Here's The Difference Between HBO Max, HBO Go & HBO Now

by Ani Bundel

A summer stuck at home is one that will need a lot of streaming content. The good news is that the entertainment world was already gearing up to provide, starting with the release of Apple TV+ back in November of last year. Since then, Disney+ and Peacock have arrived, though the latter does not go into wide release until July. Now HBO Max has joined the party. But for those who are considering signing up, it's hard to grasp the difference between HBO Max, HBO Go and HBO Now.

Part of the reason for all these HBO branded products is that the premium cable channel has been working to keep up with the times. In doing so, it has released a different product at each stage.

In the early 2010s, when watching shows on your laptop became something new, HBO Go was created. HBO Go is just that: A way to watch HBO on your device, as long as you're already subscribed via cable.

But not all viewers could sign up for HBO (or use HBO Go) because they did not have a TV and therefore did not have cable. HBO then turned to a stand-alone streaming channel. That's what HBO Now is; it's a straightforward way to pay for HBO, even if you don't have cable.

But that was 2015. This is 2020, and the new hotness is a vertically integrated way to deliver all your content directly to the consumer. HBO's parent company, WarnerMedia, has created HBO Max, which is all the company's different brands (HBO, Turner, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros.) under one roof.

Luckily, the service knows viewers might be confused with all these different HBOs and has created an explainer to help viewers along.

As the above video shows, HBO Max has more than just HBO. It has all the stuff from WarnerMedia's other brands too. There's Friends and The Big Bang Theory, two shows made by Warner Bros. Television. There's The Wizard of Oz, a Warner Bros. classic film, and all the DC comic films, which are also made by Warner Bros. There's Rick & Morty from Cartoon Network. Plus, there will be HBO Max originals too.

In a sense, HBO Max is a bit like Disney+, an umbrella streaming service filled with sub-brands. But Disney+ sticks to things that are just owned or made by Disney. HBO Max has a more expansive reach, including BBC America series like Doctor Who and Killing Eve.

HBO Max will debut on Wednesday, May 27, and cost $14.99 a month.