The world may still be, but the continue with no regard for the . Next week, on May 27, arguably the biggest competitor of them all joins the battlefield: AT&T’s .
The new souped-up Max service offers every show and movie available on HBO and adds a host of exclusive content from WarnerMedia and DC Comics. It will be home to popular shows such as Friends, The Big Bang Theory and ; classic films like Lord of the Rings, Casablanca and A Star Is Born; DC Comics movies like Joker and Wonder Woman; and kids’ content from Looney Toons and Sesame Street. HBO Max will also stream originals, including a new series from J.J. Abrams, a Game of Thrones spin-off called and a new Sesame Street show called The Not Too Late Show with Elmo. The .
Max is priced at the same $14.99 per month that HBO already charges for a subscription, so current HBO subscribers might expect to be upgraded to it automatically. It’s not that simple. Here’s what we know so far about how HBO Max will be rolled out.
What do I do if I’m an HBO Now subscriber?
AT&T says that all customers who subscribe to HBO Now directly, for example people who subscribed through hbonow.com and are billed by HBO, will be upgraded for free to HBO Max.
An HBO Max spokeswoman says that the company will be “communicating additional details on how specific users access HBO Max as we get closer to launch.” It’s still unclear if any steps will needed to be taken on the user side to transition from HBO Now to HBO Max, or if your HBO Now login will simply work in the new HBO Max apps.
If you subscribe to HBO Now through a third-party service — such as on a platform like Amazon Prime Video Channels or Roku, or through an internet provider or if you signed up for the service via the Android app — you won’t necessarily be upgraded, as the billing there isn’t handled directly by HBO.
In late April HBO and Apple reached an agreement to upgrade those who subscribe to HBO Now through an Apple device to HBO Max. The upgrade will be available in time for the new service’s launch.
Unsure how you’re getting HBO? You can check by logging in on your phone or computer. Here’s how, according to HBO’s help guide:
1. After logging in, you need to head to the Profile section.
i. On a computer check the upper-right corner and choose the Profile icon.
ii. On a phone or tablet tap the Profile icon, then tap the Settings icon (upper-right corner).
2. Choose Billing Information and look for the following sentence: Your subscription is billed through _________.
A full list of third-party providers can be found here.
What about if I get HBO from my cable provider or streaming TV service?
As with the third-party HBO Now subscriptions, it’s not completely clear what HBO will be doing for those who get HBO from their cable TV company. It is possible AT&T will make a deal with some to push users to HBO Max, but that is still largely not known.
As a current subscriber you will still be able to continue watching HBO and using HBO Go, but you will miss out on all the extra shows and movies being added to HBO Max exclusively. There are some exceptions, however, depending on your provider.
Charter customers who already subscribe to HBO through the Spectrum cable service will “gain immediate access to HBO Max,” according to the HBO Max spokeswoman, while new Spectrum subscribers will “be able to purchase HBO Max directly through Charter at launch.”
AT&T previously announced athat “will allow users to subscribe to HBO Max through that service.”
The spokeswoman says that the company has “additional distribution partners in place for HBO Max at launch, and as soon as we’re able to announce those deals and outline the user experiences on those platforms we will do so.”
What if I get HBO from AT&T or DirecTV?
HBO, like the rest of WarnerMedia, is owned by AT&T, so the upgrade process for those living in this world is a bit easier. That said, it’s not completely free of complications. If you have an, but whether that is for one month, three months or one year or is a general free upgrade will vary depending on which services you have.
Here’s a chart AT&T put together to show if you will get the free upgrade.
New AT&T TV Choice, Xtra or Ultimate, and Óptimo Más package customers and new DirecTV Choice, Xtra, Ultimate, Más Ultra or Óptimo Más package customers will be eligible to receive HBO Max included for a year.
Current subscribers with most TV packages from AT&T TV or DirecTV will be able to get a three-month free trial of HBO Max, though this excludes those on the cheapest TV packages.
Those with AT&T’s Internet 1000 home broadband or Unlimited Elite wireless plan will similarly have HBO Max included, while those with other home broadband or wireless plans will get a one-month free trial.
So if I pay for HBO through my cable provider or a third party what should I do?
Regardless of if you have HBO Now or HBO from a cable provider, the price is generally the same: $14.99 per month. That price is also the same as a new HBO Max subscription, so if you’re paying for HBO and not getting it bundled for free, our advice is to switch to being billed directly by HBO, or just cancel it through your current third-party method and then sign up for HBO Max when it launches.
The cost differences pretty much cancel out and HBO Max gives more for your money, particularly if you have HBO Now and are not being billed directly by HBO. The experience for watching could be as simple as just swapping the Now app for the Max app, which makes the switch a no-brainer.
Those looking to save can cancel their existing HBO or HBO Now subscriptions and sign up for the. Under the preorder you’ll be able to get HBO Now for $12 per month for the next year — as opposed to the regular $15 per month rate — including a free upgrade to HBO Max when it launches on May 27. If you have HBO Now or planned on getting HBO Max, this can save you a quick $36.
For cable users, particularly those accustomed to watching TV on channels and not apps, the transition is slightly more complicated and will mean having to use a device like a Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast or Apple TV to get the service onto your TV as opposed to just changing a channel. While these devices can be found at fairly affordable prices, it does mean having to switch between different inputs when navigating between the HBO and regular TV.
With only a few weeks until launch we expect more information to come out, and we’ll update this article when that happens.
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