Updated on March 19, 2023
Earlier this week, WarnerMedia announced the name of, and details about, its long-awaited streaming service.
“HBO Max” will debut in the spring of 2020. It’s so named because it’s “HBO Maximized,” not because Cinemax is the often-ignored sister channel of HBO. HBO Max is not to be confused with HBO Now (the stand-alone HBO live streaming service) or HBO Go (the on-demand app version of HBO, free for HBO cable channel subscribers).
What’s on HBO Max?
As for content, HBO Max claims to be bringing over 10,000 hours of content. Material coming to HBO Max includes:
- The entire run of “Friends,” which got the most attention. Despite its age (or my dislike of the show… I vastly preferred “Living Single“), it’s apparently still a big draw in reruns.
- The entire run of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
- All new material airing on The CW starting in the fall of 2019, including “Batwoman” and “Riverdale” spin-off “Katy Keene.”
- Various original content, including a “Gremlins” animated prequel series.
- Material drawn from the entire WarnerMedia library. From the announcement’s promotional trailer, this includes Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, the Flintstones, the Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and more. (Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and DC Comics’ logos are displayed.)
The cost of HBO Max is projected to be around $16-$17 a month, which is slightly more than HBO by itself.
Here’s the trailer released with the press release.
Thoughts on HBO Max
For starters, HBO Max sounds pricey, even compared to a post-“Game of Thrones” HBO subscription. Disney+ meanwhile will be available for about $10 less initially.
Existing HBO subscribers will have to decide whether it’s worth going with the Max version for slightly more. As Max will bring in content from all over WarnerMedia’s holdings, the extra cost might be worthwhile for families, plus fans of channels like TBS.
I also wonder what the future spells for DC Universe, which has had various rumors surrounding its long-term future. Not helping is negative publicity from how quickly “Swamp Thing” got axed.
I’ll also point out that it’s the same massive conglomerate, AT&T, running multiple streaming services (Boomerang, DC Universe, HBO Max). One could be paying Ma Bell three separate monthly bills if one wants Scooby-Doo, “Doom Patrol,” and “Game of Thrones” reruns.
That said, there’s also the usual complaints about all of these services reproducing the state of cable TV. I stand by my usual advice of not paying for more than three or four streaming TV services. Just because everyone’s offering a streaming service doesn’t mean you have to pay for all of them. (And if you do, consider DVDs, keeping cable, and/or how much TV you’re watching?)
“Warner Brothers tour” by Alan Light is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Flickr / cropped from original)