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To the Max: A look into HBO’s streaming service

With a purple pattern that sets it apart from the red of Netflix or the blue of Disney+, HBO Max offers a wide range of content split into nine different hubs.

Since finding out that HBO Max is included in my family’s cable package over the summer, it has become my go-to for entertainment. I discovered why “Steven Universe” has so much hype around it, dived back into “Doctor Who” for the first time in years and when there’s trouble, I know who to call: “Teen Titans!” The niche interests of a white male college sophomore aside, there is an assortment of content to interest almost every viewer.

The hubs neatly divide movies and TV shows into HBO, DC, “Sesame Street,” TCM, Studio Ghibli, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, CrunchyRoll and “Looney Tunes.” Users can also easily browse titles by genre with a menu bar on the side.

However, HBO Max is not without problems.

The name is somewhat confusing because prior to its release, there was already HBO Now and HBO Go. Additionally, HBO Max is really Warner Brothers’ streaming service because that is where it draws most of its content library. A case could be made for branding or name recognition, but still – it’s confusing.

Plus, there are a ton of streaming services out there already with lots of overlapping titles. Each service tries to draw in customers with flashy original series and exclusive content appealing to the aforementioned niche interests, and HBO Max is no exception with offbeat superhero show “Doom Patrol” and Ridley Scott’s “Raised by Wolves,” just to name a few.

Another major gripe with the service deals with layout and design. Because each episode of a TV show has its own page, it takes the show out of full-screen to load the new one, which is especially annoying if you’ve got a laptop hooked up to a TV. Another result of the one episode per page layout is that it is extremely difficult to look at the whole show or season.

All in all, though, I enjoy having HBO Max and watching its variety of content. If it seems like your type of streaming service and in your financial neighborhood, then go for it. However, if you’re not invested in the series it offers exclusively, don’t spend the $14.99 per month on it.

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