Right now there are three HBO streaming services, all with three-letter titles: HBO Max, HBO Go, and HBO Now. It’s kind of a mess. But it will soon be less messy, according to a report from CNET: HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia is planning on trimming those down to just two.
For the sake of brevity, here’s how things stand today:
- HBO Go, free with HBO on cable: The web component of HBO, the premium cable package. People who subscribe to HBO through their cable or satellite provider can log into HBO Go to watch HBO.
- HBO Now, $15 a month: HBO’s “cordcutter” option that lets people pay for HBO without any cable. Has the same content as HBO Go.
- HBO Max, $15 a month: The new streaming service that includes all of the content of HBO, plus exclusive movies and TV shows from the WarnerMedia library. This competes directly with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
WarnerMedia says that on July 31st, the HBO Now app will be rebranded as simply “HBO,” and HBO Go will end service. The new HBO app will continue to have all the content of the premium cable channel, while HBO Max will continue to be the combined premium digital service with extra WarnerMedia content.
This cuts down on the number of apps but not really on the confusion. Because HBO Now (soon to be simply HBO) the cordcutting service is $15 a month, and HBO Max, which includes all of HBO Now plus a bunch of extra movies and shows, is … also $15 a month. Additionally, customers who only subscribe to HBO through their cable provider won’t log into the app known simply as “HBO,” they’ll log into HBO Max because, according to the current HBO Max promotional materials, they have access to that extra WarnerMedia content (which isn’t available on their actual cable service).
So, starting in August, the app lineup will be as follows:
- HBO, $15 a month: HBO’s “cordcutter” option that lets people pay for HBO without cable.
- HBO Max, $15 a month: The new streaming service that includes all of the content of HBO, plus exclusive movies and TV shows from the WarnerMedia library. HBO cable and satellite subscribers log into this app.
Throwing another wrinkle into all of this is the fact that the HBO Max app isn’t available on Roku or Amazon Fire TV, which together represent a sizable chunk of set-top streaming gadgets and smart TVs. HBO Go and Now are available on those platforms. Who knows what’ll happen with the new HBO (not Go, Now, or Max) app.