Is HBO A TV Channel? (Explained For Beginners)

When people say the show or movie they watched is on HBO, you think of the TV.

Only to find out they were referring to the HBO Max app on smartphones and tablets.

So, what is HBO, and is HBO a TV channel? 

What Exactly is HBO?

HBO is a service offered by WarnerMedia Studios and Networks that offers exclusive and on-demand content to subscribers.

HBO offers different platforms to subscribers around the world to access these contents. It also has sister channels that offer more curated contents that cater to different audiences through pay television.

One of its newer innovations is its entry into the streaming market by offering content-on-demand to users. 

How is HBO Different From a TV Channel?

HBO is more than just a channel you get on cable or satellite TV.

The brand also produces content that’s exclusive to its network or platforms.

On top of that, HBO also offers streaming services for smartphones and smart TVs, wherein subscribers gain access to content at their convenience.

Can You Watch HBO on Regular TV?

You can access HBO on a regular TV only if you subscribe to a cable or satellite TV service that offers HBO in their package.

If subscribing to cable or satellite TV is not your thing, you can try turning your regular TV into a smart TV with streaming sticks, such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming Stick.

These devices are known to be compatible with HBO Max or HBO Go. 

What is HBO Max?

HBO Max is a streaming platform that puts together all of HBO’s content in one app that subscribers may access when convenient for them.

HBO Max has two subscription tiers: one that offers ads and another that comes ad-free.

The ad-free tier costs $14.99 monthly, while the ad-tier goes for $9.99 monthly.

How Does HBO Max Differ from HBO Now and HBO Go?

HBO Max is the newer service that replaced HBO Now and HBO Go.

What sets HBO Max apart is the wider library access that subscribers can watch on HBO Max, and those who have existing subscriptions to HBO Now and HBO Go have been migrated to HBO Max at no extra cost.

With the transition to HBO Max, HBO Now and HBO Go have been deleted from the app stores in the USA.

However, it is worth noting that HBO Go is still used in the Asian market due to copyright restrictions. This is also the reason why HBO Max is not available outside the US.

How Does HBO Compare to Netflix?

On the surface, HBO has an advantage over Netflix, given the different ways you can get HBO.

Netflix is limited to its app or web version, while HBO is available through cable, satellite, or an app subscription.

Netflix has an edge, given its availability globally and its original titles when it comes to content. To date, Netflix has at least 4,500 movies and over 1,100 TV shows available in the US.

HBO Max, meanwhile, has content, a lot of which are from Warner Bros and also content from other companies (some of which are also on Netflix). While that may seem a lot, there are 1,300 movies and 50 TV series on HBO Max.

You can expect HBO Max and Netflix to be available on major platforms, aside from smartphones for device compatibility. Netflix has that slight edge as it is compatible with LG, Vizio, and Playstation.

HBO allows for three simultaneous use regarding the number of users who can use an account. Meanwhile, Netflix bases it on the plan you get, with the highest number of screens at four.

For 4k and HDR streaming, HBO has an edge as it offers 4k HDR streaming on all supported devices, while Netflix only offers it on the Premium plan and must be using a device certified by Netflix for 4k.

Pricing Differences:

  • When it comes to pricing, HBO Max has two tiers: $9.99 and comes with ads and $14.99 without ads.
  • On the other hand, Netflix offers three plans: $8.99 for one screen, $13.99 for three screens, and $17.99, for five screens and access to 4k streaming.

As you can see, HBO Max has an edge with the lower price for its premium plan but is limited to three screens. Its lowest plan costs slightly more than Netflix and comes with ads.

Netflix has a lower entry plan and does not come with ads. The highest plan, however, is more expensive than HBO.

Which One Should you Choose? 

HBO Max is a wiser choice if you’re looking for binge-worthy TV shows.

It also has some of the most popular shows exclusive to HBO, such as Game of Thrones and The Wire.

HBO Max also features direct cinema releases. You get to see theatrical releases of Warner and DC movies as they premiere on the big screen. Yes, that means no need to fall in line in the theater, especially in this time of COVID 19.

There’s also access to the classic movies that HBO has a license to. If you’re looking for those classics that helped define cinema, HBO gives you that.

On the other hand, Netflix is a good choice if you want access to originals from Netflix. These include shows like House of Cards and Money Heist, some of the acclaimed series on the platform.

There’s also a ton of content on Netflix, as they have the largest catalog of programs and films compared to Hulu, HBO, and even Disney Plus.

Almost every genre is covered, so you won’t fall short of titles to watch.

On top of that, you can watch Netflix in other countries, while HBO Max is limited to the US. Even if you use a VPN, HBO can detect if you are using one.

Using a VPN with Netflix, meanwhile, lets you unlock content that’s exclusive to other regions.

What Channel Number is HBO on my TV?

You can find HBO on the following channels:

  • DirectTV and AT&T: 501, 504
  • Comcast Xfinity: 550, 551 (Pacific) 1802, 1803 (Pacific)
  • Charter/Spectrum: 2495
  • Verizon: 49/50
  • Cox Communications: 200 or 1200

What is the Best Way to Watch HBO?

There are plenty of ways to watch HBO, and each has its advantage.

You can watch with a subscription to a cable or satellite TV company that has HBO in its plan.

With this subscription, you get access to HBO Max for free. You can then watch on your smart TV and have the option for HBO or HBO Max through the app.

The HBO Max app is available on Samsung, Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku TV.

HBO Max is compatible with many other devices too, which is where this service shines.

If you’re on the go, you can take advantage of the HBO Max app and watch content anytime you want on your smartphone or tablet.

You can also take HBO Max to your web browser on your Windows or Mac computer.

HBO Max is also compatible with the Microsoft Xbox, so that’s another way of watching it if you prefer consolidating your entertainment system into one device.

If your TV isn’t compatible with HBO Max, you can still use the Roku Stick, Fire TV Stick, or Chromecast to watch HBO Max.

If you’re looking for a consolidated system, you can also get HBO Max on Hulu, YouTube TV, and Amazon Prime, which costs the same as the ad-free subscription, but with some limitations.

As pointed out earlier, there are different ways of watching HBO, most notably through the HBO Max service.

Sources:

About HBO

HBO Max vs. Netflix: How to choose when you can’t afford both

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