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.

At launch, HBO Max was offering a free seven-day trial, though that's mostly dried up now. But as it launches in more countries, there's always the chance that you could be eligible for a free trial.

You can also watch HBO Max from abroad – handy now that travelling is a more realistic proposition with covid restrictions easing.

How to watch HBO Max outside the US

HBO Max launched in Europe in late 2021. Can't get it where you are? Subscribers can access streams from abroad using a Virtual Private Network. With a VPN (opens in new tab), you can access HBO Max as if you were in the States. Check out HBO Max (opens in new tab) 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.

Last year, HBO Max struck a landmark deal to stream every 2021 Warner Bros. movie – including The Suicide Squad and The Matrix Resurrections – on the day they're released at cinemas. It also gave its smart TV app a major revamp last year.  

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

HBO Max is currently available in the US and select European countries – in October 2021 it came to Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra, and on 8th March 2022 it will land in 15 more European countries (though still not the UK). Thankfully, subscribers can watch while abroad using a VPN (opens in new tab).

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 (opens in new tab) per month – there's no contract and you can cancel at any time.

It's slightly cheaper than Netflix ($15.49 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 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 hbomax.com (opens in new tab) for all the latest HBO Max deals. Previously, HBO has offered 20% off HBO Max subscriptions (opens in new tab), cutting the price of the ad-free tier from $14.99 to $11.99 a month, and the ad-supported plan from $9.99 to $7.99 a month. So there are deals to be had, you just might have to wait.

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 (including those from 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 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.

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 and six European countries at the moment, it's relatively simple to access the service from outside the US using a reliable VPN (opens in new tab) or "Virtual Private Network". This lets you 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 (opens in new tab).

Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days (opens in new tab)

Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days (opens in new tab)
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 (opens in new tab) and select US as your country 

2. Create a new Apple ID (opens in new tab)/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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) or US Google Play Store and download the HBO Max app.

4. Subscribe to HBO Max through the HBO Max app, using PayPal (opens in new tab) (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 (opens in new tab) from any device.  

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

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.

More recent fare includes The Matrix Resurrections, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, and Ron's Gone Wrong.

Last year, HBO Max struck a deal to stream Warner Bros. entire slate of 2021 movies on the day they're released in theatres. The 2021 Warner titles were available on HBO Max for 31 days, so you could play (and pause) them from the comfort of your sofa. Only subscribers to HBO’s standard tier ($14.99 a month) could enjoy streaming same-day theatrical releases. That deal has now ended – now Warner films debut in cinemas before coming to HBO Max 45 days later – but keep an eye out for similar perks in future.

The full list of films covered by that deal was as follows: Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad, The Matrix Resurrections, 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 is also the place to see the 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.

All the Warner Bros. 'same day' movie premieres also debuted in 4K HDR.

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).

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