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UP tech: HBO Max review


HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s entry into the streaming service market, was released May 27. While WarnerMedia’s vast library and exclusive movie premieres will keep users entertained for what seems like an eternity, there are some basic things the giant needs to fix to compete in the streaming service realm.

I have been using HBO Max for almost three weeks as it was included free on my phone service — AT&T owns WarnerMedia. When one opens the app for the first time, one will be amazed at the plethora of content and personalized playlists, such as “From Page to Screen,” “Out of This World” and “Binge in One Day,” which seems endless. If one keeps scrolling, one will find a playlist that fits every need. This differs from other streaming services that only have playlists such as “most popular” and “recently added.”

Depending on what platform the service is used on, the sidebar menu includes series, movies, originals, just added, last chance (which includes shows and movies leaving the service), coming soon and trending now. There are also multiple genres including action, animation, comedy, crime, documentaries, drama, fantasy and sci-fi, horror, international, kids and family, Latino, music, news/talk, reality, romance, shorts, sports and suspense.

One of the things that differentiates HBO Max from other streaming services is the “hubs” feature that comes standard. The feature organized the content meaning the user can browse by network — Cartoon Network, Crunchyroll or Turner Classic Movies, for example. Hulu recently added the feature, but it is not as organized and saeamless. HBO max does this directly by creating a world of content within each hub.

The HBO hub contains all of the content one can find on the HBO channel, such as their series and movies. The Max originals hub is the same way. The service launched with a wide variety of originals with more being added constantly.

The is a wide range of animated series, movies, live-action series and original content to be found on the DC hub alone makes the Max subscription worth the money.

The Adult Swim hub is why many subscribed to the service, including me. This hub contains popular Adult Swim shows such as “Rick and Morty,” and even classic Adult Swim content such as “Home Movies,” “The Boondocks” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”

One of the hidden gems of the service is the Studio Ghibli hub, an animation house that specializes in telling beautiful stories through amazing animation. They are well known for “Ponyo” and “The Secret World of Arrietty.”

For fans of Cartoon Network, both new and old, the hub contains classics such as “Courage the Cowardly Dog” and “Ed, Ed and Eddy.”

Also catering to the child demographic, there is both a Looney Tunes and Sesame Workshop hub.

One of the most intriguing hubs, but also one of the hubs that I have the biggest problem with, is the Crunchyroll hub. There is a small collection of anime such as “Full Metal Alchemist,” “The God of High School” and “Hunter X Hunter.” The problem with this hub is the selection of anime, and also that some series, such as “Hunter X Hunter,” do not contain all the episodes, and even end at a weird point in the series (no spoilers).

HBO Max had some problems playing on some of my devices, such as iPad, Xbox One and Playstation 4. This may be do to my internet or the service being new.

At first I thought the $15 price tag was a little excessive, but with the plethora of content, the price is justified. However, if HBO Max really wants to compete against other streaming services, they should consider reducing the price to the $9.99 to $12 window.

Category: Opinion