The latter focused primarily on factual content while the former largely specialised in showcasing the award-winning dramas, comedy and fiction shows that made HBO such a respected name in television.
Together under the MAX banner, this new service acts as a cheaper option for viewers and is available to download in the United States from today (Tuesday, 23 May).
Read more: All the HBO Max announcements
Launching with a shiny new logo and sleek and simple name, MAX also came with a host of exciting new shows that are each due to launch on the platform in the coming months and years. From a small-screen serialised take on JK Rowling’s Harry Potter anthology to the return of Colin Farrell’s Gotham crime kingpin The Penguin, this new, amalgamated streaming service certainly looks like it’ll be top of this download list for any app-loving, pop-culture fanatic.
So far so good — but will it even be available to those of us in the UK and is HBO Max available to us in the meantime?
What shows are coming to HBO Max?
Put simply, MAX has set the scene for a pretty stacked slate of upcoming shows and projects.
Perhaps the one that has grabbed the most attention is its planned television series reboot of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise, complete with a whole new cast and an entire series dedicated to each academic year of Potter’s time at Hogwarts.
Other big announcements included a new Big Bang Theory spin-off and another Game of Thrones prequel series called A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight.
Rounding out the roster are shows like the new True Detective: North Country starring Jodie Foster, animated prequel series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Stephen Frears political drama The Regime starring Kate Winslet, The Batman spin-off The Penguin, Park Chan-Wook’s The Sympathizer starring multiple Robert Downey Jr performances and many other compelling titles.
Read more: Harry Potter TV series is already controversial (The Hollywood Reporter, 4 min read)
Each will be rolled out onto MAX in the coming months after the streamer debuts in late May. For a full round-up of everything coming to the streamer, head here.
Can I get HBO Max in the UK?
As it stands, HBO Max is not currently available to viewers in the UK. However, much of the content featured on HBO Max can be viewed on other streaming services that are available to UK audiences such as Sky and the NOW streaming app.
This is due to an exclusive relationship between Sky and HBO that typically means that HBO shows appear on Sky channels — usually Sky Atlantic — before they arrive anywhere else.
During a panel discussion at 2022’s Edinburgh TV Festival, Jamie Morris, Sky’s Director of Programs for the UK and Ireland explained that this relationship is expected to continue “one way or the other” into the future regardless of Discovery’s MAX launch plans.
In March 2022, Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed the rollout of HBO Max to 15 European territories including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
A further six territories were given access to HBO Max later that year, making it available in a total of 67 territories worldwide.
When can I get Max streaming service in the UK?
At the moment, Max is only available to customers living in the United States.
While there are many rumours about when the service could become available to viewers in the United Kingdom — with some outlets suggesting we might have to wait until at least 2025 — no official across-the-pond launch date has been revealed thus far.
As per Deadline, one possible solution could be that the platform's content will continue to find a home on Sky, with the company's Director of Programmes for UK and Ireland stating that "“Our relationship with HBO continues to go from strength to strength. They’ve had a great year – the HBO slate is great and they’re creative co-production partners with us.
“One way or the other that relationship will continue, in what shape we will wait and see.”
Watch: Harry Potter TV series announced