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

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Curious about HBO Max? From hit shows and movies to documentaries, 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.

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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).

Warner Bros. Discovery decided not to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ into one streaming platform and will reportedly launch a platform combining programming from both streamers. In the meantime, read on for a breakdown of HBO Max as it stands today, and what to watch.

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 seasons to hit HBO Max include The Last of Us, The White Lotus, House of the DragonThe Sex Lives of College Girls, Rap Sh!t, Doom Patrol, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, The Flight Attendant, Selena + Chef: Season 4, Hacks, Euphoria, A Black Lady Sketch Show and Barry, along with movies and documentaries such as Love, Lizzo, Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, Shaq, The Menu, Don’t Worry Darling, Barbarian, Black Adam, Amsterdam and The Batman.

Also streaming on HBO Max: Hard Knocks: The Arizona Cardinals, Industry, Belle, Winning TimeThe Cleaning Lady, Abbott Elementary, The Vampire Diaries, Fixer Upper: The Castle, Property Brothers: Forever Home, And Just Like That, Gossip Girl, South Side, Station ElevenLove Life, The Staircase, Peacemaker, Tokyo Vice, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Raised by Wolves and a lot of other HBO and HBO Max originals.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and Real Time With Bill Maher are 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, Ben 10 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  allows you to watch certain episodes for free. HBO Max’s paid subscriptions start at $9.99 ($99.99 a year) for ad-supported streaming, or $14.99 ($149.99 a year) to watch ad free.



Price: $9.99/month

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The ad-supported and ad-free streaming plans let you enjoy over 13,000 hours of entertainment, exclusive access to must-watch 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 free episodes and previously announced promotions such last year’s $1.99/monthly deal for Black Friday and a 20% discount. You never know when the platform 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, Verizon Fios and other cable or 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 platforms such as Prime Video and DirectTV Stream. AT&T quietly removed the HBO Max bundle deal from its wireless plans, but customers can still access free HBO Max with select plans and Cricket Wireless currently offers free HBO Max with a $60 unlimited plan.

Can you get a free trial to HBO Max through Hulu? New subscribers can enjoy a free trial to Hulu and add HBO Max as an additional channel for an extra $14.99 a month.

Currently, all of Direct TV Stream’s monthly plans are discounted to a savings of $120 per year when you purchase a streaming package and DirectTV Stream device. This limited deal won’t last forever, so click here to redeem the promo.

Direct TV offers free HBO Max with certain streaming plans, and a three-month free trial with others, along with a free trail when you join. 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 $89.99 a month (regular $99.99) for the first 12 months.

The Ultimate plan is on sale for $99.99 a month (regular $109.99) under the limited deal. 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. Under the limited promo, Direct TV Stream’s Premier plan drops down to $144.99 a month (regular $154.99 monthly). The streaming package includes premiere channels such HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax, in addition to 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.

How to Get a Free Trial to HBO Max Through Prime Video

Prime Video recently added HBO Max to its lineup which includes Paramount+, Showtime, Starz, BET+, AMC+, Discovery+ and other streamers that you can add to your subscription. HBO Max is available ad-free for $14.99/month after a free trial for a week.

HBO Max on Prime Video

Price: $14.99/month after 7-day free trial.

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Prime Video is one of the many perks that comes included with a membership to Amazon Prime. If you’re not a Prime member, click here to launch your 30-day free trial ($14.99/month after the free trial ends).

Besides Prime Video, the subscription includes free shipping on millions of items, a subscription to Amazon Prime Music, free GrubHub+ for a year and more.

Prime Video recently beat out Netflix to become the No.1 subscription streaming platform in the U.S. The platform features Amazon Originals like Harlem, Riches, The Rings of Power, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and The Boyz, movies like Shotgun Wedding, Somebody I Used to Know, The People We Hate at the Wedding, My Policeman, The Summer I Turned Pretty along with music, fashion and sports programs such as Kendrick Lamar’s The Big Steppers Tour in Paris, Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty Vol. 4 and Thursday Night Football. You’ll also find paid episodes of hits shows and blockbuster films like Yellowstone and Top Gun on Prime Video.

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