HBO and HBO Max: are they the same? Differences and similarities of services (2024)

La transition from HBO to HBO Max It caught many Spanish users clueless at the end of 2021, who did not fully understand the change. Was it a new service? A rebranding? Would HBO disappear? There were quite a few unknowns that flooded the network. However, the move from HBO to HBO Max has much more science than meets the eye, so today we will review and clarify a bit what has happened to this popular platform. streaming of content and what diferencia or between these two services.

Table of Contents

  • 1 The origins of HBO and HBO Max
    • 1.1 HBO GO: the germ of HBO Max
    • 1.2 HBO NOW
    • 1.3 HBO Spain
  • 2 HBO Max: WarnerMedia opens up to global business
    • 2.1 So… what is HBO Max?
    • 2.2 Why is there so much confusion?
  • 3 What other differences are there between HBO and HBO Max?
    • 3.1 Has the implementation of HBO Max in Spain already finished?
  • 4 HBO Max: a project that could disappear in a matter of months

The origins of HBO and HBO Max

HBO stands for 'Home Box Office', that is, 'Box office at home'. The company began its adventures in the world of entertainment in the year 1965 in the United States, being the first television channel to be broadcast by satellite, instead of the terrestrial broadcast of the rest of the channels of its time. In 1986, HBO also made another historic milestone, becoming the first network to encrypt its broadcast to prevent piracy.

The company grew, reaching multiple countries and offering clients from all over the world with alternative channels. HBO channels were sometimes included in cable television packages, where HBO International licensed his services. This formula worked successfully for HBO for several decades, until the entertainment business changed course a few years ago.

HBO GO: the germ of HBO Max

HBO and HBO Max: are they the same? Differences and similarities of services (1)

Times have changed. In the year 2010, the rise of mobile devices led HBO to evolve the television format that had exploited up to that moment. he was born like this HBO GO, which was the company's video-on-demand service. Among the products included were productions from 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.

HBO GO allowed HBO subscribers to access via TV providers to your à la carte programming. It could be done from the HBO website, mobile apps and digital media players, among other devices. The service began to disappear in the United States in 2020 after the launch of HBO Max.


It was identical to HBO GO, only GO was for those with HBO on their TV. NOW was for those new subscribers who did not want to have the television channel. This user profile preferred to consume the content directly on a mobile, tablet or computer.

However, these services they never came to our country. In her place, she would HBO Spain, a radically different product, and quite controversial.

HBO Spain

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HBO Spain It came to Vodafone in 2016. Users of this company could purchase an entertainment pack in which this service was integrated. The rest could enjoy a one-month trial before subscribing. It was on this platform that the Game of Thrones episodes were released, for example.

However, HBO Spain was a Independent service from HBO's original parent in the United States. Our HBO is rooted in HBO Europe, specifically, in the HBO Nordic division. Without going into too much detail, the origins of this HBO affiliate come from the Time Warner stage, which had several media outlets in several northern European countries decades ago. This would justify the certain independence of the company with respect to the global brand. During this period, HBO Spain —and many of the European versions— were criticized for offering a service that was far from the quality that other platforms such as Netflix were providing. Streaming quality was never HBO's strong point, and they even neglected such important details as subtitles. In essence. HBO Spain was a very different product from the HBO that was available in other countries. on the 26th of October 2021, HBO Spain was replaced by HBO Max. The details of this transition will be explained later.

HBO Max: WarnerMedia opens up to global business

HBO and HBO Max: are they the same? Differences and similarities of services (3)

Before you understand what HBO Max is, you need to understand the business hype around HBO. HBO is owned by WarnerMedia, which in turn forms part of the AT&T conglomerate. Back in 2018, WarnerMedia had plans to release a OTT streaming service that encompasses all its entertainment brands. After a business restructuring, in 2019, with Netflix increasingly taking more land from the scattered HBO services around the world, the group announced that the official platform of streaming by WarnerMedia it would be called HBO Max.

This is where the Confusion. WarnerMedia could have called their service 'Warner+', and removed the word HBO from the equation. However, he named the service 'HBO Max' to indicate that the service would be "like HBO, but with a lot more content." In this case, one of WarnerMedia's first moves was to remove its most famous series and movies from Netflix, with the aim of bringing them to its own ground. In mid-2020, HBO Max premiered in the United States. Meanwhile, the countries of Europe continued to depend on the services of HBO Europe.

So… what is HBO Max?

HBO and HBO Max: are they the same? Differences and similarities of services (4)

HBO Max is the WarnerMedia entertainment platform, owned by AT&T. After the launch and testing in the United States, Warner's streaming service took its step to become a global business. The idea was to end all HBO divisions to offer a solid, competitive, hom*ogeneous product in all countries of the world and with content not only from HBO, but from all WarnerMedia productions (what we used to know as Time Warner).

Thanks to this change, HBO Max has (or may have) in its CATALOG entertainment products of all these brands:

  • HBO
  • Cinemax
  • DC Entertainment
  • cartoon network
  • Adult Swim
  • boomerangv
  • TCM

In addition, WarnerMedia also controls the CNN Worldwide brands and other Turner Broadcasting System brands, which will not necessarily be represented on HBO Max.

Why is there so much confusion?

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Precisely because of the way in which the change from one brand to another was announced. Many people simply thought that HBO Max was about a change in the HBO brand. What is known as a rebranding. A marketing strategy to modernize the brand and attract a new audience.

However, not really. HBO Max is not 'HBO with more stuff'. HBO Max is to Warner what Disney+ is to The Walt Disney Company. The 'HBO' brand is still a legacy of the first foray of one of the first brands of the WarnerMedia group into the streaming market. The brand has been reused, but the resulting product is radically different.

Still, there are statements that can make us quite doubtful on this issue even if we are clear about the differences between HBO and HBO Max. For example, would the headline 'Peacemaker Is it the best premiere in the history of HBO Max'? Well, considering that the platform is barely two years old, it wouldn't be entirely wrong. But in that case, it is clear that the headline will attract angry hordes of supporters of Game of Thrones, since it completely ignores all the past of HBOwhich, one way or another, is integrated into HBO Max.

What other differences are there between HBO and HBO Max?

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In addition to all the differences that we have mentioned in the previous paragraphs, HBO Max has in its catalog some bonus content which are also worth mentioning:

  • Premieres: Warner's productions will arrive on HBO Max 45 days after the theatrical releases. However, this promise has been changing as time has passed. After the merger with Discovery —you can read more information about it in the last section of this post—, HBO Max is not complying with this point, so the 45-day rule should not be taken literally.
  • 4K resolution: Although an exact date has not been given, WarnerMedia promises to increase the quality of its image and sound. Ultra HD content will begin with theatrical releases.
  • Devices: HBO allowed 2 simultaneous screens. HBO Max allows 3. Also, HBO only allowed you to create 5 profiles in total. HBO Max has no user limits. Profiles can be customized with colors and all kinds of parental controls can be applied.
  • MaxOriginals: are the original productions that the Warner Media group is going to create exclusively for the new HBO Max platform.

Has the implementation of HBO Max in Spain already finished?

Not really. still remain loopholes of HBO Nordic in the service that we Spaniards enjoy. Warner Bros Media's content has not taken long to reach Europe, but part of the content distribution is still tied to HBO's European division. Even so, it is logical that the brand requires a few months or a few years of adaptation after the change, since it has gone from having several independent companies in different markets to forming a single international service, with the pros and cons that this entails.

HBO Max: a project that could disappear in a matter of months

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If all the soap opera that we have told you in this post already seemed impressive to you, hold on to the chair, because it is rumored that the platform could experience a new structure in the coming months. HBO Max has not finished being implemented in Spain and other countries, and it is possible that the process will never be completed. In early August 2022, WarnerMedia announced that HBO Max will probably disappear in the summer of 2023.

All this is due to a new merger of their catalogs. The American company wants to minimize costs and combine HBO Max and Discovery+ in a single service. The details of this merger have not yet been finalized, but the CEO and other company managers have assured that, above the HBO Max brand, quality and comfort for the user is sought.

The new platform, as yet unnamed, will also be a unique and global brand. As happened with HBO Max, it will be tested first in the United States, and It is expected to arrive in Europe in the middle of the year 2024. The ultimate goal of this movement is to surpass Netflix, a goal that today seems distant, since the Los Gatos company has almost more than twice as many subscribers as HBO Max and Discovery + combined. Let's hope that this movement ends up being positive for the platform's subscribers.

HBO and HBO Max: are they the same? Differences and similarities of services (2024)
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