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Max vs. Netflix

Max or Netflix: Which is better? Both have powerhouse originals and on-demand streaming, but it depends on what you’re looking for.

  • HBO, Warner Bros. Discovery content
  • Discount for annual plans
  • Higher price for baseline plan


Netflix Logo
  • Wider range of content
  • 4K playback on some titles with Premium
  • Rotating content


Bottom line

Max (formerly HBO Max) is perfect for movie lovers and fans of HBO’s original shows and movies. There are some excellent titles that you just can’t find anywhere else, like Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight, and Westworld. You can also tap into Discovery’s ambient TV classics like House Hunters and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, perfect for those nights when you just want to turn off your brain or do the dishes with the TV on.

Netflix has a greater overall selection of content with must-see originals of its own, including The Witcher, Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things, and Black Mirror. The OG streaming service also has a constantly rotating library of films and shows, so you always have something new to watch. The platform also has a lot of foreign films you can’t find anywhere else.

This is a tough comparison because both services offer such great exclusives. If you have to choose, go with Max. It’s a slightly better overall choice simply for the huge on-demand library and wide variety of shows and movies.

Netflix Logo





HBO and Warner Bros. Discovery content

On-demand shows and movies


Up to 4K


Up to 4K

Multiple streams

2–4 devices at once

Multiple streams

1–6 + 2 devices at once

Sign UpSign Up

Max (formerly HBO Max) packages

PlanPricingResolutionMultiple streamsDownloadsSign up
With Ads$9.99/mo.Full HDStream on 2 devices at onceN/ASign Up
Ad-Free$15.99/mo.Full HDStream on 2 devices at onceUp to 30Sign Up
Ultimate Ad-Free$19.99/mo.4K Ultra HD when availableStream on 4 devices at onceUp to 100Sign Up

Max has a few plans to choose from, with basically the same features and a similar price as Netflix’s options. There’s budget-friendly plan with ads, a standard plan for ad-free streaming, and the Ultimate plan that gives you more downloads, more devices to stream from, and access to 4K viewing.

Cable packages that include Max

Some cable packages include HBO at no extra cost. A cable package is a great way to get streaming access to HBO without paying extra monthly fees. Here are some cable packages that include HBO:

Netflix packages

PlanPricingResolutionMultiple streamsDownloadsSign up
Standard with Ads$6.99/mo.1080pStream on 1 deviceNoSign Up
Standard$15.49/mo.1080p2NoSign Up
Premium$22.99/mo.4K (on select titles) and 1080p6NoSign Up
Standard w/extra member slot$23.48/mo.*1080p2 + 1YesSign Up
Premium w/extra member slots$30.98/mo.4K (on select titles) and 1080p6 + 2YesSign Up
PlanStandard with Ads
Multiple streamsStream on 1 device
Sign upSign Up
Multiple streams2
Sign upSign Up
Resolution4K (on select titles) and 1080p
Multiple streams6
Sign upSign Up
PlanStandard w/extra member slot
Multiple streams2 + 1
Sign upSign Up
PlanPremium w/extra member slots
Resolution4K (on select titles) and 1080p
Multiple streams6 + 2
Sign upSign Up

With Netflix, you’ll need to decide whether you want to spring for the Premium subscription—with 4K content and up to four simultaneous streams—or stick with Standard (the most popular subscription). We recommend skipping the Standard with Ads plan entirely because ads are no fun these days. Plus, it allows for streaming on only a single device, which can get frustrating.

Keep buffering at a distance:

For the best streaming experience, don’t skimp on your internet plan. You’ll need at least 5 Mbps for reliable HD streaming, and at least 25 Mbps to watch Netflix in 4K.

If it’s time to upgrade your internet service, we can help. Simply enter your ZIP code below to see the best plans in your area.

TV shows and movies

Max (formerly HBO Max) and Netflix both have some outstanding shows and movies that you can’t find anywhere else. How can you choose?

HBO and Discovery original series

Here are some of the most popular originals you can find on Max:

  • Last Week Tonight
  • Game of Thrones
  • Succession
  • Barry
  • Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
  • House Hunters
  • Deadliest Catch
  • Mythbusters

Netflix Originals

Here’s a taste of the Netflix Originals you can look forward to with a Netflix subscription:

  • Black Mirror
  • Narcos
  • Stranger Things
  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • The Witcher
  • The Crown

On-demand shows and movies

Max and Netflix are both on-demand services, so that’s where the bulk of the goodies are at. The main difference is that Max does offer a semi-live TV experience, since new episodes are generally available to stream right when they air on the cable channel.


While it isn’t normally considered a livestreaming service, Max allows you to catch new episodes of shows as they air. The only exceptions to this are shows that are filmed live, like Last Week Tonight and Real Time with Bill Maher. These episodes are usually available to stream within 24 hours of when they air live.


Netflix doesn’t offer live TV programming—everything is available on-demand. And that’s just fine with us! But depending on what you’re into, that could start to feel boring after a while.

Compatible devices

Amazon Fire TV
Apple TV
Roku TV
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Android Mobile
Android TV

You can get Netflix and Max on pretty much everything, including popular choices like Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast. Most users won’t have any trouble finding a device for either service.

Best streaming devices

The device you stream on can be just as important as the service itself. That’s because apps and interfaces vary from one platform to another, so Netflix on an Apple TV may look a bit different from Netflix on another device.

For the best all-around experience, we recommend Apple TV. Nearly every streaming service supports it, so you should be covered with all your streaming services. Plus, you get access to the iTunes Store, which is a great alternative for shows and movies that aren’t available to stream. For future-proofing purposes, we’re fans of the Apple TV 4K.

Resolution and quality

MaxUp to 4K Ultra HD
NetflixUp to 4K Ultra HD

Both Max (formerly HBO Max) and Netflix provide up to 4K streaming quality, but you have to spring for the deluxe, $19.99 per month plans to get video that good. With 4K, your picture is about four times sharper than 1080p—that’s 24 times sharper than a DVD. With TVs getting larger every year, 4K can make for a noticeably better picture.

However, 4K also uses up a ton more data, and most people will be perfectly happy with the 1080p video quality available on Max and Netflix’s standard ad-free plans.

Recommended internet speed

Fast internet is vital to a good streaming experience. You’ll get less buffering on your shows, and it can have a major impact on streaming quality as well (like in the case of Max).

Max recommends at least 5 Mbps per user for streaming reliably.

Netflix recommends these minimum speeds:

  • 3 Mbps per user for SD
  • 5 Mbps per user for HD
  • 25 Mbps per user for 4K

Keep in mind that these are minimum speeds for one instance of streaming. So if you and your kids want to watch different shows, make sure you have enough internet speed (and the right Netflix package) to support multiple streams.

Go faster

Is your internet connection feeling the strain? Learn how much speed you need to support all your online adventures.

Pros and cons


  • Awesome original series
  • Discount on annual plans
  • 4K quality on Ultimate Ad-Free plan


  • Higher price than Netflix for baseline plan
  • Confusing interface following HBO and Warner Bros. Discovery merger
Netflix Logo


  • Wider range of shows and movies
  • Expanding selection of original series and movies
  • Cheaper plan with ads


  • Rotating content
  • Tiered service plans

Why choose just one?

Max and Netflix both offer excellent streaming platforms with outstanding original programming, but the content is totally different. This makes choosing just one much harder. For that reason, we recommend grabbing both if you can swing it. That way you won’t miss out on any of the watercooler conversations about who did what on TV.

FAQ about HBO and Netflix

What is Max?

Max is the streaming service that used to be HBO Max. It combines all of HBO’s content with the library of series and movies from Warner Bros. Discovery. 

How much 4K content is available on Netflix?

Netflix boasts a pretty hefty 4K content library, including big titles like Breaking Bad, The Umbrella Academy, Bird Box, and Mindhunter. And most Netflix Originals are now available in 4K. To find 4K content, search for the terms “4K” or “Ultra HD.” Another way to find it is to keep an eye out for an Ultra HD icon next to shows in the library.

Can you watch HBO shows on Netflix?

Unfortunately, you can’t watch popular HBO titles on Netflix. You have to purchase an HBO subscription through your TV provider, HBO NOW, or an HBO digital channel through another streaming service in order to see why everyone suddenly stopped talking about Game of Thrones after being obsessed with the franchise for a decade.

Curious about other streaming services? Check out our streaming guides.

Author -

Dave has written professionally for tech companies and consumer technology sites for nearly five years, with a special focus on TV and internet. He uses his industry expertise to help readers at get the most out of their services. No matter the project, he prefers his coffee black (the stronger, the better).

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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