HBO Max, after a bumpy launch a year ago, is building momentum: The long-delayed Friends reunion is finally available to stream, Max’s cheaper $10-a-month subscription tier supported by ads is launching next week, and the service is streaming big new movies as soon as they hit theaters. Next up will be the next movie in The Conjuring franchise, on June 4, followed by the musical In the Heights on June 11. (Don’t come to HBO Max looking to stream A Quiet Place Part II, though — it’s not one of the movies streaming same-day on Max.)
But HBO Max has killed its weeklong free trial. That means if you want to stream the Friends reunion, other Max originals or any of the Warner Bros. movies on its 2021 slate — including Matrix 4 or Dune later this year — you’ll either need to pay for a Max subscription or figure out if your regular HBO subscription includes a free upgrade to a Max account.
That less expensive, ad-supported version of HBO Max, coming to the US next week, will add commercials to its programming in exchange for a $5 discount to its now $15-a-month subscription price. The new tier is missing a big draw, however: It won’t have any of those new Warner Bros. movies when they first come out. If you want to stream those films, you have to subscribe to the pricier, ad-free level.
The cheaper tier will have the Friends reunion, though, and the $10-a-month option should become available within days of the Friends’ special’s premiere. HBO Max hasn’t confirmed the cheaper tier’s exact launch date yet, but it’s expected midweek, which would put it sometime around June 1-3.
Here are answers to the latest big questions about HBO Max.
How do I watch the Friends reunion special?
The Friends two-hour reunion special is only available to watch by streaming it on HBO Max, which requires a subscription to access.
If you aren’t already a subscriber, see the section below for info on how to sign up and whether you qualify for Max at no added cost as part your regular HBO subscription.
If you’re already a member, the special is easy to find on Max — it’s getting heavy promotion within the app. But if for some reason you don’t see it plastered all over your personal interface, simply search for Friends and tap on Friends: The Reunion.
What channel is the Friends reunion special on?
It’s… not on a channel. The Friends reunion is only on HBO Max, which is a streaming service that doesn’t have any channel on regular TV or cable.
However, HBO Max’s owner, WarnerMedia, is experimenting with putting some other HBO Max originals on channels like TBS and TNT over the summer, a strategy it’s calling Front Row. The Friends Reunion Special isn’t among them, and WarnerMedia hasn’t even hinted that the Friends reunion would widen to regular TV in this way (or in any other way). But Front Row does set some precedent for other HBO Max exclusives widening to regular TV channels…Read more>>