Friends and Veep? Warner’s new HBO Max streaming service changes HBO forever

Get ready for a whole new HBO. While WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service will be known as HBO Max, the service is more than just a new spin on the popular premium network. HBO Max will combine HBO’s slate of original series with other content from WarnerMedia’s vast library, including Friends.

According to a press release from WarnerMedia, HBO Max will be the new home for the hit ’90s sitcom in 2020, which Netflix previously paid $100 million to stream for a single year. And that’s just for starters.

HBO Max will also include the complete run of shows as disparate as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars, and will also be the only place to find all new CW series, starting with this fall’s Batwoman and the Riverdale spin-off, Kathy Keene. Movies from Warner Bros.’ sprawling catalog, including DC Comics films like Wonder Woman and Shazam, are expected to be on HBO Max as well, though we’re still awaiting full details there.

HBO Max will also have its own slate of original content, including four made-for-TV movies from Greg Berlanti, the man behind many of the CW’s current hit series, and two films from Reese Witherspoon’s production company. Other original series coming to HBO Max include Love Life, a romantic comedy from Paul Feig and Anna Kendrick, an animated Gremlins prequel (yes, seriously), and Dune: The Sisterhood, a spin-off of Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming feature film.

Naturally, all of HBO’s original series and movies will be expected on HBO Max, too, including everything from Veep to The Larry Sanders Show, as well as JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele’s Lovecraft Country and Joss Whedon’s new series, The Nevers. WarnerMedia has already changed course significantly when it comes to the company’s streaming plans, however, so nothing is set in stone.

WarnerMedia plans to launch HBO Max in spring 2020, although a specific release date hasn’t been announced. WarnerMedia did not say how much the streaming service will cost, but previous reports indicate that subscriptions will run about $17.

All in all, HBO Max marks a major shift for the HBO name. Ever since The Sopranos arrived on the scene in the late ’90s, HBO has become better known for its high-quality original dramas, comedies, and TV movies than its rotating line-up of third-party feature films. With HBO Max, HBO is returning to its roots in a way: Once again, HBO is primarily a content distribution platform, not a prestige TV brand. It’s a move AT&T execs were eager to implement shortly after the company bought WarnerMedia in an $85 billion deal, part of an effort to better compete with streaming juggernauts like Netflix.

HBO Max also has big implications for current HBO customers. If an HBO Max subscription really costs just a few bucks more than regular HBO and has that much more stuff, there’s really no reason to get HBO through your cable or live TV streaming service, assuming that you have a decent internet connection. It’s also not clear what HBO Max means for HBO Now, Warner’s stand-alone HBO streaming service, although we’d guess that Now’s days are numbered. Everything that HBO Now can do, HBO Max can do better.

Note: This story is ongoing. We’ll be updating it as it develops.

Movies & TV

HBO’s Watchmen trailer looks nothing like the comic. That’s a good thing

Police wearing masks? Terrorists dressed like Rorschach? The first trailer for HBO's Watchmen barely resembles Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' iconic graphic novel at all -- and it's all the better for it.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater, from Us to Infinity War

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Movies & TV

Apple TV+: Everything we know about Apple’s Netflix-style streaming service

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing for its streaming service Apple TV+, and now we know some details about where and when we'll be able to see it. Here's everything we know about Apple TV+ so far.
Home Theater

Step aside set-top boxes. The best streaming sticks are tiny, just as powerful

Which streaming stick reigns supreme? We pit the Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra against the Roku Premiere+, Roku Streaming Stick+, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to help you decide which one belongs in your living room.
Home Theater

Looking for the best 4K Ultra HD TVs you can buy? Here are five great options

If it's time to upgrade your old 1080p to a new 4K model but you don't know what to look for, fear not, as we're here with a list of the best 4K Ultra HD TVs to help make your buying process as easy as possible.
Product Review

Aftershokz Aeropex headphones beam sound through your skull for workout bliss

Aftershokz has made its name in audio with open-ear, bone-conduction headphones that are tailor-made for your workout. The Aeropex are its smallest, sleekest, and most convenient pair yet.
Deals

You won’t want to miss this incredible deal on a 65-inch Vizio 4K TV

You don't have to spend big to place a sizable 4K TV at the center of your home entertainment setup. Just take this 65-inch Vizio D-Series, for example. It's a versatile, feature-rich 4K television that's on sale right now for $450.
Home Theater

What’s Hulu+Live TV, you ask? Here’s everything you need to know

Hulu+Live TV is a different take on a live TV streaming service, directly integrating live TV into the Hulu app you already know and perhaps love. We've put together a guide with everything you need to know about the service.
Home Theater

Discogs’ New York City vinyl fair is a must-visit for record collectors

If you're a record collector or music fan looking for something to do in New York City this Saturday, Discogs is hosting a neat little record fair that's bound to take you back to the good old days.
Home Theater

The best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Deals

The Momentum 2.0 headphones get a 52% price cut on Amazon

Amazon shaved off $260 off the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 headphones’ original price of $500, bringing the cost down to $240. Since there are only a few units left, you should act quickly.
Home Theater

LG says AirPlay 2 hitting select 2019 smart TVs next week

Apple is done keeping its AirPlay 2 and HomeKit wireless streaming technology to itself. LG says its TVs will be getting the feature soon, joining Samsung as the second TV maker to do so.
Deals

You won’t want to miss this fantastic deal on a 55-inch LG 4K TV

Sometimes less is more. Just look at this 55-inch LG 4K TV. It's not the largest out there, nor is it the most expensive, but at the reduced price of $350, it's one of the best options for those in the market for a budget 4K TV.