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HBO Max and Discovery Plus to become Max, confusing almost everybody
The two streaming platforms will merge on May 23 to rival Netflix and Disney
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Warner Bros. Discovery Universe
🤝 HBO Max and Discovery Plus into one streaming service
🟪 Max will be the new name of the combined services
🗓️ May 23, 2023 launch date will bring about an improved interface
💰 Monthly plans: $10 w/ ads, $16 HD ad-free, $20 4K ad-free
🤼 It’s Warner Bros. Discovery’s way to rival Netflix & Disney
🥕 Bugs Bunny meets Superman/Batman meets 90 Day Fiance in one app
Just when you stopped missing HBO Go and adapted to HBO Max, Waner Bros. Discovery is going to take it away and give you another new platform that doesn’t even include the iconic Home Box Office name anymore.
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It’ll be just “Max” and starting May 23, 2023, it’ll represent the merger of mega-platforms, HBO Max and Discovery Plus. From that point forward, shows like Game of Thrones, Succession, The White Lotus and The Last of Us TV show will appear in the same app as 90 Day Fiance, Million Dollar Wheels and Fixer Upper.
In two months, some of the hardest-hitting TV dramas ever created like The Wire and The Sopranos will appear alongside some of the whackiest reality shows around like 1000lb Sisters and Naked and Afraid. Max represents an odd pairing, to say the least. But what do you expect from the company that owns Looney Tunes, which will also be a part of the platform, according to this Max FAQ.
It’s more than the boring name of Max and the mismatched content being under one umbrella that’s unsettling. The Max price structure is also not sitting well with some rightfully confused subscribers of the two platforms that remain siloed until May 23.
Here’s the forthcoming Max price and plan breakdown:
$9.99/mo for Ad-Lite Plan with HD quality and 2 concurrent streams
$15.99/mo for Ad-Free Plan with HD quality, 2 concurrent streams and 30 downloads at once
$19.99/mo for the Ultimate Plan with 4K quality and HDR with Dolby Atmos, 4 concurrent streams and 100 downloads at once
Confusion to the ‘Max’
The big complaint I see from Twitter is that, currently, HBO Max maxes out at $15.99 ad-free and that includes 4K content at that price. So you’ll be paying $4 more per month ($48 per year) for the higher resolution and maybe Discovery Plus content you probably never wanted in the first place.
Social media accounts belonging to AT&T and cable providers have also been flooded with questions and they don’t seem to have definite answers beyond “For now, nothing is changing” and “You don't need to do anything at this time.” Most of the unsureness that I see is because up until last year, some AT&T Wireless plans on the highest Unlimited tier included a free HBO Max subscription and grandfathered-in users are wondering if they’ll have access to Max and if so what tier.
Good news for cable and satellite subscribers who already pay for HBO: a Max subscription will be included by seven cable providers (Verizon FiOS, Xfininty, Optimus, etc), two satellite providers (Dish and DirecTV) and Hulu. No one on the Internet can figure out which tier you’ll get, though.
The big fix
Warner Bros. Discovery is trying to ease people into this Max platform transition by automatically migrating HBO Max users over, letting them have six months of the benefits of their old plan while on Max, and keeping Discovery Plus in case users of the mostly-reality-based platform don’t want to switch.
Executives are also promising more 4K content on Max to convince users to spend that extra $4 per month once the six-month grace period is over. Of course, tech companies may have them beat with new televisions for 2023 that promise upscaling using AI that will make up the difference between HD and 4K and even 8K, as we’ve seen in our Samsung QN95C review. Asking for a friend: if you’re tempted to spend $3,000 on a 4K TV, it saving you $4 a month makes it all worth it, right?
They may actually pull this off
Warner Bros. Discovery is an odd mix of content, but that may be what the company needs to take on the diverse content pumped out by Netflix and Disney every year. Like Paramount with Paramount Plus, Warner has a stable of content from the last 100 years that may surprise everyone and Discovery includes TV brands that you may have forgotten about (and they don’t promote nearly enough).
The Warner Bros. catalog includes the DC Universe, Friends, HBO, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, the Turner Library and Looney Tunes. Discovery’s roster includes HGTV, the Food Network, TLC, Travel Channel, Investigation Discovery, Magnolia Network, Discovery, A&E, CNN, the Science Channel, Lifetime and the History Channel.
That means Batman, Superman and Bugs Bunny are along for the ride – and you should expect HBO Originals to be ramped up as any Disney rival would do. Like Nintendo’s suddenly popular Super Mario Bros. Movie that is suddenly breaking box office records and spawning a sequel, Bugs Bunny seems to have untapped potential locked away in the historic Warner Bros water tower vault.
Max may have what it takes to pull off a rival to Netflix and Disney, despite its name and press conference that left us with plenty of questions.