When HBO Max hit the scene in May 2020, it wasn’t long before the new streaming service started to pick up steam. Thanks to an incredible backlog of original content, not to mention new additions like Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, HBO Max was able to hit the ground running. Just eight months after its debut, the cumulative number of HBO Max and HBO subscribers in the US topped 41.5 million. Equally as important, HBO Max finally brought some cohesiveness to HBO’s slate of offerings by reducing the confusion that arose from regular HBO subscriptions, HBO Now, and HBO Go.
In a world where you typically get what you pay for, HBO Max doesn’t exactly come cheap. With a single subscription plan priced at $14.99, HBO Max is more expensive than Netflix and Hulu. Still, HBO’s massive content library — which now includes the immensely popular Zack Snyder’s Justice League — offers up a compelling value proposition for TV and movie fans alike. That said, if you’re not in a position to fork over $14.99/month, or even if you’d rather take HBO Max for a test-spin before signing on the dotted line, there are a few strategies you can use to watch HBO Max for free, if only for a limited time.
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The first thing you may want to be on the lookout for is a free HBO Max trial. While HBO itself doesn’t offer a free promotional trial anymore, Hulu subscribers can try HBO Max for free for one week by signing up over here. After seven days, your credit card will be charged an additional $14.99/month if you don’t cancel.
It’s no secret that HBO has an incredible slate of originals, a list that includes The Wire, Silicon Valley, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, and much more. That said, HBO often makes the pilot episodes from some of its biggest hit shows available for free to everyone. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of watching some of HBO’s top-tier content, this is a great way to dip your toe in the water and see if you’re up for getting a full subscription.
HBO has made things easy by putting together a Free Episodes section that you can access and peruse. To HBO’s credit, they’ve even made pilot episodes from their Emmy award-winning shows available for free, including Watchmen, Succession, and Euphoria.
DigitalTrends also points out that you might already have free access to HBO Max depending on who your cable provider is:
Warner Media, the company that owns HBO, is in turn owned by AT&T. Due to the close ownership of these three companies, AT&T will typically offer HBO as a free or discounted service to its customers. If you are an AT&T Unlimited Elite customer, HBO Max is included with your subscription. Additionally, DirecTV is owned by AT&T, so users signing up for their Choice or Ultimate packages will receive a year of HBO Max for no cost. If you’re already a member of one of these services, you may have access to HBO without even knowing it.
Similarly, you can also get HBO Max for free by signing up for certain AT&T internet plans. Depending on the plan, HBO Max is included free for either a year or indefinitely.
And lastly, you can watch HBO Max for free simply by getting a password from a friend or family member. It’s a time-honored pastime that may not be around forever in light of reports that streaming giants like Netflix and HBO are exploring ways to curtail massive password sharing.
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