What’s missing from HBO MAX at launch?

HBO and WarnerMedia have launched HBO Max, a direct-to-consumer streaming service, offering users all the goodies that former’s standalone HBO Now subscription offers along with a bunch of additional content. HBO Max will include shows and movies from WarnerMedia like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, Wonder Woman, movies from DC films as well as a bunch of new content labeled Max Originals.

Although HBO Max is offering a fairly large library of movies and TV shows with support across multiple platforms, the service still has a few things missing that its competitors provide their customers. In this post, we will talk about some of the attributes that are missing on HBO Max at the moment.

Doesn’t offer 4K or HDR content at the moment

At the time of its launch, HBO Max doesn’t offer any content in 4K resolution or high-dynamic-range support. The service only supports content at up to 1080p Full HD which is not good enough considering that fact the price that you pay for HBO Max is more than what you would do for other streaming services. In contrast, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV+ all offer 4K content and DOLBY HDR, albeit on their top tier plans.

Cannot configure streaming resolution

HBO Max doesn’t offer you a way to select at which resolution you want to watch a show or a movie. This means, if you’re watching it on metered data, you will be unable to select a lower quality stream to save as much data as possible. Likewise, if you’re on a high-speed data, you lack a manual toggle to select a higher streaming quality.

No support for Roku or Fire TV

At the time of its launch, HBO Max will be made available across a multitude of platforms including Android TV, Apple TV, YouTube TV, Google Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, select Samsung TVs and Chromebook. However, there’s no word whether the service would arrive on Amazon Fire TV devices or Roku streaming devices. This in itself is a huge letdown since Roku and Fire TV control more than two-thirds of the OTT market in the US.

Hulu app doesn’t work with HBO Max

HBO Max is available as an add-on for users already subscribed to a Hulu account. However, you cannot access HBO Max from your Hulu app. Instead, you are required to download the HBO Max app on your phone or streaming device to access it using your Hulu credentials.

This means that if you’re browsing through content on Hulu and you want to browse through some on HBO Max or watch them, you cannot directly do so within Hulu. Instead, you will have to open HBO Max to streaming titles available on it, even if you’re using your Hulu credentials. Similarly, you cannot access your regular Hulu content on HBO Max, even if you use your Hulu account on the latter service.

Audio descriptions are unavailable

Popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+ include the option to enable audio descriptions. When enables, users will get to hear audio where inaudible scenes are being narrated. These scenes include facial expressions, physical action, changes in scenery, and more so that they will be able to understand what’s happening inside a show or movie with clarity.

At the time of its launch, HBO Max doesn’t support audio descriptions and there’s no option to switch narration for the content that it offers.

Very short free trial when signing up for the first time

All major streaming services come with free trials for first-time users, meaning new users who are signing up will be able to access shows and movies from the service for the allotted time. Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, and others come with a 30-day free trial during which time the services don’t demand payment from the customer.

Unlike the services mentioned above, HBO Max will only offer a free trial for newcomers for 7 days.

Fails to cover all DC movies and TV Shows

At a glance, HBO Max appears to be a direct rival to last year’s Disney+ streaming service which bundled movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars franchise. HBO’s offering contains titles affiliated to WarnerMedia, i.e., DC, Warner Bros, and Warner Bros. movies.

Unlike Disney+, HBO Max fails to include many popular DC movies, at least during its initial release. This includes:

  • Batman Begins
  • The Dark Knight
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Superman Returns
  • Man of Steel
  • Birds of Prey
  • Watchmen (2009)
  • Constantine (2005)
  • Superman (1978)
  • Superman 2 (1980)
  • Superman 3 (1983)
  • Superman 4 (1987)
  • Batman (1966)
  • Superman and the Mole Men (1951)
  • Batman (1966)
  • Swamp Thing (1982)
  • The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)

Here’s a list of all the DC shows that are also missing from HBO Max:

  • The Flash (2014-present)
  • Arrow (2012-20)
  • Gotham (2004-19)
  • Smallville (2001-11)
  • Batman: The Animated Series
  • Supergirl (2015-present)
  • Legends of Tomorrow (2016-present)
  • Adventures of Superman (1952-58)
  • Wonder Woman (1975-79)
  • Batman (1966-68)
  • Shazam! (1974-76)
  • The Flash (1990-91)
  • Superboy (1988-92)
  • Swamp Thing (1990-93)
  • Lois & Clark (1993-97)
  • And many more titles and animated series

More content missing from its library

Besides the extensive library of DC and Warner Bros. films missing from its catalog, HBO Max also doesn’t include several other popular movies and TV Shows. The following titles (courtesy: Reddit) were advertised to launch with the service but are not currently present:

  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2
  • The Matrix Trilogy
  • Ocean’s Eleven
  • Miss Congeniality
  • Rizzoli & Isles
  • Space Jam
  • The Smurfs
  • The Shining
  • Magic Mike
  • The Bodyguard
  • Austin Powers
  • The Conjuring
  • The Departed
  • The End: Inside the Last Days of the Obama White House
  • 9/11: Fifteen Years Later
  • Gossip Girl
  • And many more TV shows and movies.

Are you still interested to subscribe to HBO Max, despite its shortcomings? Do you think there’s more to what’s missing on the newest streaming service? Let us know in the comments below. 

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