Just when I thought Netflix and Disney+ were all I needed, HBO Max knows right where to hit me.

Three words: Friends. Is. Back.

When the new HBO Max streaming service kicks off in May, it’ll be the exclusive home to Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross — and their upcoming unscripted Friends reunion special.

So is HBO Max worth it? If you’re a Friends fan, you’ll want to pay attention.


Friends will stream on the new $15/month HBO Max service.

And not just the Friends reunion — the complete series. HBO Max’s $14.99/month price tag is pretty high, especially compared to HBO Max’s streaming competitors:

Netflix: $9-$16/month
Disney+: $5.83-$7/month
Hulu: $6-$12/month
CBS All Access: $6/month
NBC/Comcast’s upcoming Peacock service: $5-$10/month
Apple TV Plus: $4.17-$5/month


Only want Friends? Get a box DVD set and a trial subscription.

The DVD box set of the entire Friends series costs $69.99 — equal to almost five months of an HBO Max subscription.

If HBO Max follows other streaming services and the HBO Now service, they’ll offer a free 7-day trial. Get the box set, sign up for the trial, and enjoy the Friends reunion special. (Just make sure you cancel before the week is up.)


HBO Max will have more content than Disney+, but not nearly as much as Netflix.

HBO Max boasts 10,000 hours of content, including Warner Bros. films, all the HBO originals like Game of Thrones and gobs of TV shows — like Friends.

Compare that to 763 hours on Disney+, 15,000 hours on Peacock, 10,000+ TV episodes on CBS All Access, and a whopping 35,000 content hours on Netflix.


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HBO Now users can become HBO Max users.

HBO Now subscribers who are billed by HBO can change over their existing $14.99/month accounts into HBO Max accounts.

No details yet on how/if it’ll work for viewers who get HBO Now through third parties like Roku, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple TV. HBO promises more info closer to the May launch.



Have HBO on cable? You might get HBO Max for free.

If you are one of the 10 million people who get HBO through an AT&T-owned pay-TV package, you’ll get it for free. That includes:

Certain AT&T wireless customers who added the premium channel


If you don’t already have cable, though, don’t get it now.

The average base price of a cable bill is $157/month. Getting HBO adds $5-$20 per month to a standard cable package. Not worth it — there are so many cheaper options.


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You could always just watch reruns.

If you already have the TBS channel through cable or a service like Sling TV for YouTube TV, Friends reruns air from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

And hey — I found the Friends spin-off, Joey, streaming on Dailymotion for free.


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Is the 'Friends' Reunion Worth an HBO Max Subscription?