So HBO Max is finally here. Well, not here in the UK exactly, but in the United States, and I managed to try it on my iPad.
I was lucky enough to get the 7 day trial offered to new subscribers. I have $1.59 left from a gift card, which is $13.40 less than the cost of the monthly subscription. (HBO Max charges a stiff $14.99 for the privilege to access its streaming platform every month.)
In case you were wondering, you need a VPN to access HBO Max from a different country. HBO has said Max will launch next year in Europe and other regions; my VPN disconnected at some point and I got the “not available in your territory” message right away.
Max’s interface is very slick, and unlike Netflix’s, you don’t get bombarded with trailers every time you hover over a TV series or film.
Standard nowadays, you can have profiles for adults and kids – HBO Max is full of mature content, so you can set up a code to protect the little ones-, as well as a toggle to download content for offline consumption.
It also comes with useful ways of looking for stuff. “Just Added”, “Last Chance”, “Coming Soon” and “Originals” divide content in such a way so you know what’s new, what’s leaving, what’s coming and the exclusive content you can enjoy on the platform – an advantage over Netflix, definitely.
But saying HBO Max is better than Netflix is subjective. I have been a Netflix subscriber since 2013, so I have binged shows like Stranger Things and Money Heist, and keep looking for any hidden gem I can find there.
HBO Max launched with big name shows like Friends, Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones, as well as blockbusters like the full Harry Potter saga and Joker.
I found myself devouring the three-episode season premiere of Love Life, with Anna Kendrick. I can’t wait to watch the fourth episode next Thursday, although that is the last day of my free trial.
Is HBO Max worth it? I think it depends on the shows and films you like. I mean, I’ve been hitting the iTunes sales and buying shows I love, like Friends and The Office, so I don’t have to suscribe to different streaming services to find them.
I think it all comes down to original content, and HBO Max is definitely a strong contender. I have no option left but to stick to Netflix until Max comes to the UK next year, and see if it has become more binge-worthy.