Before there was HBO Max, there was HBO Go (for cable subscribers) and cord-cutter friendly HBO Now. Now, just when we were all starting to figure out how to find our favorite shows on streaming—and developing an affinity for certain streamers—Warner Bros. Discovery is changing things up yet again. The owner of HBO, HGTV, and Warner Bros. has revealed plans for a new super-streamer that will combine the content offerings of HBO Max and Discovery+. And the name that WBD executives have settled on for the service? Max. 

That’s right: HBO is getting dropped from the streamer’s name. Though the HBO brand is beloved by prestige TV viewers and fans of adult dramas like Succession, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and his team have decided that they didn’t want a (relatively) niche name to represent a much broader streaming service, one that will soon also feature Dr. Pimple Popper; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; and 90 Day Fiancé. 

JB Perrette, who leads streaming for Warner Bros. Discovery, details plans for Max.

In announcing plans for the company’s streaming future on Wednesday morning, Zaslav chose to focus on the past. At a press event on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, he reminded attendees that the film studio is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. “This is our time,” he said, noting that he was standing in the middle of Stage 14, where CasablancaA Streetcar Named Desire, and Gremlins were filmed. 

Things haven’t been easy at debt-laden Warner Bros. Discovery this year. Since the merger, the company has conducted multiple rounds of layoffs, scrapped several high-profile projects, and even removed some of its programming from streaming. Zaslav suggested that the most painful cuts were behind him, and he’s now focused on helping the company weather the transition to streaming: “Off we go, all together to build Warner Bros. Discovery into the next century.” 

Here’s everything you need to know about Max.

Why is HBO Max getting rebranded?

Last spring, Discovery merged with HBO-owner WarnerMedia, creating a multibillion-dollar media company called Warner Bros. Discovery. Not long after, Zaslav revealed plans to combine the separate streamers Discovery+ and HBO Max into a new super-service. That’s Max. 

Though the HBO brand is a strong one, executives at the company decided to remove it from the name of the new combined service because they wanted to signal to subscribers that it is a broader offering, one that streams not just Succession but also 90 Day Fiancé. Zaslav said that during early market research conversations, the company found that some viewers had been turned off by an HBO-focused brand. “HBO is not TV. It’s HBO,” JB Perrette, Warner Bros. Discovery’s top streaming executive, said Wednesday morning. “It needs to stay that way.” He promised that HBO would remain an important brand within the streamer, but said that he didn’t want to “push it to the breaking point” by forcing it to represent a broader content portfolio. 

What can I watch on Max?

Everything offered on HBO Max will still be available on Max. That includes HBO hits like Game of Thrones and its prequel, House of the Dragon; The Last of Us; and The White Lotus. Upcoming HBO shows include Kate Winslet political drama The Regime, another Game of Thrones prequel series, and True Detective: Night Country. The streamer will also include Warner Bros. and DC movies and TV classics like Friends. Now, there will be a large catalog of shows from the Discovery portfolio as well, including home HGTV, Food Network, TLC, and Magnolia Network. 

Max will also continue to offer streaming-exclusive originals. Expect those shows to lean into the company’s most valuable franchises. Plans are in the works for a Harry Potter series, a show focused on Batman villain the Penguin, a drama series set in the Conjuring universe, a new Big Bang Theory show, and an animated Gremlins prequel series. 

How much will Max cost?

Good news for existing HBO Max subscribers: You won’t have to pay more for the new streamer. Max will cost $$9.99 per month with ads and $15.99 per month without ads. There will also be a new $19.99-per-month plan with extra bells and whistles, including higher picture and sound quality. 

I’m an HBO Max subscriber. What do I need to do to get Max?

Probably nothing. If you’re already an HBO Max subscriber, there’s a good chance the app will automatically update and rebrand as Max on May 23. If it doesn’t, you will need to download the updated Max app. (If you live outside the US, you won’t be able to access Max until later this year or next year.) 

The streamer might look different, but Warner Bros. Discovery is promising that subscribers’ existing profiles, settings, and watch history will remain the same. 

What about Discovery+ subscribers?

You have a few options. In fact, you don’t have to subscribe to Max if you don’t want to; Discovery+ will remain a standalone streaming service in the US. But if you want access to the full Max offering, you’ll need to sign up for the higher-priced streamer. Curious about Max but not convinced that Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Succession are worth the extra cost? Look out for free trials and other promotions that will let you sample what Max has to offer. 

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