HBO Max vs. Netflix

HBO Max puts the pressure on Netflix in a head-to-head comparison.

Craig Hanks
YouTube Channel Manager & Streaming Expert
Read More
Published on June 14, 2021
3 min read

While both HBO Max and Netflix are the priciest on-demand streaming services, they’re still the best out there.

Ultimately, we think HBO Max is worth it's hefty price tag sooner than Netflix is. Considering the mammoth popularity of Netflix, that's a pretty bold claim.

We compared Netflix and HBO Max by price, quality of picture, and the content options.

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Pricing

We think it's fair to say that neither HBO Max nor Netflix is cheap. In fact, these are the two most expensive major on-demand streaming services out there.

But HBO Max takes the cake for us because it's simple: 15 bucks a month and no fuss about choosing between pricing tiers.

But for others, Netflix may actually win in the pricing category if you like options. Netflix can be cheaper or more expensive than HBO Max.

With Netflix, you can choose between $9, $14, or $18 a month, depending on what video quality you want and how many simultaneous streams you need.

HBO Max vs. Netflix price comparison
Service
Monthly Price
Learn More

HBO Max

$14.99

Netflix

Starting at $8.99

Data effective 05/31/21. Prices and availability subject to change.

Streaming quality

Netflix lets you choose what you pay for. Don't care about 4K? Don't pay for it—just go for the $14 HD package that streams in 1080p, which is plenty good. Only watch Netflix on a tiny little phone screen? You can stick with standard definition for only nine bucks a month.

You can also pick if you want one, two, or four simultaneous streams, depending on which tier you go for.

Netflix streaming quality comparison
Plans
Price
Simultaneous streams
HD viewing
More info

Basic

$8.99/mo*

1

No

Standard

$13.99/mo*

2

No

Premium

$17.99/mo*

4

Yes

Data effective 05/31/21. Prices and availability subject to change.

Most of the content on Netflix isn't available in 4K, but there is a lot more that is in 4K on Netflix than there is on other streaming services, including HBO Max, which only has two titles available in 4K.

HBO Max definitely needs to step up its game here. On the bright side, you're not paying Netflix’s premium price either. While we do hope that HBO Max gets more 4K content, we’d also rather not pay more for it.

Device availability

It doesn’t matter what price you’re paying if you can’t get your streaming service on your devices. It was embarrassing when HBO Max launched without Roku or Fire TV support. Netflix doesn't just have good device support, it's pretty much ubiquitous. Basically, if it has a screen, it'll play Netflix.

Admittedly, Netflix has had a lot of time to put its little red roots down everywhere. HBO Max will get there, and it did fix its problems with Roku and Amazon.

You shouldn’t have any problems watching either Netflix or HBO Max.

Content

Nobody has a content library like Netflix. In the US alone, it has over 5,000 titles, and 2,000 of those are Netflix originals. With that bottomless well of content, it has something for everybody. Netflix content is tailored to niche tastes. Netflix feels like it's made for you, rather than some nebulous version of everyone.

But you know what quantity is not a synonym for? Quality. HBO Max has fewer titles than Netflix, but what it does have is awesome. When you log into HBO Max, you don't have to go through the same kind of endless scrolling, wading through stuff you have no interest in to find that one little gem. Instead, you log in and you're immediately greeted by excellent titles that you might actually want to watch and talk about with your friends.

Must-see on Netflix:

  • House of Cards
  • Stranger Things
  • Bridgerton
  • Tiger King
  • Queen’s Gambit

Must-see on HBO Max:

  • Wonder Woman
  • Godzilla vs. Kong
  • Snyder Cut
  • Game of Thrones
  • Westworld
  • Harry Potter
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Friends
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • True Detective
  • South Park
  • Studio Ghibli films

Now, I could go on, but my point is just this, whether it's new stuff or classic stuff, HBO Max's library is unbeatable at the moment. So for those who want the most popular titles, HBO Max has to be the winner here.

Recap

Netflix has more options, but HBO Max’s quality is tough to beat.

Netflix and HBO Max are close competitors. Netflix has been the king of the on-demand streaming services for a long time, but HBO Max may be next in line for the throne.

Pricing: HBO Max is straightforward with one plan, and Netflix could be cheaper or pricer depending on which plan you pick.

Streaming quality: Netflix offers more 4K options than HBO Max, but you can only stream in 4K if you pay for the premium plan.

Device availability: You can play Netflix on nearly any device. HBO Max is a little more limited, but you shouldn’t have any troubles getting it on your main devices.

Content: Netflix has more options, which is good for those with specific tastes, but HBO Max has more popular titles.

Netflix streaming quality comparison

Plans
Price
Simultaneous streams
HD viewing
More info

Basic

$8.99/mo*

1

No

Standard

$13.99/mo*

2

No

Premium

$17.99/mo*

4

Yes

Data effective 05/31/21. Prices and availability subject to change.

Now that you know, here are your next steps.
HBO Max
3 out of 5 stars
3

Read the in-depth reviews of HBO Max's pros and cons.

Netflix
4 out of 5 stars
4

Read the in-depth review from our experts on Netflix's offerings.

Craig Hanks
Written by
Craig Hanks
Craig is a long-time writer, presenter, and podcaster, and he now runs the Reviews.org YouTube channel, where he strives to be far more charming and presentable than he is in real life. Within the Reviews.org umbrella, he has accidentally become a streaming expert after covering the streaming wars for almost three years. Craig is also the founder and host of The Legendarium Podcast, his outlet for his love of fantasy and sci-fi literature.

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