HBO produces high-quality, massive hits like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos, so it’s easy to see why you might want to subscribe to its streaming service HBO Max. Before you do, you should know there are some factors that might cause you to think twice about pulling out your wallet.
Here are all the reasons why you shouldn’t subscribe to HBO Max.
1. HBO Max Is Expensive
Some of today’s younger cord-cutters might not realize that HBO began as a premium cable channel. Now, the brand exists on cable and streaming. HBO Max includes HBO programming and a vault of content from studios like Studio Ghibli and DC.
As such, due to its prestige programming and quality third-party licensed content, HBO Max may feel justified in charging $14.99/month for its ad-free subscription plan. However, the price is hard to swallow when compared to other streaming services.
For instance, Netflix charges $9.99/month. In August 2021, a report from Statista found that Netflix had 3,600 TV shows and 3,700 movies available. In comparison, HBO Max only had 1,500 shows and 2,200 movies. That’s less than half of Netflix’s content for $5 more.
Elsewhere, Amazon Prime Video has more content than any other platform for only $8.99/month. Granted, there are reasons you shouldn’t subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, too, including its poorly-rated catalog.
2. HBO Max’s Original Content Isn’t Exciting
If you take away Game of Thrones, HBO Max’s originals have not performed too successfully. Shows like The Flight Attendant, Lovecraft Country, and Raised by Wolves didn’t light the world on fire like Tiger King or Squid Game did for rival Netflix.
Where HBO Max really shines is debuting original movies or same-day releases. Although these might be worth it for a smaller monthly price, they come few and far between to justify paying for the service.
The platform did enjoy some success with the Sex and the City spin-off, which apparently had the biggest debut of any other original series on HBO Max. However, this just leans on an already-canceled show to grab nostalgic viewers, similar to the company’s strategy for the Friends reunion.
Until HBO Max can prove its new and original content is equally or more engaging than competitors, it’s best to hold off subscribing.
3. HBO Max Shows Debut Weekly
If you do want to watch the HBO Max originals, be aware that episodes drop weekly. Since the originals air weekly on cable, HBO Max matches this schedule with its uploads.
Nowadays, cord-cutters love binge-watching television shows. Netflix releases most of its original content an entire season at a time; you can speed through an entire show in one weekend if you want. HBO is behind the times because it must cater simultaneously to its cable television and streaming viewers.
If HBO Max released all the episodes at once, those subscribing to cable wouldn’t have much incentive to wait for a new episode every week. This conundrum is causing HBO Max to suffer.
4. International Films Are Lacking
Although there’s a good amount of content in HBO Max’s international category, it hasn’t invested in global cinema quite as other streaming services have.
Netflix, for example, has thrown large amounts of money into its international content to develop shows and movies that aren’t just high-quality but also accessible through subtitles and dubs. Over the past few years, hits like Squid Game and Lupin on Netflix have been successful in their native countries and abroad.
HBO Max hasn’t quite gotten the memo yet. Although the service continues to expand across Europe, it hasn’t matched this in its content and seemingly has no plans to do so.
If you’re looking for the best streaming service that brings you the best content from all around the world, HBO Max is not for you.
5. You’ve Already Signed Up for Multiple Streaming Services
There are so many streaming services out there, and chances are you’re signed up for many of them. In which case, you should avoid adding HBO Max to that list and further spend more money on entertainment.
Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on online subscriptions. For instance, if you have a group of friends with different streaming services, you should consider doing a ‘trade’ system where you exchange access to your Netflix account for others’ Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and alternatives. This can help share the cost between a group of people, making it more affordable for everyone.
Take Your Money Elsewhere
As much as HBO Max is trying to stake its ground in the streaming game, its connection to cable television has held it back. It’s expensive, releases original shows slowly, and the content quality is questionable.
If you already have HBO Max and have decided it’s time to move on, you should investigate how to cancel your account sooner rather than later.
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