How Max became our Streaming Service of the Year and beat Netflix

 The Max app screen showing a range of shows, with a TechRadar Choice Awards logo over it.
The Max app screen showing a range of shows, with a TechRadar Choice Awards logo over it.

When considering what to choose as our streaming winners at the TechRadar Choice Awards 2023, sponsored by Norton, one thing that was front and center in in discussions is that services are getting more expensive. Netflix just announced a new price hike, and that comes on the heels of a password sharing crackdown that boosted the streamer’s subscriber base by nine million, and its profits by 20%.

With prices going up – and Netflix is not alone here, as Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, and Amazon Prime Video have all recently raised subscription costs – viewers wanting to cut back will undoubtedly be looking at which of the best streaming services balances a broad range of options with streaming quality and price, and that service in our opinion is Max.

Max launched as a new offering in May of this year after Warner Bros. Discovery decided to merge its HBO Max and Discovery Plus properties into one mega-streaming service. That consolidation did result in a price increase for HBO Max subscribers but, after surveying the greatly expanded library, it’s hard to argue that Max doesn't still provide great value for the money.

We’re not alone in our admiration for Max: it was recently voted the most popular streaming service in a survey of 2,000 US viewers, and its original shows continue to earn highly favorable critical reviews.

To name just a few of those shows, recent additions to the Max catalog include large-scale productions such as The Last of Us and The White Lotus, along with intimate dramas like the Steven Soderbergh-directed Full Circle and dark comedies like Barry. Max is also a good stop for documentaries, offering up the engaging Telemarketers and The Vow, along with the quirky and surreal slice-of-NYC-life series How To with John Wilson.

Max is undeniably a prime destination for movies, with a wide range of genres including horror, sci-fi, drama, action, and classics well-represented in its extensive catalog. Movie fans new to the service need only start to casually browse its movie selections and their queue will soon be packed with great titles to watch, which is a key reason why Max is also our pick for the best streaming service for movies 2023.

What else is on Max? The Discovery Plus merger added countless lifestyle-oriented shows from TLC, Food Network, HGTV and other popular cable TV channels, and there’s Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, and Studio Ghibli for animation fans. Beyond that, there’s now live news from CNN, another Warner Bros. Discovery property. The service also recently added a live sports add-on option that’s been showing post-season Major League Baseball games, and these will be followed by matches from the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association.

Max is a high-quality streaming option as well, with movies including Avatar: The Way of Water, Dune, The Batman, and The Matrix series screening in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos soundtracks. But it's not just blockbusters that get a high-quality presentation as many other movies on Max are streamed in 4K HDR with dolby Atmos or 5.1-channel audio. If you’re watching with one of the best 4K TVs and also own a Dolby Atmos soundbar, your eyes and ears will be happy.

The days when viewers would indiscriminately subscribe to any new streaming service that came along are coming to an end. Streaming costs are having a real impact on household budgets, and hard choices need to be made. Max is a streaming service that offers, basically, something for everyone, whether your preference is for movies, prestige dramas, vintage TV, or, with the recent add-ons, sports and news. It’s our choice for streaming service of the year 2023, and looking at the competitive landscape, it was an easy decision to make.

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