The Key Differences Between HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max

Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

With HBO Max finally here, HBO now has a total of three streaming options. What's the difference between HBO Now, Go, and Max? On the surface, all three of HBO's options look pretty similar — and, to be honest, two of them are nearly identical aside from the means of access. Here's a complete breakdown of HBO's streaming services so you can figure out which one is right for you.


HBO Now is HBO's first entry into individual streaming platforms. It essentially works like an HBO cable subscription, with full access to HBO programming past and present. That includes past shows like Game of Thrones, top-tier miniseries like Chernobyl, and current shows such as Succession. Also available for streaming are a wide variety of movies, including recent releases, that HBO has the streaming rights for. Much like Netflix, these movies (basically, any content that wasn't produced in-house at HBO) come and go as their streaming rights are picked up and expire. HBO Now is available to anyone for a $15-per-month subscription fee.


Similar to HBO Now, HBO Go is a streaming platform for existing HBO content. The major difference is that HBO Go is not a standalone streaming service. Instead, it's basically an add-on service for anyone who already has a traditional HBO subscription through cable or Amazon Prime. HBO Go has access to the same library of HBO originals and licensed movies that HBO Now has, just through a different service. HBO Go is free, but it has to be accompanied by an HBO subscription, which typically costs between $10 and $18 per month, depending on your provider.


HBO Max is the newest entrant into HBO's media empire, and it's the one that was set up to legitimately compete in the streaming wars. The new platform, which debuted on May 27 for a $15 monthly price, includes all the HBO originals that you can get on the network's other services. If you're an AT&T customer, the cellular network is also giving away free one-year subscriptions to HBO Max to 10 million of its users. But how is HBO's new streaming service setting itself apart? In short, with more exclusive content. HBO Max has exclusive original content, as well as licensed programming that won't be available on any other HBO platform, including all the seasons of The Big Bang Theory, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Doctor Who. Back in February, it also announced a new film division that will aim to make eight to ten smaller budgeted films a year.