How to Stream HBO Max

5 min read

When it comes to streaming in 2020, you have plenty of choices! One of the newest is HBO Max, a service that bundles HBO content, original HBO Max shows content specifically for the platform, and shows from the Warner Bros. archive.

The HBO Max streaming service is impressive, but like all streaming media, it requires a great connection or some workarounds for offline viewing. We’ll show you how to get the most out of your HBO Max streaming experience – and how to save shows for offline viewing later on!

What is HBO Max

HBO Max is a very purple (seriously, HBO chose to use purple as its primary color, and it’s kind of nauseating) platform for watching HBO content as well as shows from Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, CNN, New Line Cinema, The CW, Crunchyroll, and Adult Swim.

Its popularity stems from HBO leading the pack when it comes to original content. Over the past few years, no other network has done quite what HBO has with shows like Game of Thrones or Westworld. Netflix and Hulu have their moments, but HBO is still the class leader for original content.

It also has a ton of content from Warner Bros., adding to its lineup with older blockbuster shows like Friends, Rick and Morty, Big Bang Theory, and Adventure Time. Because it’s Warner Bros., you also have the entire Looney Tunes catalog available to you, which is sort of worth it on its own!

The HBO Max release date was May 27, 2020, the natural culmination of the Time Warner acquisition by AT&T. After purchasing Time Warner, AT&T quickly announced plans to create a subscription streaming service for its now-vast library of content. A New York Times investigation found AT&T executives believed HBO would be ‘beaten’ by Netflix without a streaming service and more original content. 

HBO tried HBO Go first, an app that surfaced HBO content for a limited time, which was free to use if you were an HBO subscriber. Then came HBO Now, a precursor for HBO Max which had on-demand content from HBO. With Max, HBO is now an umbrella brand for all of Warner Media’s offerings. 

HBO Max brand

How Much Does HBO Max Cost

After a seven-day trial, the HBO Max price is $14.99 per month.

For those who were already subscribing to HBO Now, the switch to HBO Max was automatic. One day, the app was just purple, and you had more content! 

If you haven’t signed up yet, doing so is easy. All you have to do is create a username and password on HBO Max’s subscription page and submit payment information. It’s literally the exact same process as any other service. 

HBO Max subscription

What Devices Can You Watch HBO Max On

HBO Max works on the following devices:

  • Android phones and tablets (with Android OS 5+)
  • Android TV (OS 5+)
  • Apple TV (4th gen and later)
  • Chromebooks
  • Chromecast
  • iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (with iOS 12.2+)
  • PC and Mac computers
  • PlayStation 4
  • Samsung TV (2016+)
  • Xbox One

Naturally, HBO Max is also available on the web via any browser. As you can see from the list, HBO Max is also available in the App Store for use on any modern iOS or iPad iOS device. 

HBO Max show selection

What Can You Watch on HBO Max

Like any other streaming service, HBO has content you just won’t find anywhere else. It’s also worth considering ownership of content when it comes to HBO Max; you can watch shows like Adventure Time on other services like Hulu, but there could come a time when Warner Media pulls that content from other services. If you’re really into a show owned by Warner Media, HBO Max is likely worth your investment.

Shows like Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Sopranos, and other popular HBO shows are expected. But HBO Max has originals like Craftopia, On the Record, Love Life, and Legendary. Warner Media content such as Rick and Morty, Pretty Little Liars, Friends, and the full Harry Potter series are available as well. HBO Max also has HBO’s deep catalog of current and classic movies to choose from. 

HBO Max video screen

How to Use HBO Max Streaming Service

HBO Max is a great streaming service made better with great original content. Its originals will never be found elsewhere – so if you’re interested in an HBO show, you’ll need HBO Max.

Anyone who has ever experienced buffering or stalled streaming media can attest: it’s annoying, and can really ruin the experience. This is why we suggest an app like WiFi Explorer!

Chances are poor streaming quality is a result of shoddy WiFi. Though we like to blame the service we’re watching, it’s more often our fault! WiFi Explorer helps you monitor your home’s WiFi signals so you know you’re getting the best signal for streaming. It monitors signal strength, but also has a really handy signal-to-noise ratio view that tells you why a strong signal may not be as performant as you’d like.

You may also be a Mac-centric user (at Setapp, we definitely are!) who would rather watch HBO Max shows on the big screen. That brings its own headaches: you may find a show on the HBO Max website on your Mac, but watching it on a TV means you have to open the app there and search all over again. Annoying!

JustStream helps you avoid that workflow issue. It lives in your Mac’s menu bar, and lets you cast any video file type on your Mac to a smart TV or streaming media dongle like Chromecast or Apple TV. It’s the catch-all solution for streaming content from your Mac to a smart TV. 

HBO Max JustStream app

Can You Watch HBO Max Shows Offline

Yes, you can – with a lot of catches.

HBO Max allows you to download shows within its app, but limits that to 30 downloads per account (and all user profiles) at a time. Only five copies of a show or movie can be downloaded across devices. Downloads expire after 30 days, and/or 48 hours after you start watching a movie or show.

Reading between HBO’s lines, this actually means you are saving shows for offline viewing, not downloading them. A true download means you have your own file of the show. HBO’s option is great if you just want to save a movie to watch on a trip or something, but its limitations are annoying. You can only download 30 movies or shows, which would make it really difficult to download an entire series for a long trip.

If HBO’s options are just not good enough for you, try Capto. It’s a really handy screen recording app that lets you capture an entire screen or any window within a screen. It saves audio and video, too, which makes it great for recording full shows.

Capto records at up to 60 frames per second, which means you can get high-quality HBO Max shows saved to your Mac with ease. 

HBO Max recording app


HBO Max is awesome for straight-up streaming. If all you want to do is open an app and watch shows, it’s great.

When you need or want to go beyond the simple act of streaming, you’ll need apps that can help you get there. We like the trio of WiFi Explorer, Capto, and JustStream to enhance your HBO Max experience. WiFi Explorer keeps a watch on your WiFi streaming quality, Capto helps you record shows in high-definition, and JustStream lets you cast them to any smart device. For the Mac-centric streamer, they’re must-have apps!

And they’re all free as part of a seven day trial of Setapp, the world’s best suite of productivity apps for your Mac. With Setapp, you’ll get immediate and unlimited access to dozens of amazing apps spanning a multitude of use cases. 

Best of all, when the trial period ends, continuing your unlimited access to Setapp is only $9.99 per month. You can get an immediate 10 percent discount by paying for a 12-month license upfront, reducing your cost to $8.99 per month. Families with multiple Macs will love Setapp’s $19.99 per month plan, which grants unlimited and immediate access to its full suite of apps on up to four unique Macs. 

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