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If you’re looking to sign up to watch HBO online, then you may be confused by the fact that there are three services to choose from, each one offering something slightly different.
We’ve broken down each of the services into their core functions, so you can decide which is the right one for you. You’ll only likely need one of these platforms, so you can avoid doubling up on your spending.
If you’re based in the UK, then we have a dedicated article for watching HBO in the UK - however note that the only two services you’ll be able to watch via a VPN such as NordVPN are HBO Max and HBO Now.
Want to know what other streaming service options are out there? We’ve done a comparison of the best TV streaming platforms, which includes the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus.
What is HBO Max, and is it right for me?
HBO Max is the newest streaming service from HBO, and it has the biggest library of content by far. With original shows and films, HBO classics and blockbuster series and movies from the Warner Bros catalogue, it’s easy to see why people are excited for this new platform to launch.
Whilst there is plenty on the platform already, lots of planned original content (such as live action DC shows like Justice League Dark) will take a while to come to HBO Max - maybe over a year from now.
Pricing for the service differs depending on whether or not you’re already an HBO cable subscriber - in which case you may be entitled to a free trial or discount. However, the details depend on the type of account you have.
Price: $14.99 for non HBO subscribers, less for existing subscribers (check the HBO Max website for more details).
Verdict: This is by far the most compelling option for new subscribers. If you’ve already got an HBO TV account, check your discount/trial options, and see if the new exclusives are tempting enough to invest.
What is HBO Now, and is it right for me?
Before HBO Max, HBO Now had been the standalone service for those without an HBO cable subscription. Here you’re able to watch HBO’s entire library of content, including the likes of Game of Thrones and Westworld - though all these shows are available across all three services.
However, you will miss out some of the extra Warner Bros content like Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as well as the upcoming HBO Max original exclusives that are on the way.
Interestingly the service is the same price as HBO Max, though existing subscribers are being encouraged to switch over to HBO Max free of charge (bar those who are signed up via a third-party provider, who will have to wait for more details). Over the coming months, HBO Now will be re-branded to just 'HBO'.
Price: $14.99 for non HBO subscribers
Verdict: HBO Now used to be worth a look, but now HBO Max will give you a better range of content for the same price.
What is HBO Go, and is it right for me?
HBO Go is only available to existing HBO TV subscribers, so if you’ve not got an account you can’t get this service anyway. The library of content is basically the same as what is offered in HBO Now, and doesn’t include the extra content that’s offered with HBO Max.
Like the other platforms, you cannot watch live content on here, but shows that are classed as "HBO reality series" - like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - are added to the platform within 24 hours of broadcasting.
If you plan on investing in a HBO TV subscription, or already have one, then HBO Go is completely free of charge. However, according to Deadline HBO will gradually fade this service out in the US and merge existing users into the HBO Max platform.
Price: Free for existing HBO cable subscribers, not obtainable for non-subscribers
Verdict: If you already have a HBO TV package and just want a way to watch content on your other devices or on catch-up without having to pay anything, then this is the one for you.