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

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Curious about 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 Max, including membership plans, pricing, streaming deals and how to get a free trial.



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What Is Max?

Max is a relatively new streaming platform that combines HBO and Discovery channels including, Max Originals, B/R Sports, DC, ID Network, TNT, TCM, TLC, Discovery, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, OWN, Food Network, HGTV, and Trvl Channel.

HBO Max launched by Warner Bros in 2020, replacing HBO Go. The streamer 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. Last year, HBO Max and its sister streamer, Discovery+, ballooned to a combined 96.1 million subscribers.

Warner Bros. Discovery decided not to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ into one streaming platform and instead launched Max, a mega-streamer combining programming from HBO and Discovery.

Discovery+ is still available as a standalone platform, but there could be another expansion in the works. Disney and Warner are planning to launch a streaming bundle featuring Disney+, Hulu and Max, according to Deadline.

What to Watch on Max

Whether you love television, movies or a blend of both, Max has the kind of streaming library tailormade for binge watchers. Some of the new and upcoming releases to hit Max include Hacks Season 3 and the new series, Pretty Little Liars: Summer School, which premiered on May 9, along with current seasons of The Regime, True Detective, Selena + Restaurant and House of the Dragon Season 2 premiering on June 16, Lady Gaga’s Chromactica Ball concert tour dropping on May 25, and a new season of Euphoria, which is expected to premiere in 2025.

TV lovers can also binge episodes of fan favorites such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Succession, The Last of Us, The White Lotus, …And Just Like That, Barry, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, Selena + Chef, along with must-watch movies and documentaries such as The Jinx: Part Two, Quiet on Set, Wonka, Priscilla, Aquaman: And the Lost Kingdom, The Color Purple, Oprah & The Color Purple: Journey, Blue Beetle, Barbie, The Gilded Age, The Sympathizer, Girls on the Bus, Conan Must Go, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace: Natalia Speaks, House of Hammer, Hillsong: Megachurch Exposed, Johnny vs. Amber, Love to Love You, Donna Summer, The Weeknd: Live at Sofi Stadium, Love, Lizzo, Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, All That Breathes, and All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.

Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’

Courtesy HBO

Also streaming on Max: Abbott Elementary, Gold Rush, Rick and Morty, The Haunted Museum, Yellowstone Wardens, Fixer Upper: The Hotel, Property Brothers: Forever Home, Gossip Girl, South Side, Station ElevenThe Staircase, and Peacemaker.

90 Day Fiance, Sister Wives, 1000-lb Sisters, Big Fat Fabulous, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, My Strange Addiction, Evil Lives Here, Very Scary People, Undercover Underage, People Investigates, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures: House Hall and Ghost Brothers: Lights Out.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and Real Time With Bill Maher are on Max, as well as numerous movies, classic episodes of beloved sitcoms such as Martin, The Fresh-Prince of Bel-Air and Friends, along with kid-approved and family-friendly shows including Sesame Street, Ben 10, Looney Tunes Cartoons and the Harry Potter film franchise.

How Much Does Max Cost?

Max has expanded to three subscription tiers: ad-supported, commercial free and ultimate ad-free. The platform also allows you to watch certain episodes for free. Max’s paid subscriptions start at $9.99 ($99.99 a year) for ad-supported streaming, or $15.99 ($149.99 a year) to watch ad free.

The Ultimate ad-free package is $19.99 per month and includes 4K Ultra HD quality, 100 downloads to watch on the go and you can stream on up to four devices at once. Subscribe to the Max annual plan to save up to 20% off. Annual plans start at $99.99.

Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal in 'The Last of Us.'

Lamar Johnson, Keivonn Woodard, Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal in ‘The Last of Us.’

Liane Hentscher/HBO

With the ad-supported and ad-free streaming plans, you can 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 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 Max through ExpressVPN.

Does Max Offer a Free Trial?

Unfortunately, Max does not offer free trials, but the streaming giant has free episodes and previously announced promotions such the 40% off deal from earlier this year, and a $1.99/monthly deal for Black Friday in 2023. You never know when the platform will launch another streaming deal, but there are ways to go about getting Max for free right now.

Already subscribed to HBO? You may already have free Max through Samsung TV, Roku, Verizon Fios, DirecTV and other cable or live TV streaming platforms. Not sure? Click here to find out if you already have access to Max. Otherwise, you can score a free trail to Max through platforms such as DirectTV Stream. AT&T quietly removed the HBO Max bundle deal from its wireless plans in 2022 and Prime Video isn’t offering a free trial at the moment, but customers can still access free Max with select plans and Cricket Wireless currently offers free Max with a $60 unlimited plan.

Can you get a free trial to Max through Hulu? Unfortunately, no. But Hulu subscribers can add Max as an additional channel for an extra $15.99 a month.

Currently, DirecTV offers monthly streaming plans for less than $80/month to stream 75+ channels. The Entertainment, Choice and Ultimate plans are priced from $74.99-$149.99 per month, when you lock in the rate for 24 months.

The Choice plan includes 105+ live channels and local TV stations, DVR, sports channels (ACC Network, Big Ten Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, Bally’s, SEC Network, etc.) and more. DirecTV customers can also add Max, Showtime, Starz and other channels for an additional fee.

DirecTV’s Premiere Plan is on sale for $149.99/month ($159.99) includes free Max, Starz, Paramount+ with Showtime, and Cinemax as well as everything in the cheaper tiers, plus over 140+ live and local channels, 65,000+ on-demand titles, unlimited DVR recording, regional sports networks and tons of other benefits.

How to Subscribe to Max Through Prime Video

Prime Video has added Max to its lineup of channels which includes Paramount+, Starz, BET+, AMC+, Discovery+ and other streamers that you can add to your subscription. Max is available ad-free for $15.99/month but Prime Video is not currently offering a free trial to Max (you can however enjoy a free trial to Prime). Prime Video has a bundle offer with Max and Cinemax for $20.99 (reg. $25.99)

Prime Video is one of the many perks that’s included with Amazon Prime memberships. 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 and other member benefits.

In 2022, Prime Video beat out Netflix to become the No.1 subscription streaming platform in the U.S. The platform features Amazon Originals like Fallout, The Idea of You, Road House, Ricky Stanicky, Upgraded, Role Play, Saltburn, Reacher, Sound of Freedom, The Summer I Turned Pretty, Daisy Jones & The Six, Swarm, The Power, Harlem, Riches, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Wheel of Time, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Boyz, Somebody I Used to Know, The People We Hate at the Wedding, My Policeman and music, fashion and sports programs such as Taylor’s Swift’s Eras Tour, Kendrick Lamar’s The Big Steppers Tour in Paris, Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty Vol. 4, March Madness, MLB, NBA, WNBA and Thursday Night Football. You’ll also find paid episodes of hits shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, Yellowstone and must-watch films like Dune 2, Abigail, Lisa Frankenstein and Ghost Busters: Frozen Empire on Prime Video.

Latifah Muhammad
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