Here's how to access the hottest streaming service HBO Max from the UK or anywhere else in the world
HBO Max is fast staking its claim as one of the best streaming services, along with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus. The best feature of the service is that it’s the only platform that gets some blockbuster movies on the day of their theatrical release. Unfortunately, though, HBO Max is only available if you live in the US which means that you can’t access it from abroad unless you use a good VPN service, like ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
Apart from Wonder Woman 1984 that released on 25 December 2020, HBO Max is slated to get many of 2021’s biggest blockbuster films – including Mortal Kombat, Dune, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Matrix 4, The Suicide Squad and Godzilla vs Kong – on their release date.
With many people still sceptical of venturing back into cinemas because of the coronavirus pandemic, HBO Max seems to be the best – and safest – option for now if you want to watch these movies at a time when you would have otherwise watched them in the cinema. Even though HBO Max is slated to launch in Europe in the latter half of 2021, European regions won’t get movies on their release date.
Regardless of whether you live in the US or elsewhere in the world, there’s an easy way to access the service and its vast catalogue of brilliant films, TV shows and originals. We’ll first tell you what the new streaming service is, how it differs from other HBO services and what content is available before telling you how to watch it abroad.
What is HBO Max and how much does it cost?
HBO Max is a streaming service that launched in the US on 27 May, 2020, for $15/mth with a seven-day free trial. The service is competing with the likes of established rivals including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney Plus – many of whom have had a huge headstart in the streaming space and are cheaper. So why does HBO Max cost so much –and it is worth subscribing to?
HBO Max is a combination of AT&T WarnerMedia’s vast expire, which includes HBO, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, DC Entertainment, CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, The CW, Crunchyroll and Adult Swim. In addition to this, the new streaming service has (or had) the entire Harry Potter collection, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, shows from the BBC, Studio Ghibli and titles from the Criterion Collection.
HBO vs HBO Max vs HBO Now vs HBO Go
HBO is the premium, paid cable-TV channel that you need to purchase through your TV provider who will add it to your existing package for an additional fee. If you have an existing subscription to the above channel, then you get HBO Go free. This is a website and streaming app that lets you access HBO from your devices, in addition to your TV.
HBO Now is a standalone streaming service that costs $15/mth and – until recently – was your only way to access HBO if you didn’t have the channel. It offers the same content as HBO Go. HBO Max is the new streaming service that includes everything available on HBO Now, as well as blockbuster movies from Warner Bros (including all the Harry Potter movies), popular TV shows like Friends and Big Bang Theory, Studio Ghibli titles, classic films and Cartoon Network shows. If you have an existing HBO Now subscription, you can switch to HBO Max for $12/mnth.
HBO Max: Films, TV shows and Originals
Films: The Dark Knight trilogy, A Star is Born, The Matrix trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, City of God, Citizen Kane, Jaws, Mad Max Fury Road, Pulp Fiction
TV shows: Friends, Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, The Bachelor, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, The O.C., Chernobyl, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Looney Tunes, The Wire, Watchmen
Originals: Love Life (romcom starring Anna Kendrick), Legendary (ball dance competition series), Craftopia (hosted by YouTube sensation LaurDIY), Looney Tunes Cartoons, Sesame Workshop’s The Not Too Late Show With Elmo.
Is HBO Max available in the UK?
HBO Max isn’t available in the UK but WarnerMedia is looking to expand the service to Latin America and Europe in the future. The service may follow in the footsteps of Disney Plus that launched in the US in November 2019, before launching in the UK in March 2020. Disney Plus has quickly gained nearly 100 million subscribers worldwide, despite launching at a time when most people are already committed to multiple streaming services. The pandemic obviously helped it, but Disney Plus has slowly rolled out to most countries across the globe and they seem to be expanding their library, most recently with the addition of all the Star content that will be coming to the network on 23 February, 2021 in the UK.
READ NEXT: An in-depth review of Disney Plus
How to watch HBO Max in the UK and abroad: use a good VPN service
As we mentioned earlier, HBO Max is only available in the US at the moment. The only way you can access the new streaming service from outside the US is by using a VPN. Short for “virtual private network”, a VPN lets you secure all your browsing traffic by creating an encrypted tunnel between your PC and the server you’re trying to access. In short, this means that no one – not even your ISP – will be able to know what you’re doing online.
Apart from a myriad of security features, one of the best VPN uses is the ability to “virtually” change your browsing location to anywhere in the world. So, to watch HBO Max, for example, you can simply select the US within your VPN and your PC will think that you’re browsing from within the US even if you’re located in the UK or anywhere else in the world.
READ NEXT: The best VPN services
While there are several VPN services that are often free or cheap, we only recommend a select few because of their combination of speed and built-in security features. Thankfully, none of them cost a fortune on a long-term plan; you can use them on multiple devices at a time, and they all come with a 30-day moneyback guarantee if you’re unhappy for whatever reason. These are our top two VPN services that let you stream HBO Max from abroad.
ExpressVPN: Among all the VPN service we’ve used ExpressVPN is the fastest and safest, which means you can guarantee lag-free HBO Max streams from anywhere in the world. It’s one of the few services that has conducted an independent audit to prove that it doesn’t store or share any user data. The service has 24/7 online customer support, a no-questions-asked moneyback guarantee and our readers get three months free when they choose the one year plan.
NordVPN: NordVPN shares the same characteristics as ExpressVPN, including fast and secure servers, 24/7 customer service and an independent audit to back up its no-logs claims. While ExpressVPN can be used on five devices at the same time, NordVPN can be used on six. It also has a 30-day moneyback guarantee and comes with a huge 70% saving if you choose its three-year subscription plan.
How to watch HBO Max in the UK and abroad on your PC
Provided you have a credit card issued in the US, it’s easy to access HBO Max and start streaming its vast library of content. If you don’t have a US credit card, skip to the section below to find out how to watch HBO Max on your device. That process lets you eventually stream the service on your PC as well.
How to watch HBO Max in the UK and abroad on your Android or iOS device
If you don’t have a credit card issued in the US, then your only other option to watch HBO Max is to subscribe to the service on your Android phone or tablet, iPhone or iPad. This process is slightly longer, but it’s something you can use to access all American streaming services, including American Netflix, Hulu and even Disney Plus US.
- Install the free ExpressVPN or NordVPN app on your Android or iOS device.
- Log in to your VPN account and change your country to the US.
- If you’re on Android, open the Chrome browser and create a new Google account; iOS users will need to create a new Apple ID.
- When creating an account, remember to select the US as your country – not the actual country you’re based in.
- After you finish, switch to using this new account as your primary one. Doing this will give you access to the US Play Store/App Store.
- Search for and install the HBO Max app and create an account. When prompted for your method of payment, choose PayPal or your Google/Apple account, so you don’t need to provide a US billing address.
- Once your HBO Max account is verified, you can then use a VPN on your PC or any other device to log in to HBO Max and access its content.