NBC's Peacock streaming service offers up to 13,000 hours of live TV channels, films, television classics, and next-day access to current shows for free, with limited ads. You can also upgrade to a monthly plan for even more hours of exclusive content.
New kid on the block
HBO Max boasts a massive streaming library that includes more than 10,000 hours of premium film and television content from HBO and WarnerMedia. Like HBO GO and HBO NOW, which the streaming service replaced, HBO Max is ad-free.
The one to beat
While both Peacock and HBO Max offer new and classic content for affordable fees, Warner Bros.' decision to release its almost entire 2021 theatrical roster on HBO Max might give the service an edge. Alternatively, Peacock offers a more varied selection in its content library, specifically in live sports content and comedy. So, which is the better fit for you?
Peacock vs. HBO Max: Prices and features
One thing to consider when deciding whether Peacock or HBO Max is the better service for you is the different pricing tiers. In addition to its free, ad-supported option — which features 13,000 hours of content — Peacock offers a Premium ad-supported tier for $5 a month, which increases the content library to 20,000 hours. The ad-free Peacock Premium Plus plan also includes the full media library for $10 a month. If you're not sure which play to choose, you can sign-up for a free seven-day trial to test drive the Premium and Premium Plus plans.
Meanwhile, HBO Max offers an ad-supported plan for $9.99 a month and an ad-free plan for $15 a month. The ad-supported plan includes most of the same content available on the $14.99 tier, but it include access to same-day theatrical releases. Subscribers to the cheaper plan also don't have the ability to stream 4K content or to download movies or series for offline viewing.
While HBO Max initially offered a free trial period, the streaming service discontinued that option after announcing its exclusive film deal with Warner Bros. That being said, HBO Max offers a 20% discount to subscribers who choose to pay for six months of the service in advance.
|Header Cell - Column 0||HBO Max (ads)||HBO Max (ad-free)||Peacock Free||Peacock Premium||Peacock Premium Plus|
|Profile limit per account||5||5||6||6||6|
Another key feature for any streaming service is the number of profiles and devices each household is allowed on a given platform. Peacock currently allows users within the same household to create up to six separate profiles, while HBO Max enables subscribers to add a total of five separate profiles per household. Both services also allow subscribers to stream on up to three different devices simultaneously and offer two types of profiles: adult and kid. On both Peacock and HBO Max, the kid profile allows parental controls to limit what content can be watched.
Currently, both 4K video streaming and HDR video streaming are restricted to those with a Peacock Premium or Premium Plus subscription. Similarly, HBO Max users did not have access to 4K and HDR 10 until the premiere of Wonder Woman 1984 in December 2020. That film was also released with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, and HBO Max announced plans to add more 4K content to its library in 2021. However, viewers accessing HBO Max should know that streaming in 4K HDR is only possible if you have the ad-free plan, as well as a TV that supports those features and an internet connection fast enough to stream video files that large.
Peacock vs. HBO Max: Battle of the media libraries
At launch, Peacock's Premium and Premium Plus tiers offered roughly 20,000 hours of content spanning btoh film and television. Among the content available are a variety of NBC classics, such as The Office and Law & Order, as well as newer series like Girls5Eva and Yellowstone. You can also expect to find late night TV programs such as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Amber Ruffin Show.
While HBO Max's more modest library features roughly 10,000 hours of content, the platform's landmark deal with Warner Bros. means it will be the exclusive platform to see 17 blockbuster films when they premiere in 2021. These titles include Zack Snyder's Justice League, In the Heights, The Matrix 4, and Space Jam: A New Legacy. Additionally, HBO Max rolled out 31 Max Originals series in 2020 — including the Kaley Cuoco-led The Flight Attendant — with plans to expand to 50 series in 2021.
|iOS & iPadOS||✔️||✔️|
|Smart TVs||Vizio and LG||FireTV TVs|
Samsung (2016 and later)
One of HBO Max's biggest perks is its exclusive rights to premier HBO original series like Lovecraft Country, Westworld, True Detective, Band of Brothers, The Wire, Chernobyl, The Sopranos, Veep, and Deadwood. As if that wasn't enough, WarnerMedia parent company AT&T also bought the exclusive streaming rights for fan-favorite shows, including Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Rick and Morty, and The West Wing.
Meanwhile, Peacock stands out for its inclusion of CBS-affiliated programming like Ray Donovan, The Affair, and Undercover Boss. It's also home to 700 Universal and Paramount films, including select Fast & Furious installments, and the Bourne and Harry Potter franchises. It also beats out HBO Max regarding sports content as the exclusive streamer of the English Premier League and the Olympics.
|Hours of content available||20,000||10,000+|
|Notable Original Series||The Office|
|The Flight Attendant|
Mare of Easttown
|Notable Films||Bourne franchise|
Psych 2: Lassie Come Home
Harry Potter franchise
|Wonder Woman 1984|
Judas and the Black Messiah
As of March 2021, Peacock subscribers can also stream all of the content produced by the WWE Network, which is now part of NBC's streaming platform. Peacock Premium members also have access to live pay-per-view events like Wrestlemania and SummerSlam. WWE fans might also want to consider upgrading to the Peacock Premium Plus tier, which costs $9.99 per month and offers all the same content but commercial-free, as well as the ability to watch select titles while offline.
Peacock vs. HBO Max: Which one should you pick?
Unfortunately, there's no clear-cut answer when picking the better service between Peacock and HBO Max. Peacock offers a free tier and provides access to the middle tier for free to Comcast subscribers, as well as more variety in family-friendly, on-demand, and live content. In contrast, HBO Max having the rights to the newest blockbuster films from Warner Bros. may be enough to sway you in that direction. Its content library is also more exclusive, mature, and critically-acclaimed. The new ad-supported HBO Max plan also makes the premier service more affordable. However, it really depends on personal preference.
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Peacock is the right service for viewers looking to rewatch The Office and various other classic NBC content. The service also offers the best in late-night talk shows, sports, and more.
The blockbuster bet
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HBO Max is the place to go for edgy HBO originals, exclusive film releases, and the highest-quality streaming experience.
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Keegan Prosser is a freelance contributor based in the PNW. When she's not writing about her favorite streaming apps and devices for Android Central, she's listening to a true-crime podcast, creating the perfect playlist for her next road trip, and trying to figure out which fitness tracker she should try next. You can follow her on Twitter @keeganprosser.