HBO Max vs Netflix: Which streaming service is best for you?

HBO Max vs Netflix
(Image credit: HBO Max; Netflix)

With HBO Max now live, you may be weighing the differences between HBO Max vs Netflix. The streaming service landscape is getting very crowded now and subscribing to all of them isn't possible for everybody. 

HBO Max is the new platform from WarnerMedia that aggregates content from that company's iconic brands, including HBO, DC and Warner Bros. film and television. Netflix, of course, is a pioneer in the streaming space. It's built a huge library of licensed TV shows and movies as well as buzzy originals like Stranger Things, Ozark, The Crown and BoJack Horseman.

HBO Max's launch could mean it's time to make some hard decisions, so our HBO Max vs Netflix face-off will explain why you should subscribe to one or the other (or both). Check out our HBO Max review for more hands-on experience with the service.

HBO Max vs Netflix: At a glance

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 HBO MaxNetflix
Monthly Price$14.99$8.99 for Basic, $12.99 for Standard, $15.99 for Premium
ContentHBO shows, licensed movies, HBO Max originals, WarnerMedia movies and TV showsOriginals, licensed TV shows and movies
Top titlesFriends, Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Big Bang Theory, Justice League Snyder Cut, South ParkStranger Things, The Witcher, Breaking Bad, Black Mirror, The Irishman, Ozark, The Crown, Tiger King
Supported devicesiPhone, iPad, Android phones, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Samsung TVs, XBox One, Playstation 4 iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Amazon Fire tablet, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, most smart TVs, Android Fire TV, Roku, XBox, Playstation, Nintendo Wii, many Blu-ray players, many cable set-top boxes
4K contentNoYes (with Premium plan)
Simultaneous streams31 with Basic, 2 with Standard, 4 with Premium
Free trialYes (one week)Yes (one month)

HBO Max vs Netflix: Price

HBO Max's price is $14.99, which is the same amount as HBO Now. (Confused? Learn more about HBO Max vs HBO Go vs HBO Now.) That price was lowered to $11.99 per month if you preordered a full year, though that deal has expired. 

Netflix's price depends on which of the three plans you get. Basic costs $8.99 (standard definition, one stream), Standard costs costs $12.99 (high-def, two streams) and Premium costs $15.99 (HD and 4K, four streams). 

HBO Max vs Netflix: Supported devices

The Netflix app is available on almost all of the best streaming devices. Netflix devices include iPhones, iPads, Android phones, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and tablets, most major smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Sony and other manufacturers), Roku, Chromecast, Xbox, Playstation, set-top cable boxes and many Blu-ray players.

The HBO Max app is available on iPhones, iPads, Android phones, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Samsung smart TVs. However, HBO Max isn't on Roku or Fire TV yet, as it is still working out deals with those companies.

HBO Max vs Netflix content: Shows and movies

HBO Max launched with an huge library, thanks to the decades of content amassed by WarnerMedia brands. HBO Max houses content from HBO, DC and the Warner Bros. movie and television studios, as well as licensed content from Studio Ghibli and BBC. 

HBO's shows include Friends, Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, Rick and Morty, The Sopranos, The Wire and dozens of other classics and recent hits. HBO movies include the DC universe, like the Batman franchise, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, as well as Warner Bros. films including The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix trilogy and the Lego franchise. HBO Max is also making its own originals. At launch, it debuted Love Life with Anna Kendrick, The Not Too Late Show With Elmo and more. In the future, it will have a reboot of Gossip Girl, a Green Lantern series and Justice League Dark.

HBO Max vs Netflix shows

(Image credit: Warner Bros.; HBO)

Netflix also boasts a huge library of licensed and original programming. The latter is what has made it the best streaming service in the market. Netflix originals get a ton of buzz and often become pop culture sensations. They've got Stranger Things, Tiger King, Ozark, The Witcher, The Crown, Black Mirror, Glow, Russian Doll, Umbrella Academy and so many more. Netflix also streams original movies, including Academy Award contenders like Roma, The Irishman and Marriage Story.

HBO Max vs Netflix shows: Stranger Things

(Image credit: Netflix)

HBO Max vs Netflix: 4K content

Netflix's Premium plan comes with the ability to stream content in 4K (when available). 

HBO Max does not offer 4K streaming at this time, though they may in the future.

HBO Max vs Netflix: Simultaneous streams

Netflix's three plans come with varying numbers of simultaneous streams, which allow people who share an account to watch different shows at the same time. The Basic plan only has one stream, while Standard has two and Premium has four.

HBO Max is capable of three simultaneous streams across five profiles (under one account).

HBO Max vs Netflix: Free trial

Netflix offers a one-month free trial to new subscribers. 

New subscribers can get a HBO Max free trial for seven days. Plus, some AT&T wireless and internet customers may be able to get a one-month, three-month or yearlong free trial. Check your AT&T account to see if you qualify.

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.

  • d0x360
    HBO Max also doesn't have HDR or Dolby Vision so along with no 4k that's a triple whammy against it.

    I'm also kinda pissed that I pay for HBO Go and it seems the Snyder cut won't be on there. I've been wanting to see it since day 1 so I guess I'll be using my free and very short trial just to watch it then I'll promptly cancel and wait for inevitable 4k Blu-ray.