Rabbit season! Duck season!

You may be missing my favorite part of your HBO Max subscription.

John I. Carney
4 min readFeb 4, 2021

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“Eh….. What’s up, doc?”

A while back, WarnerMedia — which is now owned by AT&T — decided to compete head-on with Netflix and Disney+. HBO, which has been WarnerMedia’s flagship TV property, had previously operated two separate streaming services, HBO Go (which was usually tied to having an HBO subscription through your cable or satellite provider) and HBO Now, which could be subscribed to by anyone. The two services primarily offered on-demand streaming of programs and movies from the existing HBO library. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not quite the breadth of programming offered by Netflix or Disney+.

So last year, HBO launched HBO Max, a full-fledged streaming service including not only the HBO content but content from WarnerMedia’s other networks, such as TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and my beloved Turner Classic Movies. There’s new original content being produced directly for HBO Max, without appearing first on the cable channel. Conan O’Brien, some time later in the year, will end his nightly TBS show in favor of a weekly, hour-long show on HBO Max, and HBO Max is already the home of Conan’s acclaimed international travel episodes. (Remember international travel?)

I anxiously awaited HBO Max, and I even signed up for HBO Now in anticipation, understanding that HBO Now subscriptions would convert to HBO Max subscriptions on launch. But when the launch date arrived last May, it turned out that HBO had not reached agreement with Roku, or with Amazon for its Amazon Fire TV devices. Since I use a Roku device for streaming, that meant I could not get HBO Max. I could have continued on with just the HBO Now content, but I was annoyed and cancelled it.

In December, Roku and WarnerMedia resolved their dispute, and I eagerly activated an HBO Max subscription.

There’s a lot of good content, and I don’t take as much advantage of it as I should given what I’m paying for it. I am currently waiting for the next episode of the jaw-dropping documentary “The Lady And The Dale,” and I’m hooked on “Painting With John,” a visual essay about the nature of creativity from musician and artist John Lurie. I’m looking forward to the return of…

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John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at http://www.lakeneuron.com/dislike