We’ve spent a lot of time watching HBO Max since it launched. The popular opinion seems to be to bash it as some kind of lesser streaming service compared to the top dog, Netflix.
When Warner announced they were releasing all 17 major films on both HBO Max and in theaters and were giving 20% off the six month rate, we didn’t complain, we subscribed (see: Don’t Count Out HBO Max in 2021)
The quality of movies and shows on HBO Max can’t be beat. But I should add a caveat that the nuts and bolts of the actual service still need a lot of work. The app and website can be buggy and crash. And HBO Max doesn’t offer many titles in 4K, though that’s not much different from other streaming services. Netflix does have 4K but you have to pay more. Advertisement The interface is so-so, but the HBO Max navigation does stand out in one way: the genre pages have an A-Z listing you can peruse. No other streamer has this feature; they all display titles within themed collections or by recommendations. HBO does that, too, but it’s so helpful just to see every movie on HBO Max by alphabetical order.Sorry Netflix, HBO Max is the best streaming service now — here’s why | Tom’s Guide
Netflix is sort of in a class by itself at the current time. They have spent multi billions producing so much original content that they can just continue to crank new original movie and TV series after another. During the pandemic, they’ve also been in on the bidding war for movies meant for theaters but sold to streaming instead.
Objectively, comparing Netflix to the other streamers for original content is challenging. From a quantity standpoint, there is no comparison. Every week on Thursdays when we do our What To Watch On Streaming posts, Netflix consistently outproduces the other streamers.
But quantity isn’t the same as quality. Is it better to have one great movie and/or TV series debut each week or have a half dozen or more of varying quality movie and TV shows to choose from? For those of us that want to watch the best movies we can see, not the most movies, the less is more strategy is more sound. We’ve talked about the quantity vs. quality situation with Netflix before (see: Does Netflix Release Too Many Originals? Maybe Ask New CMO Bozoma Saint John)
All that said, HBO Max might not be superior to Netflix in number of subscribers, but from what’s available to watch on it right now, even at the higher monthly price point, there are plenty of movies and TV shows to check out. It’s refreshing to read articles like this one that aren’t bashing HBO Max for not having 100+ million subscribers.
Whichever is your favorite streaming channel, it’s great to see movie lovers have multiple options to choose from. Disney+ has the family, Star Wars and Marvel corners covered. HBO Max has several great TV shows (Friends!), a bunch of great movies. Amazon Prime has its own slate of originals, some very, very good and Netflix has its originals. Then there are the others like Hulu, CBS All Access soon to be Paramount+ and Peacock, not to mention a boatload of niche streamers like Shudder, Discovery+ and so on.
And those are just the paid streamers, there is a whole bunch of FREE, ad-supported channels to choose from. So many, that we can’t even cover them all. The Roku Channel, Tubi, Pluto and so on.
Whatever you want to watch, you can probably find it playing somewhere. Good times for home movie watchers, anyway. The cinema landscape might be struggling, but these are active, productive times for streamers.
What’s your current favorite streaming channel? Or do you have multiple favorites?