It’s been a rollercoaster year for HBO Max. The merger of WarnerMedia with Discovery seemingly sounded the death knell for HBO Max, which has seen its content library gutted, planned projects sold off, and most notoriously, the cancellation of an almost-complete 90 million USD Batgirl film. On the other hand, the streamer has continued to pump out hits like House of the Dragon, The Last of Us, and the ongoing final season of Succession.
Well, it seems like the dust is finally settling, and HBO Max’s turmoil is coming to an end. In early April 2023, HBO Max’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), announced that the streaming service would merge with Discovery Plus to form a new flagship streaming service.
What’s the name of the merged HBO Max and Discovery Plus streaming service?
Were you expecting HBO Plus? WB Plus? Maybe Disco Max? Or a name with some sort of branding that taps into the storied history of either HBO or Warner Brothers? WBD had other plans.
The new name of HBO Max + Discovery Plus is just Max.
The goal, apparently, was to broaden the appeal of the new streaming service. By dropping the HBO branding from its name, WBD hopes that audiences will know that Max is not just home to content for adults. We’ll touch more on Max’s content offerings in a bit.
It’s a name that reeks of a committee decision and Discovery’s reluctance to acknowledge the strength of the Warner Brothers name. Just imagine the chore of combing through Google search results for “max plans” or “max availability.”
When will Max launch?
Max will launch on May 23, 2023. The streamer can be found on the web at max.com. While the website is up, you can only opt-in to receive updates about the new service for now.
What the launch of Max means for existing HBO Max and Discovery Plus subscribers
It sounds like not much will change for HBO Max subscribers once Max launches. WBD promises that users’ profiles, settings, watchlists, and shows they’re currently watching will transfer to the new service.
While the first two price tiers of Max cost as much as HBO Max’s existing plans, certain features are being rolled back. Currently, on HBO Max, you enjoy three concurrent streams on both plans. Once the move to Max happens, that will drop to two, and you will lose access to 4K UHD content. For access to 4K UHD content and more concurrent streams, you’ll need to upgrade to the new “Max Ultimate Ad Free” tier for 20 USD a month.
WBD also promises that Max will work with all the same devices as HBO Max does, which means that all popular personal devices and streaming devices should work with Max out of the gate.
HBO Max is notorious for its bugginess, but WBD is touting a better user experience with Max. The new service will feature greater personalization and simplified navigation, a “smoother and more cinematic” video playback, and a more prominent kids experience.
Discovery Plus subscribers, don’t fret; you won’t be forced to more than double your fee by moving to the new service. Discovery Plus will continue to operate as a standalone service with Discovery-only content for the foreseeable future.
How much will Max cost?
Max will have three price plans. The “Max Ad-Lite” and “Max Ad Free” plans are priced the same as existing HBO Max plans. Note that some features, like 4K UHD content, on existing HBO Max plans are no longer available on similarly priced plans on Max. The three Max plans are:
|Max Ad-Lite||Max Ad Free||Max Ultimate Ad Free|
|9.99 USD / month|
99.99 USD / year
|15.99 USD / month|
149.99 USD / year
|19.99 USD / month|
199.99 USD / year
|2 concurrent streams||2 concurrent streams||4 concurrent streams|
|1080p HD resolution||1080p HD resolution||Up to 4K UHD resolution|
|No offline downloads||Up to 30 offline downloads||Up to 100 offline downloads|
|5.1 surround sound quality||5.1 surround sound quality||Dolby Atmos sound quality|
WBD has stated that current HBO Max subscribers will continue to have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months following the launch of Max. So, HBO Max subscribers don’t immediately have to upgrade just for 4K UHD content, for example.
It’s not known how the Ad-Lite tier will differ from the current ad-supported HBO Max plan, but WBD has taken care to upsell Max’s Max Ultimate tier. It promises that subscribers on Max Ultimate will have exclusive access to an expanded catalog of 4K UHD content, which will also include all Warner Brothers movies released this year and in the future.
Discovery Plus subscribers looking to keep Discovery Plus will not see their price plans revised. Though, there’s no word if subscribers looking to jump to Max will be offered a discount for doing so.
Where will Max be available?
Max will launch in the U.S. first on May 23, 2023. It will then launch in Latin America later in the year, while select countries in Europe and Asia will get Max in 2024.
No word on what will happen to existing HBO Max subscribers in Latin America and Europe once Max launches in the U.S. in May. HBO Max’s support only suggests that you sign up for updates for now. Our guess? The app will likely remain as HBO Max in those regions until the official regional launch of Max.
What will happen to HBO Max and Discovery Plus?
Come May 23, HBO Max users will have their profiles migrated to Max, and HBO Max will cease to exist. Existing subscribers will have their app automatically updated to the Max app, though some will be prompted to download the new app.
The HBO Max website will likely redirect to the new Max website. WBD has also outlined which pay-TV providers and streaming partners will support Max. The growing list includes DirecTV, Prime Video, Hulu, and more.
Discovery Plus will continue to operate as a standalone service, so users of the streamer should expect no changes to their experience and the availability of Discovery Plus.
What kind of content will Max have?
When Max launches in May, it will have the HBO Max movies and series that you’re already familiar with. That means all your favorite HBO, DC, Harry Potter, and Cartoon Network titles will be available. All of Discovery Plus’ content will also be available in Max’s catalog.
During the unveiling of Max, a slew of new original shows dubbed “Max Originals” were announced. These include a new Harry Potter series, a Big Bang Theory spin-off, a new Game of Thrones prequel, a series based on The Conjuring films, a new kid’s series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, and more.
Shows that were set to debut on HBO Max like The Penguin will debut on Max. Meanwhile, upcoming HBO Original series like True Detective: Night Country and The Regime will also stream on Max when they premiere.
The DC film Shazam! Fury of the Gods will make its streaming debut on Max when it launches.
Will the shows that were removed from HBO Max return?
Unsurprisingly, the company made no mention of the massive slate of shows like Westworld, Raised by Wolves, and FBoy Island that were pulled from HBO Max. These shows will not be part of Max’s content library and will instead stream on the ad-supported streamer, Tubi.
Shows and films like Batgirl and The Last O.G. that were culled as part of a tax write-down will not stream or air anywhere.
FAQ: About the HBO Max and Discovery Plus merger
Is Discovery Plus going away?
No, Discovery Plus will continue to operate a standalone service. But its content will also be available on Max.
What happens to my HBO Max subscription after the merger?
Existing HBO Max subscriptions will be automatically migrated to the new Max service, with users’ profiles, settings, watchlists, and shows they’re currently watching remaining intact.
Pricing remains the same, though Max will offer a more premium “Max Ultimate Ad Free” tier for 20 USD a month.
Is HBO Max being rebranded?
Yes. HBO Max is being rebranded as Max. The change will take effect from May 23, 2023, with existing subscriptions automatically migrated to the new service.
Can you still use HBO Max?
Yes, HBO Max will be available until May 22, 2023. From May 23, you will have to use the Max app or website to continue streaming content from HBO Max.