But how do you get HBO Max? Or do you already have it? And once you’ve confirmed your access, what do you get with it? You have so many questions, and fortunately, The A.V. Club has so many answers.
How to get HBO Max
HBO subscribers who get their service through (and are direct-billed by) AT&T, AT&T TV, DirecTV, U-Verse TV, Cox, Hulu, Optimum, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios TV and select independent cable, broadband, and telco providers through the NCTC like WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, RCN and MCTV now have HBO Max at no additional cost. [UPDATE: And now Comcast, too.] We tried it out this morning, using a DirecTV login (which was previously used for free access to HBO Go), and voilà—we reached an interface quite similar to that of Hulu, only against a violet ombre backdrop. Existing HBO Now subscribers (including those who are billed through Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Optimum and Verizon Fios Internet) also get instant access to HBO Max today at no additional cost. Conveniently enough, the HBO NOW app will automatically update to the HBO Max app on supported devices.
If you don’t currently have HBO or HBO Now, you can sign up for HBO Max directly through HBOMax.com or through AT&T, DirecTV, U-Verse TV, Apple, Cox, Google Play, Hulu, Optimum, Samsung Smart TV, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios, YouTube TV, and select independent cable, broadband and telco providers through the NCTC. There’s a complete list of providers here.
Finally, here’s a brief rundown of the supported devices you can use to access HBO Max: Android phones and tablets, Android TV including Sony Android TVs (2016 models and later), Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD), Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices, computers/laptops (Chromebooks, PC and Mac browsers), Samsung Smart TVs (specifically, models from 2016-2020), PlayStation 4 systems, and Xbox One. This list will be updated by HBO Max, and you can keep an eye on it here.
TV and documentary originals now streaming
Like its competitors, HBO Max comes to the market with both vintage programming and fresh content. The A.V. Club has already surveyed some of these offerings; read on for some quick thoughts, or click the linked titles for the full review.
“Leave it all on the floor!” is the directive of Legendary. The command speaks to the jaunty energy of HBO Max’s first reality competition show. Pose on FX helped introduce the underground ballroom community, voguing, and houses to mainstream viewers, and Legendary makes the concept into a reality show by bringing together eight houses to compete for a cash prize of $100,000. Competitors are enjoyably shady with each other; there seems to be a significant budget for outfits and accessories; and the judging panel is varyingly supportive, dismissive, thirsty, and impressed. Although there is some bumpiness in the show’s early stages (only the first two episodes were available for review), it’s also clear that Legendary has assembled all the components needed to be a RuPaul’s Drag Race-style hit. [Roxana Hadadi]
“The documentary On The Record has been described as a film about the secret life of hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, and about the multiple women—and in particular one woman, Drew Dixon—who have accused him of sexual harassment and rape. But that description puts too blunt a point on the story Dixon tells here, and on the repercussions that the doc’s co-directors, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, intend to explore. This isn’t a movie about a mogul who may have gotten away with heinous crimes. On The Record is more about a show business system ill-designed to process the friction these kinds of accusations create. It’s also about how some remarkably gifted people end up getting squashed, to keep the gears of profit properly greased.” [Noel Murray]
For its target audience, Not-Too-Late is extra time to spend with the Sesame Street monsters and menagerie—15 more minutes, to be exact. It’s Elmo (Ryan Dillon), hosting a star-studded chatfest that takes place between dinner clean-up and pajama time, with Cookie Monster (David Rudman) as announcer/sidekick/comic devourer of desserts and props and Mama Bear (Jennifer Barnhart) leading the house band. On the surface, it’s the most entertainment-forward project to ever emerge from Sesame Workshop—Sesame Street’s long-running tradition of celebrity cameos made into a show of its own. But pay close enough attention to the structure and the contents, and the service element emerges: With mobile devices and other screens playing an increasing role in daily life, here’s a show that fights against tech’s negative impact on sleep by getting kids ready for bed. [Erik Adams]
Love Life fails to live up to expectations, offering rote observations about interpersonal relationships and shallow characterization. At the start of the series, a chipper British narrator relates statistics on relationships and marriage that will either make people feel bad about their prospects for a second marriage (despite the fact that the same “anecdata” indicates second marriages are often more successful than first marriages), or emphasize the rarity of “true love.” Love Life then purports to show us the people behind the numbers, but Boyd and his fellow executive producers Bridget Bedard and Paul Feig struggle to make any of the characters consistently three-dimensional. [Danette Chavez]
Looney Tunes Cartoons
Animation stalwart Peter Browngardt tries his hand at reviving Warner Bros. classic, never-dormant-for-long—the 2010s alone saw the premieres of The Looney Tunes Show and New Looney Tunes—cartoon property. The result, Looney Tunes Cartoons, is familiar and fun; Browngardt has reteamed with fellow SpongeBob SquarePants alums like Caroline Director (who writes) and Kenny Pittenger (who directs). Each 15-minute episode features two shorts and an interstitial; the first new entry sees Daffy and Porky Pig reunited and on an appropriately ludicrous treasure hunt. But it’s cast MVP Eric Bauza, who voices Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, and Tweety, who really connects the past to the present. Even when the animation feels a little off—not in terms of quality, just different—Bauza makes sure each one of Bugs’ sneers and Daffy’s sputters lands.
Call it Making It Junior (or don’t, so you don’t end up confusing the HBO Max launch with the rollout for NBC’s streaming service, Peacock). Hosted by popular YouTube crafter Lauren “LaureDIY” Riihimaki, Craftopia is a kid-centered crafting competition series that lets the imagination and glitter run wild. Each episode includes two rounds of competition, a rotating guest judge spot, and multiple prizes—finding a blinged-out panda in the crafting supply center nabs you anything from a mini-drone to a karaoke machine. This new series should keep you and your tweens engaged during and after stay-at-home orders are lifted, even if you never get around to starting your own papier-mâché projects.
What’s in the TV library?
As the name implies, a robust selection from the hallowed halls of the Home Box Office. (Well, “robust” by some definitions #ReleaseTheTanner88Cut) But there’s also plenty of TV to watch that aired elsewhere, including the sitcom reruns that kicked off a streaming war. If only we could solve these disputes the old-fashioned way—you know, like an elaborate trivia game based on the biographies of the contestants.
Adam Ruins Everything
Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
At Home With Amy Sedaris
The Big Bang Theory
The Boondocks (2005-14)
Conan travel specials
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
The Honourable Woman
The Office (U.K.)
The Powerpuff Girls
Pretty Little Liars
Pride And Prejudice (1995)
Rick & Morty
Space Ghost Coast To Coast
United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
From cinematic treasures hand-picked by Turner Classic Movies to today’s superhero blockbusters and the new-to-streaming masterpieces of Studio Ghibli, here are some of the movies now streaming on HBO Max.
2001: A Space Odyssey
A Hard Day’s Night
A Nightmare on Elm Street films
A Star Is Born (1937, 1954, 1976, 2018)
A Streetcar Named Desire
A Walk To Remember
Alien quadrilogy (go to the Alienpage to find Alien: The Director’s Cut)
An American In Paris
Batman & Robin
Batman Beyond: The Return Of The Joker
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Batman vs. Robin
Batman: Gotham Knight
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2
Belle De Jour
Big Top Pee-wee
Bonnie And Clyde
Boys Don’t Cry
Cool Hand Luke
Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Deep Blue Sea
Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Die Hard With A Vengeance