HBO Max vs. Netflix in 2023

By Tara K• Edited by Desiree Wu • Updated Feb 06, 2023

Source: David Baley via Unsplash

HBO Max vs Netflix 2023: Which service is better for you?

HBO Max and Netflix are two giants in the world of on-demand streaming services. Of course, it comes as no surprise that Netflix is the more popular choice—the #1 streaming service in the world had a whopping 231 million subscribers by the end of Q4 2022. However, could Netflix’s reign soon be coming to an end?

HBO Max launched in 2020, and its subscriber amount has been steadily increasing quarter over quarter since. By Q4 2022, the streaming service has about 81 million subscribers, which is quite impressive. A lot of this success can be attributed to hit series’ like Game of Thrones, Euphoria, and House of the Dragon.

So which is better for you? In this article, we put the two streaming services against each other in the categories of price, content libraries, and important features. Let’s dive straight in!

HBO Max and Netflix Compared?

HBO MaxNetflix
Base PriceAd-supported: $9.99/month
Ad-free: $14.99/monthBasic: $9.99/month

Standard: $15.49/month Premium: $19.99/month | | Free Trial | None | None | | Simultaneous Streams | 3 | 1 with Basic, 2 with Standard, 4 with Premium | | On-Demand Content | 10,000+ hours | 17,000+ titles | | Live Channels | None | None | | Local Channels | None | None | | Sports Channels | None | None |

Pricing and Plans

When it comes to pricing, HBO Max and Netflix are within the same ballpark. One gives where the other lacks, so the better option would depend on your needs and preferences.

HBO Max offers 2 different subscription plans: one that’s ad-supported, and one that’s ad-free. Pretty much everything else between the two plans remains the same.


$9.99 / month
HBO Original Series
Blockbuster Movies

HBO Max (No Ads)

$15.99 / month
HBO Original Series
Blockbuster Movies

Netflix operates a bit differently with its plans. The Basic plan allows you to watch and download titles on up to 1 device at a time, and supports HD viewing. The Standard plan allows you to watch and download titles on up to 2 devices at a time, and supports Full HD viewing. The Premium plan allows you to watch and download titles on up to 4 devices at a time, and supports Ultra HD viewing.

Hit movies, TV shows, and more.
Ads included

Netflix Basic

$9.99 / month
Hit movies, TV shows, and more.

Netflix Standard

$15.49 / month
Hit movies, TV shows, and more.
HD available
2 screens at the same time

Netflix Premium

$19.99 / month
Hit movies, TV shows, and more.
Ultra HD available
4 screens at the same time

Which has the better on-demand library?

This is a tough one. Both Netflix and HBO Max have incredible on-demand libraries, filled with their own award-winning original programming, popular series, and blockbuster films, and classic flicks.

HBO Max dominates in the fantasy category. They carry the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, Godzilla, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, and more. They also have episodes of hit fantasy series’ like Game of Thrones, Westworld, House of the Dragon, and His Dark Materials, just to name a few. So if you’re looking to get lost in another world, HBO Max may be the better choice for you.

But fantasy isn’t all HBO Max has to offer—hit shows like Euphoria, The Sex Lives of College Girls, The White Lotus, Sex and the City, and more are available on the streaming service.

Netflix, on the other hand, is a total powerhouse when it comes to pumping out new original programming. Other streaming services simply can’t keep up. From hit shows like Squid Game, Stranger Things, and the new Addams Family spin-off Wednesday, to blockbuster films like Red Notice, Don’t Look Up and Bird Box. There are over 17,000+ titles across various genres, so no matter who’s watching, there will always be something on the menu.

Do both services have a free trial?

Neither HBO Max nor Netflix offer a free trial at this time.

HBO Max may offer more options through other streaming services, though. For example, when you sign up for the DirecTV Stream Premier package, you get 2 months of HBO Max free with your subscription.

Other features compared

There are a few other important features to consider when deciding between HBO Max and Netflix.

Cloud DVR

Neither HBO Max nor Netflix offer DVR, since neither streaming service offers live streaming, meaning there’s no reason you would need to record content.

HBO Max’s ad-free plan lets you download 30 titles onto your device at a time for offline viewing. Netflix’s ad-free plan lets you download 100 titles onto your device at a time for offline viewing. This amount is a total for the entire plan—not per viewer.

So if you have 3 people watching on HBO Max, and each person downloads 10 titles onto their devices, you’ve reached the maximum.

Simultaneous Streams

HBO Max offers 3 simultaneous streams with both its ad-supported and ad-free packages. For the same price point as HBO Max’s most expensive plan, Netflix only allows you to stream on 2 devices at a time. You can pay a bit more to get 4 streams at a time with Netflix’s Premium plan.

Supported Devices

You can pretty much watch both Netflix and HBO Max on almost any device you could conjure up. Check out Netflix’s full supported device list here and HBO Max’s here.

Our Verdict: Netflix is better than HBO Max

Overall, this was a tough match-up. Both Netflix and HBO Max are strong competitors in the VOD streaming space.

As it stands today, Netflix takes the win because it simply has way more content than HBO Max, both when it comes to licensing agreements and original programming. You can also pay a bit more to get 4 streams, which is slightly better than HBO Max’s 3 device limit.

However, HBO Max is still relatively new, and it has been growing at a steady rate since it launched in 2020. We wouldn’t be surprised if this time next year, the roles have reversed and HBO Max becomes the winner between these two.

With some award-winning originals and a ton of exclusive popular content in its library, as well as being the reigning champion in the fantasy genre, HBO Max is still worth checking out if you like good TV—and want to try something new.

Tara KhudairiAuthor

Tara Khudairi is a freelance content writer and copywriter based in Toronto. Since 2014, she has contributed to brands and blogs alike to tackle popular topics relating to technology, personal finance, entertainment, travel and lifestyle. Whether it’s the latest streaming service or cryptocurrency, she’s passionate about making the complex simple. When she’s not busy typing away, you’ll find Tara watching Netflix’s latest true crime doc or a classic 90’s horror flick.

Desiree WuEditor

Desiree is a content editor and a full-time Honours Business Administration student at Ivey Business School at Western University. Desiree is based in London, Ontario.

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