Skip to main content

HBO Max: price, films, and how to get a free trial

HBO Max: Roku, Fire TV Stick, free trial and how to watch from abroad explained
(Image credit: HBO)

The HBO Max streaming service offers a ton of top-drawer content from HBO, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, DC and more. Subscribers get unlimited access to all of that on smart TV platforms, such as Roku TV and through the likes of Amazon Fire Sticks, Apple TV 4K and Chromecast too. They can even watch from abroad.

How to watch HBO Max outside the US

HBO Max is to set launch in Europe in late 2021. Until then, there's still a way for subscribers to access streams from abroad using a Virtual Private Network. With a VPN, you can access HBO Max as if you were back home in the States. Check out HBO Max and give it a go.

Below, we'll explain how to watch HBO Max wherever you are, and on whatever device you have. Launched in May 2020, there are over 13,000 hours of premium content accessible for a current price of $14.99 per month. There's also a cheaper, ad-supported tier at $9.99 a month, but that doesn't include access to the latest movie releases.

HBO Max struck a landmark deal to stream every 2021 Warner Bros. movie – including The Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman 1984 and The Matrix 4 – on the day they're released at cinemas. It's also said to be planning to give its smart TV app a major revamp this year.  

Still not totally convinced? We'll explain more about the HBO Max subscription tiers below.

HBO Max is currently only available within the US (although it's due to launch in Europe in late 2021). Thankfully, subscribers can watch while abroad using a VPN.

HBO Max price: how much does it cost? Is there a free trial?

How to watch HBO Max in the UK

(Image credit: HBO)

Access to HBO Max costs $14.99 per month – there's no contract and you can cancel at any time.

It's a bit pricier than Netflix ($13.99 per month) and a lot pricier than Disney+ ($6.99 per month) or Hulu ($5.99 per month). Still, while HBO Max doesn't offer the same depth of content as, say, Netflix, the quality of its offering is undeniable.

To compete with cheaper streaming services, HBO has launched a $9.99 tier. The cheaper subscription is ad-supported and won't provide access to the Warner Bros. same-day theatrical releases (you have to pay $14.99 to get that perk).

HBO Max free trial: how can you get one?

Sadly, HBO Max has stopped offering a free trial. Keep an eye on for all the latest HBO Max deals. Right now, HBO is offering 16% off a 12-month HBO Max subscription. That means you can sign up to HBO Max Ad-Free for $149.99 a year (saving you $30) and HBO Max Ad-Supported for $99.99 a year (saving you $20).

Which devices support HBO Max?

How to watch HBO Max from anywhere in the world

(Image credit: HBO)

You'll find the HBO Max app on a wide range of smart TVs (Sony, Samsung and LG), games consoles, smartphones and streaming devices. These include Roku streaming devices (with OS 9.3 and above), Chromecast dongles, Amazon Fire tablets (4th gen or later), Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Fire TV Cube and Amazon Fire TV Edition Smart TVs.

Other smart TV platforms with HBO Max are Roku TV, Samsung TVs (2016 or later), Android TV (OS 5+) and the Apple TV box (4th gen or later).

It's also available on all laptop and desktop computers running Mac OSX, Windows or Chrome OS as well as Android smartphones and tablets (with Android OS 5 or later) and iOS 12.2 or later devices.

Owners of the PS4, PS5 and both Xbox One X and Xbox Series X and S are also in luck.

HBO Max on Roku and PS5

HBO Max recently announced its arrival on Roku streaming devices and PS5 consoles. 

To watch HBO Max on Roku, download the HBO Max app from the Roku Channel Store. You can subscribe directly to HBO Max through your Roku device, or if you've already subscribed to HBO through Roku, the HBO app will automatically update to become HBO Max. Then just log in using your HBO credentials and you're away.

To Watch HBO Max on PS4 and PS5, go to the PlayStation Store and search for HBO Max. Then, select HBO Max and select 'Download'. Once downloaded, open HBO Max and sign in.

HBO Max on Fire TV stick

We get a guide a lot of people asking us how to 'watch HBO Max on Firestick'. Well, it's easy. Most Amazon Fire streaming devices including Fire TV sticks, Fire tablets and Fire TV Edition smart TVs.

You'll find the HBO Max app under Apps & Games in the Fire TV app. US customers with Amazon Alexa can navigate to the HBO Max app by saying, “Alexa, find HBO Max” into their Voice Remote or a paired Echo device. 

Those who already subscribe to HBO through Amazon Channels can log into the app at no extra charge, while new subscribers will have to splash out $14.99 a month or grab a free trial.

How to watch HBO Max in the UK

How to watch HBO Max in the UK

(Image credit: HBO)

Although HBO Max is only available in the US at the moment, it's relatively simple to access the service from outside the US using a reliable VPN or "Virtual Private Network" allowing you to access the service on your laptop, smart TV, set-top box or streaming stick.

A VPN is a handy application that creates an encrypted connection between your device and the internet, meaning the information passed back and forth is entirely private. Crucially, it lets you pick an IP address server in the country whose content you'd like to access. In the case of HBO Max, you'll need a US server.

VPNs are a doddle to use and run in the background, so they won't interfere with your streaming fun. That said, some VPNs are more reliable than others. As a rule we’d suggest a paid-for service such as ExpressVPN.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days

Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee with its VPN service. You can use it to watch on your mobile, tablet, laptop, TV, games console and more. There's 24/7 customer support and three months free when you sign-up. Try it – it's easier than you think.

Do I need a US credit card?

How to watch HBO Max in the UK

(Image credit: HBO)

If you don't have a credit card issued in the US the best option is to use PayPal or subscribe on your iPhone/iPad or Android phone/tablet. 

How to sign up to HBO Max without a US credit card:

1. Launch your chosen VPN and select US as your country 

2. Create a new Apple ID/Google account remembering to pick US as your country. (Apple users can use a UK phone number but should head to the Apple ID website to sign up, rather than using an app on their device). 

3. Use your new Apple ID/Google account to access the US Apple App Store or US Google Play Store and download the HBO Max app.

4. Subscribe to HBO Max through the HBO Max app, using PayPal (this can be a UK account) as your method of payment.

5. Bingo! You should now be able to sign in to your HBO Max account from any device.  

Fun fact: you can use this method to subscribe to other US streaming services, including Hulu and Peacock TV, as well as the (cheaper) US versions of Disney+ and Netflix.

HBO Max shows and films: what can you watch?

As you'd expect, the HBO Max app offers access to the complete HBO catalogue – shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep, Westworld and South Park. 

You also get access to WarnerMedia's vast library of movies and TV shows stretching back 100 years, from Casablanca and Citizen Kane to Braveheart and the Harry Potter films.

HBO Max has even struck a deal to stream Warner Bros. entire slate of 2021 movies on day they're released in theatres. The 2021 Warner titles will be available on HBO Max for 31 days, so you can play (and pause) them from the comfort of your sofa.  Only subscribers to HBO’s standard tier ($14.99 a month) will be able to enjoy streaming same-day theatrical releases. The deals ends in 2022, so sign up now if you want to make the most of it.

Here's all the 2021 Warner movies streaming on HBO Max this year: Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad, The Matrix 4, King Richard, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, Cry Macho (starring Clint Eastwood), Tom & Jerry, The Little Things (starring Denzel Washington), Judas and the Black Messiah, The Many Saints of Newark, Mortal Kombat, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Malignant, Reminiscence and Those Who Wish Me Dead. 

Prefer Japanese anime? HBO Max is the only streaming service that provides access to content from the legendary Japanese film studio Studio Ghibli in the US. Fan of 90s sitcoms? HBO Max will also be the place to see the forthcoming (unscripted) Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel Air reunions. Looking for new episodes of Fraiser? They're due to be screened on Paramount+ in 2022. 

What audio and video formats are available?

How to watch HBO Max in the UK

(Image credit: HBO Max / WarnerMedia)

The majority of HBO Max content is presented in HD but the service recently started offering 4K HDR titles with Dolby Atmos audio at no extra cost.

Wonder Woman 1984 became the first film to stream in 4K HDR (Ultra HD) on HBO Max when it premiered on the service alongside the theatrical release on 25th December 2020.

HBO has promised more 4K HDR releases in 2021, namely all the Warner Bros. 'same day' movie premieres.

How to watch HBO Max in 4K HDR 

To enjoy HBO Max content in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos sound, you'll need:

1. 4K TV with support for HDR (Dolby Vision or HDR10).

2. Supported 4K HDR streaming device (Amazon Fire TV stick 4K and Fire TV Cube, Android TVs, Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast Ultra/with Google TV, Roku Ultra 4800x, Roku 4k TVs, Roku Premiere, and Roku Streaming Stick+).

3. Dolby Atmos-capable soundbar or sound system.

4. Decent broadband connection – over 25Mbps ideally.

Set-up sorted? HBO Max should automatically play the likes of Wonder Woman 1984 in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos sound. The service will adjust the video quality based on your connection speed (you can't manually adjust the resolution in HBO Max).


Make the most of HBO Max with these 4K TV deals

Best streaming services for TV and movies compared and rated  

Football fan? How to get a Premier League 2020/21 live stream

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test