How HBO Max is different from HBO Go and HBO Now

(Image credit: HBO Max)

HBO Max is entering the streaming wars. So how do you get it, exactly, and what's the difference between this and HBO's other services?

HBO Max, which officially launched in the U.S. on Wednesday, is the new WarnerMedia streaming service, and it includes content from the company's library of movies and shows of which HBO programming is just a part. There's everything from The Big Bang Theory and Friends to films that aren't on the regular version of HBO, as well as original content that's exclusive to Max, including new Sesame Street and Looney Tunes shows (and, starting next year, the infamous Snyder cut of Justice League).

There are confusingly now three separate services called HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max. As HBO clarifies, HBO Go is the streaming service that comes with a subscription to HBO through a TV package. HBO Now, on the other hand, is an HBO streaming service that doesn't require a cable subscription.

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Then there's HBO Max, which includes everything you'd normally get with an HBO subscription, plus significantly more content that isn't HBO related. As of Wednesday, a new customer can subscribe to Max for the same $14.99 a month price as Now, which offers far less content than Max.

If you're an HBO customer, you may or may not already have Max, as Now subscribers are being upgraded for no additional cost depending on how they're billed, while if you use HBO Go, you get access depending on which TV provider you subscribe through, as CNET explains. Comcast customers aren't getting upgraded at the moment.

Check out more information about which HBO users automatically get HBO Max here. The service is now available, meaning after leaving Netflix, the Friends are once again there for you.

Update: Since the original publication of this article, HBO Max announced it reached a deal to provide access to Comcast customers.

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