Max vs. Netflix

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

Play Video
Craig Hanks
Mar 12, 2024
Icon Time To Read4 min read

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

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

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

Pricing

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

Max subscription prices

Max has a few pricing options to choose from. If you're okay with ad breaks, you can stream for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. For ad-free streaming, you'll pay $15.99 a month or $149.99 a year.

Ever heard of ultimate ad-free streaming? Me neither, but Max offers it for $19.99 a month or $199.99 a year. The main difference between Max's packages (other than ads) is the number of devices that can stream at once, video quality, and download limits.

You can simultaneously stream two devices in full HD quality with Max's ad-supported and ad-free plans, but ad-free will let you download up to 30 titles. The ultimate ad-free plan increases video quality to 4K UHD with Dolby Atmos on select titles and lets you download up to 100 titles. 

Netflix subscription prices

But for others, Netflix may actually win in the pricing category. Netflix can be cheaper or the same price as Max.

With Netflix, you can choose between $6.99, $15.49, or $23.99 a month, depending on what video quality you want and how many simultaneous streams you need. (Just be aware of Netflix's new password-sharing rules and extra member slots if you're planning on splitting a plan with a friend).

What are Netflix extra member slots?

Along with password crack-downs, Netflix has introduced "extra member slots" for $7.99/month. You can add one extra member slot to your Netflix Standard plan or up to two extra member slots to your Netflix Premium plan. An extra member will have their own account and password, but the original account that invited the additional member will be responsible for payment.

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

Starting at $9.99

Netflix

Starting at $6.99

Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are 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 $9.99 HD package that streams in 1080p, which is plenty good. Only watch Netflix on a tiny little phone screen and don't care about ads? You can stick with the Standard with ads plan, which gives you HD for only seven bucks a month.

Keep in mind, though, you won't have full access to Netflix's library with the Standard with ads plan. You can also pick if you want one, two, or four simultaneous streams, depending on which tier you go for.

With Max, all plans except for the Ultimate Ad-Free plan stream in 1080p. You'll have to commit to its most expensive plan to get 4K quality, but you do get an extra perk of Dolby Atmos surround sound on select titles, which might be worth it for some cinephiles.

Netflix streaming quality comparison
Plans
Price
Simultaneous streams
Image quality
Ad-free
Supports downloading
More info
Netflix Standard with Ads$6.99/mo.*

1

HD
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Netflix Standard$15.49/mo.*

2

Full HD
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark2 Devices
Netflix Standard w/extra member slots$23.48/mo.

2

Full HD
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark2 Devices
Netflix Premium$22.99/mo.*

4

Ultra HD 4K
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark6 devices
Netflix Premium w/extra member slots$30.98/mo.

4

Ultra HD 4K
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark6 devices
* Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Extra members have their own account and password, but their membership is paid for by the person who invited them to share their Netflix account.

Most of the content on Max and Netflix isn't available in 4K. Netflix has about 1500 4K titles on their service, while Max just released over 1,000 movies and TV shows in 4K.

Max streaming quality comparison
Plans
Price
Simultaneous streams
Image quality
Ad-free
Supports downloading
More info

With Ads

$9.99/mo. or $99.99/yr.

2

Full HD
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo

Ad Free

$15.99/mo. or $149.99/yr.

2

HD
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  Dark2 Devices

Ultimate Ad-Free

$19.99/mo. or $199.99/yr.

4

4K UHD with Dolby Atmos on select titles
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  Dark2 Devices

Premium

$19.99/mo*

4

Ultra HD 4K
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  Dark4 Devices

Data effective 06/12/23. Prices and availability subject to change.

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 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. Max will get there, and it did fix its problems with Roku and Amazon.

You shouldn’t have any problems watching either Netflix or 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. Max has fewer titles than Netflix, but what it does have is awesome, especially its iconic Max originals like House of the Dragon and Succession. Max will also be the only place to stream Greta Gerwig's Barbie on December 15th. "Sublime!"

Max also has a decent spread of superhero content. While it's no Disney+ if you're looking for your favorite Marvel movie or TV show, Max is perfect for DC Comics buffs. Max's DC content includes new blockbusters like Blue Beetle, older titles like Teen Titans (2003), and exclusive releases like Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League. 

When you log into Max, you don't have to go through the same kind of endless scrolling, wading through shows and movies you have no interest in to find that one little gem. Instead, you log in, and you're immediately greeted by excellent series and films that you might actually want to watch and talk about with your friends.

Must-see on Netflix:

  • Beef
  • House of Cards
  • Stranger Things
  • Bridgerton
  • Derry Girls
  • Wednesday

Must-see on Max:

  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • The White Lotus
  • Succession
  • Barry
  • House of the Dragon
  • Love & Death
  • 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, Max's library is unbeatable at the moment. So for those who want the most popular movies and TV series, Max has to be the winner here.

Recap

Netflix has more plan options and cheaper pricing, but Max’s quality and original content are tough to beat.

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

Pricing: Netflix could be cheaper or pricier than Max, depending on which plan you pick.

Streaming quality: Netflix offers about the same 4K options as Max, but you can only stream in 4K if you pay for an ads-free plan.

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

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

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

Read the in-depth reviews of 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.

Related Articles

A brunette woman wearing glasses browses the internet on her laptop
An Honest AT&T Internet Review: Is It Worth Your Money?
Is AT&T internet good? Read our AT&T internet review to learn more about prices, plans,...
A young woman wearing glasses sits on the couch and surfs the internet on her laptop
Spectrum vs. AT&T Internet Review
Spectrum and AT&T both offer high-speed internet plans in many parts of the U.S. AT&T’s...
Boost Mobile Review - Students
Best Internet Plans for Students
We’ve done the research and come up with the four best internet plans for students,...
VPNUnlimited-woman-at-computer
AT&T Fiber vs. Google Fiber Internet Review
Google Fiber is the king of internet data speeds. But AT&T’s wider variety of plans...