Thanks to hit shows like Chernobyl, Westworld, The Wire, Veep, True Detective, and Game of Thrones, the network has established itself as a behemoth in the entertainment industry.
This year, the network debuted a new streaming service to complement the already existing two services. The network also enforced several changes to these services, and admittedly, it is easy for anyone to confuse them.
In this guide, we break down all these services and show you how you can enjoy the network’s Max streaming service in Australia.
What is HBO Max?
HBO Max is a streaming service from HBO that was launched at the end of May this year. The service is much like Disney+ and Peacock from Disney and NBC Universal, respectively. It packs a massive catalogue of several TV shows and movies as well as exclusive originals.
Users can enjoy over 10,000 hours of premium content on the platform at a subscription fee of $14.99 per month
Where can I watch HBO Max?
You can stream HBO Max content on any other of the following devices: iPhone or iPad, Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire devices, PlayStation 4, Android phone/tablet, Samsung TV, and the Xbox.
What’s good on HBO Max?
There is a wide range of content in form of TV shows, documentaries, individual movies, and franchises available on HBO Max. There are also HBO originals exclusive to the network. Some of the popular titles offered are Doctor Who, Luther, FRIENDS, Rick and Morty, Euphoria, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Big Bang Theory, The Batman franchise, and Top Gear.
HBO Max also has rights to some UK content, such as White House Farm. You can also enjoy content from The Cartoon Network, Looney Tunes, and The CW. Note that some TV shows and movies are on rotation and may be unavailable when you want to watch.
How to watch HBO Max with a VPN
Before we proceed, we must let you know there are a couple of risks when you use this approach. It may be illegal depending on your region, so keep that in mind before you proceed. There’s also no guarantee that it will always work as the network is zeroing in on users who employ this approach.
With that out of the way, let’s get continue.
HBO Max content is not available outside the US, thanks to the gatekeeping geo-blocks. So with a US IP address, you can trick the system into thinking you’re actually in the US. Here’s where a VPN comes in. A good VPN will obscure your actual Australian IP address with a US one giving you the ability to access HBO Max.
Steps to follow:
Here is how to get access to HBO Max using a VPN
- Start by selecting the VPN you want and registering an account through the VPN’s website. We recommend using Surfshark or ExpressVPN.
- Choose a plan that suits your budget & needs and proceed to download the application compatible with your device
- Install the VPN app and launch it.
- Sign in to your account and connect to any server located in the US
Now that you have connected to a server in the US, you can sign up for HBO Max. Signing up for HBO Max is not as easy, though. The challenge here is at the payment stage as you need a US payment card.
If you have a friend or relative with a US payment card, the process is less complex.
- After connecting to a US server, visit the HBO Max website and click the option to start your free trial
- You’ll be directed to a Sign Up page. Fill in your details to complete the registration process
- On the payments page, fill in the payment details of the US credit card. Ensure the zip code you enter matches that of the state you selected
- Complete the process and start enjoying your favourite content on the platform
You can still access HBO Max even if you don’t have a US payment card, but the process will be much longer.
For this, you need an HBO Now gift card. To get the HBO Now gift card:
- On your browser, visit the ‘My Gift Card Supply’ website. You can use a different site to get the card
- Register your account on the site and log into your account
- Search for the HBO Now gift cards through the search button. Select the card value and proceed to buy the card
- Now visit the hbonow.com/gift to redeem the card. Fill in the gift card code followed by a US zip code to complete the process
- Fill in the details with the email you want to use for your account, and then visit the HBO Max site.
- Sign in using the email you used earlier and enjoy your favourite TV shows and movies
After the expiry of the gift card, you will need to renew it to continue enjoying HBO Now. To do so, visit the My Gift Card Supply website and purchase a new gift card and then redeem it.
Not all VPNs available in the market will unblock the geo-restricted content. We have made it convenient for you by testing different VPN services. Here are those that guarantee you a smooth experience watching HBO Max.
Best VPNs to unblock HBO Max in Australia
The best VPNs to unblock HBO Max content are Surfshark and ExpressVPN
Although it is not budget-friendly, ExpressVPN delivers excellent performance that easily justifies its high subscription fee. It features an extensive network of 3,000+ VPN servers. In the US, there 300 servers spread across 24 cities. All the server locations apart from Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco can reliably unblock HBO Max.
ExpressVPN has a strictly no-log policy, so your records won’t be recorded. You can connect up to a maximum of five simultaneous devices. It comes with a killswitch and several advanced protocols, including Lightway, IPsec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN to choose from.
Pricing starts at $8.32 per month for the 12-month plan. The monthly plan costs $12.95 per month, whereas the 6-month plan costs $9.99 per month.
If you are on a tight budget, you can still enjoy HBO max with Surfshark. The VPN has a network of more than 3200 P2P friendly servers, with 500+ of them being in the US. The servers are spread across 24 different locations. The majority of these locations work consistently, with the exceptions being Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, and Manassas.
Surfshark maintains a zero-logs policy on all its servers. It has no limit on the number of simultaneous connections, so you can use the VPN across all your compatible devices. The VPN comes with a killswitch and Private DNS & leak protection.
The VPN comes with four different security protocols that you can choose from. These are IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, and WireGuard.
Pricing starts at $2.21 per month for the 2-year plan. The 6-month plan costs $6.49 per month. When billed monthly, the VPN will cost you $12.95 per month.
HBO Max vs. HBO Now vs HBO Go
At the start of the year, HBO offered three different platforms i.e. HBO Max, HBO Now, and HBO Go. The latter was discontinued by the network on 31st July, leaving only two options.
HBO Go was a US-only streaming service from HBO that ceased to exist in July. It was available for all users that had signed up for a cable subscription.
HBO Now is an entirely different standalone service offered by the network to users that don’t have a cable connection. Think of it as a cord cutter’s solution. Upon discontinuation of HBO Go, HBO Now lost its moniker and was rebranded as HBO.
The network also introduced new changes that took effect starting 31st July. Because of these changes, users without a cable subscription can get HBO Max, whereas those with a TV subscription get the new HBO service.
HBO Max is the second offering from the HBO network that allows users to access content present in HBO and other originals. In terms of content, HBO Max is superior to HBO because of the raft of HBO Max originals absent in the HBO plan.
Is HBO Max available in Australia?
This is probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but no – it’s not available in Australia. Neither HBO Max nor HBO (previously HBO Now) is directly available in Australia. Both are restricted to US residents, and those living outside the US cannot access the services directly. US citizens living or travelling outside the US have no access to them either.
However, you can directly watch some of the HBO Max content by subscribing to Foxtel. If you don’t mind spending a couple of dollars, you can rent TV shows and movies from platforms such as Apple’s iTunes or the Google Play Store.
Why is Foxtel getting HBO Max content?
In Australia, Foxtel has an agreement with HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia that allows it to show most of the network’s content. This deal basically makes Foxtel the home of most HBO shows in the Australian market.
The HBO-Warner deal was set to expire this year, but Foxtel renewed it on 6th May and secured the rights to deliver HBO Max content in the country. At the moment, HBO has no standalone streaming service locally because of this deal.
A bidding war occurred between Foxtel and Stan on who should have the network’s content’s rights. Foxtel won, but Stan was able to steal the romantic comedy HBO original ‘Love Life’ show.
Still, you can watch other TV shows and movies on Foxtel. Note that not all content from other networks that is being distributed by HBO Max will be available on Foxtel. There are standalone agreements between HBO Max and other networks that prevent some content from being distributed in Australia.
At the moment, there are no plans for HBO Max to enter the Australian market. Things will likely remain as they are until the expiry or termination of the deal between Foxtel and WarnerMedia.
There’s another albeit greyer way you can access HBO Max content. This approach is less straightforward and can be an inconvenience as HBO Max is always trying to shut it down.
Can I use a free VPN to watch HBO Max?
Yes, you can, but we wouldn’t recommend that you do. A free VPN may seem like a good deal, but more often than not, it ends up being an expensive option. Free VPNs have poor streaming speeds and few server options, which means you’ll have buffering issues and connection errors.
Besides, there is no assurance that you will get help from customer support when you’re stuck or be protected from malicious threats on the internet. The service providers can sell your personal data to third-parties to make revenue. Overall, you will likely have a bad and frustrating experience using the VPN.
How much does it cost to watch HBO Max?
There’s no definite cost of watching HBO Max. The only constant charge is the $14.99 monthly fee or gift card value. The rest of the math will depend on the VPN you use. Using an average VPN subscription of $10/month, you will need about $25 per month to watch HBO Max.
You don’t have to miss out on your favourite TV shows or movies on HBO Max anymore.
The steps above should get you enjoying your favourite content from the comfort of your house.