Take it to the Max: HBO’s new streaming service debuts next month

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Friends
It'll be the only place to stream Friends (and a bunch more movies and TV).
Photo: Warner Bros.

HBO isn’t playing around when it comes to streaming video subscription services. The company, which already has its HBO Now subscription video-on-demand, will launch HBO Max on May 27 — complete with original shows, Turner TV shows, and Warner Bros. movies.

Check out more of the details, along with the first trailers for Max Originals, below.

HBO Max will join an increasingly crowded streaming video landscape next month. In addition to heavy hitters like Disney+ and Netflix, there’s Apple TV+, alongside newcomers such as the shortform service Quibi.

On Tuesday, HBO Max announced its first slate of premium shows, called Max Originals. These will be available to viewers on day one.

They include scripted Anna Kendrick comedy Love Life, feature documentary On the Record, underground ballroom dance competition series Legendary, a series called Craftopia hosted by YouTuber LaurDIY, new Looney Tunes Cartoons, and Sesame Workshop’s The Not Too Late Show with Elmo.

HBO Max’s biggest draws could be Friends and Big Bang Theory

However, perhaps the biggest draw in terms of viewers will be reruns of hit comedy show Friends and The Big Bang Theory. Expect those two to be two of the most-viewed shows for the new HBO service. Interest from Friends will also benefit from the upcoming reunion (sort of) featuring the original cast.

On top of that, there’s Doctor Who, Rick and Morty, The Boondocks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a plethora of CW shows, and more. At a later date, subscribers can also expect South Park, Gossip Girl, and The West Wing, among others.

HBO Max also promises to kick ass when it comes to movies, with a selection unmatched by anyone except (possibly) Disney+. Available films will include classics like Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, The Goonies, When Harry Met Sally, The Lord of the Rings, Citizen Kane, and others. For comic book fans, there’s also every DC movie from the past decade, including Wonder Woman, Joker, and more.

How much will HBO Max set you back?

All of this does come with a price, however. HBO Max will cost $15 a month when it rolls out. That’s more than double what the likes of Disney+ and Apple TV+ are charging. Some people who already subscribe to HBO will get Max included for free, though. The criteria is that you must pay for HBO through AT&T, the AT&T satellite service DirecTV, or Charter and its Spectrum services.

To avoid confusion (which is incredibly easy to do in this crowded media landscape), HBO Max is distinct from both HBO Now and HBO Go. It will have approximately 10,000 hours of content versus HBO Go and HBO Now’s 2,000+ hours of programming. Both of those other services, which also offer HBO content on demand, will continue to operate.

Cult of Mac has confirmed that there will be a standalone HBO Max app launched prior to its May 27 release.