A Step-by-Step Guide to HBO Max: What to Watch & How to Join for Free

·4 min read

Curious about HBO Max? From hit movies and documentaries to comedy specials and more, the streaming giant has enough content to keep everyone in the household entertained. Keep reading to learn more about HBO Max, including membership plans, pricing and how to get a free trial.

What Is HBO Max?

HBO Max is the streaming platform launched by Warner Bros in 2020. The platform, which replaced HBO Go, gained a massive following during the beginning of the pandemic, namely because every 2021 Warner Bros. movie arrived on HBO Max the same day as its theater release. HBO Max has grown to more than 73 million subscribers (and counting).

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What to Watch on HBO Max

Whether you love television, movies, or a blend of both, HBO Max has the kind of streaming library tailor-made for binge watchers. Some of the new and upcoming releases to hit HBO Max include new seasons of Westworld andThe Flight Attendant, and 2022 Emmy-nominated shows like Hacks, The White Lotus, Succession, Euphoria, The Gilded Age, A Black Lady Sketch Show and Barry, along with movies and documentaries such as Father of the Bride, Menudo: Forever Young, The Batman, Black Mass and The Forever Purge.

Rap Sh!t, Issa Rae’s new comedy series, drops on HBO Max on July 21 followed by Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin on July 28, and House of the Dragon, the highly anticipated Game of Thrones spinoff, premieres on Aug. 21.

You can also stream Winning TimeThe Secrets of Dumbledore, Minx, And Just Like That, Gossip Girl, Station ElevenThe Fallout, Love Life, FBoy Island, The Head, The Other Two, The Staircase, Succession, PeacemakerJulia, Chad, Tokyo Vice, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Raised by Wolves, Landscapers and other HBO and HBO Max originals on the platform.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and Real Time With Bill Maher are also on HBO Max, as well as numerous movies, classic episodes of beloved sitcoms such as The Nanny, The Fresh-Prince of Bel-Air and Friends, along with kid-approved and family-friendly shows including Sesame Street, Head of the Class, Aquaman King of Atlantis and Looney Tunes Cartoons.

How Much Does HBO Max Cost?

HBO Max has expanded to two subscription tiers: ad-supported and commercial free. The platform also introduced a free tier last year which only allows you to watch certain episodes. HBO Max’s paid subscriptions start at $9.99 ($99.99 a year) for ad-supported streaming, or $14.99 a month ($149.99 a year) to watch ad free.

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The ad-supported and ad-free streaming plans let you enjoy over 13,000 hours of entertainment, exclusive access to new Warner Bros. movies, all your HBO favorites — and you can stream from up to five different profiles, which is great if there are multiple people in your household.

What’s only available on the ad-free plan? With HBO Max’s commercial-free plan, users can stream certain movies in 4K, download content to watch offline and stream from other countries. Streaming from outside the U.S.? Access HBO Max through ExpressVPN.

Does HBO Max Offer a Free Trial?

Unfortunately, HBO Max does not offer free trials, but the streaming giant has previously announced deals such as January’s 20% discount. You never know when HBO Max will launch another streaming deal, but there are ways to go about getting HBO Max for free right now.

Already subscribed to HBO? You may already have free HBO Max through Samsung TV, Roku Channel Store, Verizon Fios, and other cable and live TV streaming platforms. Not sure? Click here to find out if you already have access to HBO Max. Otherwise, you can score a free trail to HBO Max through Direct TV Stream. AT&T quietly removed the HBO Max bundle deal from its wireless plans, but Cricket Wireless offers free HBO Max with a $60 unlimited plan.

Hulu subscribers can add HBO Max as an additional channel for $14.99 a month (in addition to Hulu’s $6.99 monthly subscription after a free 30-day trial).

Currently, all of Direct TV Stream’s monthly plans are discounted $10 (a savings of $30 over two months).  This limited deal ends July 19, so act fast to redeem the promo.

Direct TV offers free HBO Max with certain streaming plans, and a free three-month trial with others. The Choice plan, for example, gets you free HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, Epix and Cinemax for the first three months of your subscription, along with 90+ live channels and local TV stations, 45,000 on-demand channels and unlimited cloud DVR recording for $74.99 a month (regular $89.99).

The Ultimate plan is on sale for $89.99 a month (regular $104.99). The package includes a free, three-month trial to HBO Max as well as everything in the cheaper tier, plus over 125 live and local channels. Direct TV Stream’s Premier plan is currently $134.99 a month (regular $149.99 monthly) and includes HBO Max, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax, over 140 live channels and local TV stations, 65,000 on-demand titles, unlimited DVR recording, regional sports networks and free Epix for the first three months.

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