO Originals (Euphoria and Games Of Thrones) are exclusively being aired on Star India channels and on Hotstar.
As long as this agreement is in place, HBO can’t start its own Video in streaming service in India. It wouldn’t be a good idea to break these agreements as the company is already seeing good success. So, for the time being, AT&T-WarnerMedia is going to continue working with local licensing partners in India. But whether HBO’s stance will change in future or not is something we need to see.