HBO is an on-demand and live streaming service that delivers a huge library of binge-worthy and exclusive content, from Game of Thrones to Chernobyl. If you’re into gripping dramas, thrillers, horror movies and hooking box sets, HBO might be the streaming service for you. But with three different HBO services available, how do you know which one is best? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about free trials, content and HBO GO vs. HBO’s cost. Plus, we review what to expect from the newest platform, HBO Max. For more information about two of HBO’s plans, check out our HBO GO and HBO Now comparison review.
HBO GO packages and pricing
|HBO GO||HBO Now||HBO Max|
|Monthly price||Varies by TV provider ($5-$25/mo.)||$14.99/mo.||$14.99/mo.|
|Free trial length||N/A||7 days||7 days|
|Number of titles||1,300+||1,000+||2000+|
|Number of simultaneous streams||2||3||3|
|Number of user profiles||Varies by TV provider||None||5|
When it comes to cost, HBO GO vs HBO Now’s prices look very different. HBO GO is a free app available with your existing HBO subscription through your TV provider, which means you must have cable to use this streaming service. This also means that pricing varies. Although the HBO GO app itself is free, cable providers charge different prices for HBO itself. It usually costs between $5-$25/mo., depending on your existing cable subscription package.
You can get some good deals for HBO if you shop around. Some TV providers offer HBO free for a limited time or throughout the duration of your contract with them, such as AT&T TV. With qualifying AT&T TV plans, you can get HBO free for life. Many other cable providers let you stream HBO at a discounted price for a certain period.
HBO GO lets you watch premiers as they go live. Most shows and movies are available on the app within a few minutes of airing on HBO, but if not, they’re always ready to stream within 24 hours. Don’t forget, since you’re paying for a cable subscription, you can also stream live TV alongside HBO content.
HBO Now packages and pricing
HBO Now is a standalone streaming service that you can simply purchase directly from HBO, or as an add-on through streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. But how much is HBO Now exactly?
HBO Now costs $14.99/mo. ($179.88/yr.) if you sign up through HBO directly. HBO Now also has a free trial of seven days.
If you decide to go down the other route and bundle your HBO Now subscription with Amazon Prime Video or Hulu, you can get more content and sometimes a better deal. Through Amazon Prime Video, an HBO Now subscription still costs $14.99/mo., but that’s on top of your Prime subscription cost. That means you pay $24.98/mo. ($299.76/yr.) in total for both services.
Amazon Prime Video also comes with a 30-day free trial. The free trial doesn’t extend to HBO Now (it’s still one week), but it means you save elsewhere, as you won’t start paying your Amazon Prime Video subscription until the 30 days are up.
The price of HBO Now through Hulu is still $14.99/mo., but you’ll get access to Hulu’s content by bundling your package. You can still try it out for free for seven days.
Total pricing varies, depending on which Hulu package you choose, but it’ll be between $20.99/mo. ($251.88/yr.) for the basic Hulu plan and HBO Now. The most expensive package, HBO Now and Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV will set you back $75.99/mo. ($911.76/yr.) Head to our HBO Now review for more information about everything the service has to offer.
HBO Max packages and pricing
HBO Max costs $14.99/mo. ($179.88/yr.), and you don’t need a cable subscription to sign up. While the price of HBO Max is the same as HBO Now, HBO Max gives you access to extra content from WarnerMedia, as well as everything available on HBO Now.
Even if you’re an existing HBO Now subscriber, you can still switch to HBO Max to get more titles for the same price. There’s also a one-week free trial, but you can only benefit from this if you’re a new customer. You can get HBO Max for free if you’re an AT&T TV customer, as long as you choose a qualifying plan.
Or, you could subscribe to HBO Max through a streaming service like YouTube TV for a total of $79.98/mo., and get access to tons of live sports and extra movies alongside HBO titles. With YouTube TV, you have a two-week free trial, though still only a one-week trial of HBO. Take a look at our HBO Max review for more information about the service.
HBO itself doesn’t offer any premium add-ons. You can’t upgrade your cloud DVR storage or increase the number of simultaneous streams you have access to. There’s no cloud DVR storage with HBO, although you can download movies and shows to watch offline. You also have three simultaneous streams.
What you can do, however, is sign up for HBO Now or HBO Max through another streaming service to get access to more content and upgrade your package that way.
You can pair HBO with the following streaming services. Prices shown are total bundle prices for each platform with HBO, based on an ongoing monthly subscription.
- Amazon Prime Video: $24.98/mo.
- Hulu and Hulu (No Ads): $20.98/mo.—$26.98/mo.
- Hulu + Live TV: $69.98/mo.—$75.98/mo.
- YouTube TV: $79.98/mo.
If you choose Amazon Prime Video, consider bundling HBO with Cinemax to save $2.99/mo. This means the three-in-one package costs you $21.99/mo. in total, with even more movies and shows to watch. Remember, Amazon Prime Video has a 30-day free trial, too.
HBO live TV pricing compared
|HBO GO||Hulu + Live TV||YouTube TV||Sling TV||Philo|
|Starting monthly price||$5-$25/mo.||$54.99/mo.||$64.99/mo.||$30/mo.||$20/mo.|
HBO GO is the free app you get access to when you purchase an HBO subscription through your cable provider. This means that the price you pay for HBO varies by provider.
HBO GO lets you stream live TV within a few minutes of movies and shows airing live on HBO. However, this doesn’t include any sports or news coverage. You do get live TV, but that’s because you’re paying for cable. Of course, if you sign up for HBO Max through a live TV streaming service like Hulu, you’ll get access to everything else it has to offer, including sports and news.
HBO is also missing many extra features like cloud DVR storage, and it can’t compete with Philo’s 60 channels, even with a similar price point.
HBO on-demand pricing compared
|HBO Max/NOW||Hulu||Amazon Prime Video||Netflix||Showtime||Starz|
|Starting monthly price||$14.99/mo.||$5.99/mo.||$12.99/mo.||$8.99/mo.||$10.99/mo.||$8.99/mo.|
HBO Now and HBO Max cost you more each month than many other streaming providers. By comparison, signing up for Netflix would save you $6/mo., or $72/yr.
However, HBO does offer thousands of original titles that you can’t get anywhere else, and it’s ideal for those who love a good horror or action movie. It has some way to go in terms of rom-coms and kid-friendly shows, though, which many of the competitors on this list already offer for a lower cost each month.
Sign up for an HBO free trial
If you sign up for an HBO Max or HBO Now subscription, you’ll have a one-week HBO Max or HBO Now free trial to try the service out at no cost. However, HBO GO doesn’t have a free trial because the app is free through your cable service. You’ll only access a free trial for HBO if your cable provider offers it as part of your chosen package.
One week gives you enough time to test out a few movies and shows and see if it’s the service for you. The HBO Max and HBO Now trial lengths are in keeping with many other competitors, including Hulu, Netflix and Starz. By comparison, Sling TV only gives you three days free, which isn’t long enough to get a true feel of what’s on offer.
There are other streaming providers that offer even longer free trials, though. YouTube TV offers two weeks, and Amazon Prime Video gives you a full 30 days to test out its service.
Our hot take
With three different packages to choose from, HBO can be confusing for many cord cutters. While the content is mostly the same across all three services, the way you access them is different. And the latest addition, HBO Max, brings even more titles for the same cost as HBO Now each month.
You can’t upgrade your HBO subscription to add on more services, but you can get HBO through other streaming providers instead. The best deal available at the moment is the Amazon Prime Video, Cinemax and HBO bundle for $21.99/mo. — a savings of $2.99/mo. Or, you could consider switching cable providers to AT&T TV, which offers free access to HBO with qualifying plans.
As with most streaming services, you also have the option to try HBO for free with the one-week free trial, which should be long enough for you to decide if it’s the right platform for you.