Finding Value for Money to Satisfy Your Streaming Needs

  • HBO Max and Paramount Plus are both still relatively fresh and exciting streaming services.
  • The offers differ and so do the customers as a direct consequence.
  • We now compare the content, delivery, as well as costs in a brief yet detailed overview.

Video on demand has never been as versatile as it is today. The offer we get through different services is certainly a good thing. However, it is often a headache to choose between them and this is especially true for first-time users. HBO Max and Paramount Plus quickly became heavyweights with quality products but boast quite different approaches. We now take a closer look at the pros and cons in an attempt to help you decide between the two.

Content: What You Can Watch

HBO Max probably wins this round for many of the aficionados. WarnerMedia has gone to great lengths in an attempt to make a boom and HBO Max sees fresh titles added on the regular too. From HBO Originals to exclusive access to Warner Bros. movies on the day of theatrical releases, you get it all.

You are bound to be happy with HBO Max if you have a favorite original series in mind or you’re a DC Universe fan. Still, there’s plenty more to look out for, with evergreens such as Friends and The Big Bang Theory topping the list. Android Authority’s recent article shows off all HBO Max has to offer with a list to make your jaw drop. But there is a downer! HBO Max is geo-blocked and only available in the USA due to content distribution policies and rights. However, by obtaining a US IP address with the help of a VPN, you can watch HBO Max in Canada, Australia or anywhere around the globe.

Paramount Plus is a successor to CBS All Access and as such, it focuses on the same thing. CBS, Comedy Central, and MTV serve as headliners with many Paramount Pictures studios’ movies added to the well-rounded offer. You can also see a list of the best shows available according to Rotten Tomatoes here. However, live sports and news on CBS channels are the major selling point at the cost.

Star Trek certainly attracts attention in the catalog but titles like the Anchorman series, Interstellar, Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible blockbusters, and Resident Evil are all to catch your eye among many others at your fingertips. Add the likes of Picard, Chappelle’s Show, and Key & Peele to have something for just about anybody despite the less exciting originals.

Delivery: How You Watch It

HBO Max offers a dark purple design on both its web interface and mobile apps, making it easy on the eyes with a generally pleasing look. It’s very intuitive too, with Search at the top, major Categories on the left-hand side, and a well-organized My profile section. Apps do well to avoid cramping the screen too, with the hidden menu and three main buttons at the bottom. You can obviously watch and personalize HBO Max on your Smart-TV too as well as on Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

Now on to our experience with ads! HBO Max promised an ad-light experience with the ad-supported plan and it feels like they delivered. With about four minutes of ads per hour, many rate HBO Max approach fitting and we agree. Still, you could be left asking why paying the same amount brings an ad-free experience elsewhere but more on that below.

On the other hand, Paramount Plus offers a similarly dark theme and simplicity many users enjoy when streaming. With slightly more on your screen, you’d be surprised that both the web interface and the mobile apps lack some standard options when streaming. Most notably, you will not be able to create a Watchlist to go through and this is what bugged many with CBS All Access too.

An ad-supported plan is what you would expect. No more and no less. However, the problem is you get some ads with the Paramount Plus Premium plan too, even with Originals. As John Finn of Streaming Clarity goes into great detail here, ads can generally be skipped but they are still there. This can be irritating especially if you are only a couple of minutes into a Late Night Show.

Costs: What You Pay For It

This round goes to Paramount Plus. While you could argue the value, there is no denying Paramount Plus is more affordable. The Essential Plan has a monthly fee of $4.99 or an annual subscription at $49.99, where you save 16% or $9.89 to be exact. It’s important to note this plan does not offer local CBS stations but NFL and UEFA Champions League action is still available.

Premium Plan is available at $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year, with 16% savings again. This includes all live TV channels available and offers top quality in it, with 4K streaming and HDR10 support in comparison to the Essential Plan. We will say it again, though, this is an ad-light experience rather than no ads whatsoever.

HBO Max Ad-Free Plan will cost you $14.99 a month or an annual subscription of $149.99. It boasts downloading content as its major selling point aside from no ads, 4K streaming, and using the app when traveling outside the US. The ad-supported plan, on the other hand, is $9.99/month or $99.99 a year if you want to save almost $20 with the annual subscription.

Final Thoughts: What Should You Choose?

Quite interestingly, both Paramount Plus and HBO Max were among the top 5 fastest growing brands among adults in 2021, according to Morning Consult. Paramount Plus topped the list while HBO Max took the 4th spot but Gen Z and Millennials largely preferred ViacomCBS service, as per the same report. Search for live sports could certainly be behind such stats.

In their in-depth HBO Max review, Rolling Stone states the service is most worth it for their catalog and exclusives to hit the screens together with theatrical premieres. We could agree but Paramount has its strong suits too and it ultimately comes down to your preferences when all is said and done.