The next big streaming service is here as HBO Max has officially launched. This is WarnerMedia's major direct-to-consumer offering that is meant to compete with Netflix. The service includes more than 10,000 hours of content, including the Harry Potter movies, DC adaptations galore, Friends and original programming, amongst many other things. But the company also still has HBO Go and HBO Now available, which has led to some confusion. Make no mistake, the services are quite different and subscribers will want to get the most for their money.

Starting with HBO Go, this is quite simple. The service comes as a streaming option for those who get HBO through a TV producer, such as a cable or satellite company. Typically speaking, this will add between $5 and $20 per month to one's package. HBO Go, itself, doesn't cost anything for subscribers. But it is only available to those who are already subscribed. It provides access to all of HBO's content, such as original shows and movies, as well as the movies currently in rotation. Users can simply download the app and are given access by verifying their TV provider.

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HBO Now is virtually identical to HBO Go. It offers the exact same content, everything that is on HBO, and also has an app available to download on a variety of devices. The key difference here is that this is a standalone streaming service. It costs $14.99 per month. Users do not have to be subscribed to HBO through a traditional TV provider to use it. Simply sign up, pay the monthly fee and stream away. That said, those who are currently subscribed to HBO Now, or those who are thinking of signing up, should strongly consider HBO Max because, from a financial standpoint, there is no reason not to.

HBO MAX, much like HBO Now, is also a standalone streaming service. However, in addition to offering everything that HBO has, the service includes a massive library of movies and TV shows, with plenty of original programming coming down the pipeline as well. HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming home for shows like Friends, South Park, The Big Bang Theory and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Movies such as Gone With the Wind, Alien, Joker and the Harry Potter franchise are available. Originals will include a Gossip Girl reboot, Anna Kendrick's Love Life and The Not Too Late Show With Elmo. It will also be home to Zack Snyder's Justice League next year.

The important thing for potential subscribers to note is that HBO Max also costs $14.99 per month. It is the exact same price as HBO Now, but contains thousands of hours of additional content. Luckily, many HBO subscribers will have the option to upgrade at no additional charge. Certain AT&T customers will also have the option to get the service as a free ad-on. For those not currently subscribed, the service is offering a seven-day free trial. Those interested in signing up can head on over to HBOMax.com.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott