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 launching on 27 May 2020, and it will have 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 will be plenty on the platform on the launch date, lots of slated original content (such as the 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 will differ depending on if you’re already an HBO cable subscriber - in which case you may be entitled to a free trial or discount. However, the details of this depend on the type of account you have. In addition, customers who sign up before the launch date will get $3 off the subscription, getting an account for $11.99 per month for one year.
Price: $14.99 for non HBO subscribers, less for existing subscribers (check the HBO Max website for more details).
Verdict: If you’re happy to wait until 27 May 2020, then this is by far the most compelling option for new subscribers. If you’ve already got a 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 has been the standalone service replacement for those without a HBO cable subscription. Here you’ll be 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 once it launches (bar those who are signed up via a third-party provider, who will have to wait for more details). We imagine that HBO will gradually fade this service out and merge existing users into the HBO Max platform.
Price: $14.99 for non HBO subscribers
Verdict: If you’re a non HBO cable subscriber and desperately need HBO before 27 May 2020, then signing up for this is your best bet. Otherwise, HBO Max will give you a better range of content for the 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 a "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, then HBO Go is completely free of charge.
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.