It’s Not TV, It’s Max

HBO is soon to be no more. Here’s what the rebrand means for viewers.

The streaming landscape just got a bit more confusing.

Warner Bros. Discovery last week revealed the name of its new streaming service that will combine the offerings of HBO Max and some of Discovery+. The new name: Max. The streaming service will launch May 23, just over three years to the day of the launch of HBO Max.

“Max is the one to watch,” WBD CEO David Zaslav said as he announced the new name April 12.

Many on social media didn’t think so, as many were quick to make fun of this bland name that forgoes any association with the company that revolutionized appointment television or the network that made Shark Week into a national phenomenon.

WBD’s stock was down 6% at close of business Wednesday after the new name announcement.

In addition to a name that could describe either the zenith of one’s potential or Goofy’s only child, the streamer’s color palette will change from an identifiable purple to yet another shade of blue, lumping it in with Amazon Prime, Paramount Plus and Disney+.

How much will it cost?

The new service will grandfather in existing HBO Max subscribers at their current price points, but will feature other subscription plan offers. Those are:

  •  Ad-Lite ($9.99/month or $99.99/year): Two concurrent streams, 1080p HD resolution, no offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
  • Ad Free ($15.99/month or $149.99/year): Two concurrent streams, 1080p HD, up to 30 offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
  • Ultimate Ad Free ($19.99/month or $199.99/year): Four concurrent streams, up to 4K Ultra HD resolution, 100 offline downloads, Dolby Atmos sound quality

Max Ad-Lite and Max Ad Free already align with existing HBO Max subscription plans.

While some Discovery+ content will be available on Max, Discovery+ will still be a standalone service available at $6.99/month without ads.

What’s new?

Max will feature an average of more than 40 new titles and TV show seasons every month, according to reports. Among those new titles: a new Big Bang Theory spinoff, another Game of Thrones spinoff, the fourth season of True Detective, and a new Harry Potter show with an all-new cast.

That Harry Potter series will be a decade-long adaptation of the books, with each book getting its own season. Series author J.K. Rowling will serve as an executive producer. One would assume it might be a better (and cheaper) bet to just pay for exclusive streaming rights for the original eight films.

Last Wednesday’s announcement made no mention of what would happen to anything connected to James Gunn’s new DC Universe, nor what would happen to the slew of content Zaslav axed right after the Warners/Discovery merger.

Max launches May 23. Check back in three years to see what its new name will be.


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Jake Harris

Jake Harris is a Texas-based journalist whose writing about pop culture and entertainment has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Nashville Scene and more. You can find more of his writings at or through his pop culture newsletter, Jacob's Letter.

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