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Who doesn’t love a reliable streaming service? You can watch your favorite shows how you please without (or with limited) commercials. You can have a marathon of funny movies or treat yourself to your favorite reality show. The rules are up to you.
However, picking a subscription service is no easy task. You have to examine the different options and compare the content selection, price, and regional availability.
To ebb your struggle choosing a new (or sticking with the same) provider, we’re here to help! We’ve analyzed the similarities and differences between the popular services: HBO Max and Crave.
HBO Max vs. Crave at a glance
Looking to power through all of Adventure Time? Maybe you want to see what the Game of Thrones hype is all about. With HBO Max, you can do both and more.
Founded in May of 2020, HBO Max created a conglomerate of HBO programs, Warner Media content, Adult Swim shows, and exclusive content, to name a few, although the content encapsulated in HBO Max extends well beyond this list.
Like all content pools, HBO Max has its benefits and its downsides.
- Content selection – As mentioned above, HBO Max offers a wealth of content from HBO originals, HBO Max originals, exclusive content, Adult Swim selections, and Cartoon Network programming. The service uploads new movies faster than other streaming services. Sometimes HBO releases films at the same time as their theatrical releases. For example, on October 21, 2021, Dune was released in theaters and on HBO Max. For other films, Business Insider noted HBO Max could upload movies 45 days after their theatrical release date. Other streaming services wait years before they get licensing rights to films.
- Ad-free options – Until recently, the subscription service only offered an ad-free option. Now, viewers can choose between an ad or a no-ad subscription. If you get annoyed when your show is interrupted by a random advertisement, HBO Max has your back. The ad-inclusive subscription costs $9.99 per month with minimal ads an hour and the ad-free subscription costs $14.99 a month. Of course, the ad-free version is more expensive, so you have to ask yourself, how much do you really hate ads?
- Multiple devices – Included in both HBO Max plans, users can watch on multiple devices at once. In fact, you can stream on three separate devices in different locations. Tony in Montana can watch a movie on his laptop, his sister in Florida can watch a show on her phone, and their mom in London can watch an HBO exclusive on her television. The service won’t buffer, and everyone is happy.
- Regionality – At this time, you can only watch HBO Max in Europe, the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. If you stay in those areas, this won’t affect you. However, if you prefer to travel to different countries and have entertainment nights while on vacation, you won’t be able to catch up on Veep. Maybe you have a close family member living in a different country. You might want to talk to them about your new favorite show on HBO Max, but the conversation won’t progress much when they can’t use your login. You can always navigate regional limitations through VPN services, though they cost extra.
- No free trial – Some people find it upsetting when they learn the price of $14.99 (or $9.99) a month does not include a free trial. HBO Max used to have a free trial option; users could test the app for seven days before committing to a monthly payment. However, they did away with that perk in December of 2020. Without a free trial, subscribers won’t know how they feel about the service until they pay the monthly fee.
- Slow to load – During HBO Max original releases, the service’s backend takes a long time to load. For example, season two of Euphoria released at 10 p.m. E.T. every Sunday beginning in January of 2023. If you were to log in to HBO Max at 9:59 and wait for the release, most likely your service would buffer or load in diminished quality due to the high amount of users logged in at that time. If you are someone who likes to watch programs as soon as they come out, this issue will get on your nerves.
The Canadian streaming service opened to users in 2014. The program combines content from different outlets, including HBO, Showtime, original movies, and Crave original shows and films.
- Plenty of choice – Like HBO Max, Crave accounts for a multitude of content. Every interest is piqued by its available selection, and the library grows daily. In addition to the content mentioned above, Crave lists shows and films from MTV, Hulu, and Comedy Central, and the kiddos also have a fair selection to choose from. Crave also receives movies soon after their theatrical releases.
- Streaming options – Crave offers two streaming options to users. If you like to stick to viewing programs on your phone, you can opt for the single-user program: Crave Mobile. Crave Mobile costs $9.99 a month and streams in S.D. quality, and only allows one user per subscription. Crave Total costs $19.99 a month, streams in H.D. quality, and is perfect for families and users who prefer streaming on more than one device.
- Seven-day free trial – Crave wants to ensure its customers get what they pay for. Before agreeing to pay a monthly price for the content, Crave allows viewers to traipse around the platform. From the allotted free period, potential subscribers assess how they feel about the subscription and if they want to move forward with a monthly plan.
- Regionality – This affects Crave as it is only available in Canada. Again, if you don’t travel or don’t watch entertainment while traveling, this might not sway your decision. But, if you regularly leave Canada, you won’t be able to watch your favorite programs without the help of a VPN.
- Lacking in foreign languages – Crave does not cater to many other languages. Since the platform has roots in Canada, right now, French and English are the only available languages. This limits content from other countries, including popular and critically acclaimed foreign films. Similarly, subtitles are available on Crave, but viewers mentioned that they aren’t always reliable, making it difficult for those with hearing issues to enjoy content.
- The price tag – A Crave subscription is higher than most other subscriptions. Crave Total subscription equals $19.99 a month and the mobile option is $9.99, which are expensive plans for a service that only reaches Canada. The price covers a content selection that exceeds other services, and the program allows users to download media to watch without internet access. Simultaneous streaming also affects pricing. Subscribers can stream up to four devices at once and register up to ten a month. You get what you pay for. However, whether it is in your price range or on the high side is a personal choice.
HBO Max vs. Crave – What’s the Difference Between Them?
Shall We Contrast the Two?
Both of these subscriptions rank on the higher side of streaming, but which one provides better content for a better deal? HBO Max serves clients with brand new movies, original shows, high-quality documentaries, old-school cartoons, and even spinoffs of old favorites.
Crave offers original content, reality tv, old music programs, award shows, and kid’s content. Both platforms stream in H.D. and allow users to stream on multiple devices at the same time.
Winner: Both options provide users with quality content, but HBO Max gives you more for your money.
HBO Max said goodbye to its seven-day free trial in 2020, saddening many potential subscribers. Without the ability to test the platform, users must jump full force into their subscriptions.
On the other hand, Crave offers users a seven-day free trial and encourages them to explore the platform, watch their favorite content and make an informed decision before committing to a monthly payment.
Winner: Crave because who doesn’t love a free trial?
Both services have limited reach, Crave only extends throughout Canada, and HBO Max does not reach Canada, but Europe, the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. The languages available differ between the two.
HBO Max has a wider reach, so naturally, it offers content in over 150 languages with reliable subtitles. Since Crave only reaches Canada, its content only serves English and French speakers. Plus, some people claim the Crave subtitles are unreliable.
Winner: With a more inclusive consumer reach and more accessible content, HBO Max wins this one.
Streaming services are taking over the television industry. More people cut their cords than invest in cable. Subscription services have their benefits, but, just like anything, they also have their flaws.
Deciding which service to put time and money into requires a lot of forethought, but with careful consideration, surely you can choose a service that best fits your needs.
Between HBO Max and Crave, HBO Max is the better overall option. If you live in Canada, you won’t be able to subscribe, but Crave is a close runner-up.
So, what are you waiting for? Start streaming today!