A Review of HBO Max: The Next Netflix?


via JasonParis

Luke Herda, Writer

I’m sure many of you have heard of the fabled “streaming wars” that have been raging in the past few years. Multiple mass media companies have scrambled to take their respective brands and incorporate them into their own version of Netflix. Some of these endeavors include Disney’s two services Disney+ and Hulu, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Apple’s Apple TV+, and ViacomCBS’s CBS All Access (soon to be renamed Paramount+). However, one streaming service flew over most people’s heads after it launched in May of this year.  It is one of the highest-quality services I have ever used and it has one of the most massive libraries I have ever had the pleasure of browsing. The service that I speak of is HBO Max, AT&T’s entrance into the streaming wars through their WarnerMedia division.

I had the privilege of accessing this service for free due to my family already being subscribed to HBO through AT&T U-Verse, and I have to say I have enjoyed myself thoroughly. The advertising campaign of HBO Max has been lackluster, to say the least, inasmuch as I do not think that the good people at Warner Bros have demonstrated successfully how much content is available at the viewer’s fingertips. Friends is not the only show available to subscribers; there is “so much more” as the slogan boldly proclaims. Subscribers can access quality content from trusted WarnerMedia brands such as the namesake HBO, Cartoon Network, DC, Turner Classic Movies, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, and Looney Toons. WarnerMedia also licensed the Sesame Street catalogue, as well as most of the Studio Ghibli library, one of the best animation studios out there. Something like Disney+ mostly appeals to families and caps its content at a PG-13 rating, thereby limiting its audience. In contrast, HBO Max has something for everyone. Whether it’s horror, anime, science fiction, romance, kids and family content, documentaries, or classics, if you want to watch it, this streaming service has it. 

I do have a few problems with HBO Max, however, but I believe they can be easily resolved. First off, due to the vast amount of content on the service, I often find myself unaware of what is available to watch. Many times, I will randomly stumble upon a film that I would like to watch completely by accident. Usually, these are films that I believe should be featured on the home page but unfortunately are shoved to the side. Also, I wish that the “hubs” for access to each brand were at the top of the home page instead of near the bottom. This is a little inconvenient in my opinion. Finally, I believe that the price could be cut to be more appealing. HBO Max has one plan for $15. There is no cheaper standard-definition plan, unlike Netflix, for example. Although I believe the price is worth it, if WarnerMedia reduced the existing price or added a cheaper alternative, more people may buy in.

Overall, HBO Max is an incredible service with a few problems. However, it is worth the price, especially with the diverse range of content that people of all ages can enjoy. I highly recommend this streaming service and would encourage you all to at least get the free trial for one week. I assure you, you will be pleasantly surprised. I definitely know I was.

Rating: A-