Just days before the official launch of its new streaming service, HBO seems to want to clear up any confusion about the difference between its services Go, Now, and soon-to-launch Max—and buddy, I’m not sure it’s working.
Over the holiday weekend, HBO released an explainer on the “differences” between the three services. The important thing to know here is that Go is the streaming service for people who subscribe to HBO through their TV or cable provider. Now is for everyone else, those who only need the streaming service and nothing else. With that in mind, HBO is preparing to launch a new, different streaming service this week called Max. Max will have a lot of content that Go and Now do not—which seems fine, until you consider the price.
HBO Max will launch Wednesday as a wholly new streaming service that brings in all of HBO’s content, as well as content from WarnerMedia that includes DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes, New Line, and classic films from TCM. Max will also have its own originals, as well as exclusives like the Snyder cut of Justice League and the Friends reunion special. You’d think that a super-stuffed version of HBO’s existing product would cost more—but alas, it does not, making this release confusing on a level previously only reserved for the Apple TV branding.
HBO Now costs $15 per month. HBO Max—despite having a lot more content—will also cost $15 per month (barring the promotional pricing right now that actually makes Max cheaper than Now). Even more confusing, existing Now customers will get access to Max at no extra cost. That makes sense for everyone but new subscribers. And if you’re wondering why anyone would pay the same amount, and in some cases more, for a streaming service that has less content and is decidedly less awesome—well, reader, we’re wondering the same thing, and in fact have asked HBO in multiple requests for clarification on this very thing. We’ve yet to hear back.
None of this is made more clear in the explainer released over the weekend. For now, we’ll just have to wait to see if Wednesday’s launch gives us any more clues on why HBO has made this launch far more confusing than it probably needed to be.
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