HBO's Max streaming service is coming to Europe, but there's a catch if you live in the UK

Max launch event, replacing HBO Max
(Image credit: Warner Bros Discovery)

Warner Bros Discovery has announced that its popular streaming service Max (formerly HBO Max) is coming to select European countries starting in May. The service will be available in three tiers in the Nordics, Iberia (Spain and Portugal), as well as Central and Eastern Europe. It will launch at a later unspecified date in France, Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands. 

Starting on the 21st of May, viewers in the aforementioned territories will be able to select one of three subscription options to access a range of TV shows, movies and live sports – including the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Each tier will include the following features:

  • Basic with Ads: The cheapest of the four options, this tier will stream in Full HD on up to two devices at once and include advertising breaks in content. It will be available in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Romania, France, Belgium and the Netherlands first.
  • Standard: This plan will stream without ads in Full HD on up to two concurrent devices, with the ability to download up to 30 titles for offline watching. 
  • Premium: This tier streams in up to 4K resolution with Dolby Atmos on up to four devices at once. It will also allow for up to 100 downloads to watch offline.
  • Sports Add-on: This is an optional extra that can be paired with any of the above tiers. It will feature sports events including the tennis Grand Slam, 24 Hours of Le Mans Motorsports and cycling Grand Tour. You will be able to stream on up to two devices at a time. 

Much like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, HBO has decided to lock 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos behind a paywall, allowing users to access them only on the more expensive subscription tiers.  

And there is, you will notice, no UK on that list of European territories. HBO has an exclusivity contract with Sky here in Britain, which is why you will see the likes of House of the Dragon, The Last of Us, True Detective and Succession stream almost exclusively on Sky or Now if you live in the UK. That deal is set to continue through to 2026, after which Warner Bros Discovery may explore bringing its service direct to the United Kingdom (according to Cord Busters). That, though, is still to be confirmed.

There is always the VPN route, of course, but many consumers will prefer the ease of just logging on to an app that runs natively in their home country. To which end, UK users may want to look into Now or Sky Stream if they wish to stream HBO content before 2026.


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

Check out our picks for the best media streamers

Read our full Sky Stream review

Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.