Discovery Plus vs Max: The Differences (And How To Choose)

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Discovery Plus and Max are similar streaming services in the sense that there are both owned by Warner Bros. Discovery and there is some overlap in content. However, they are very different subscription services, and those differences will ensure that they continue to appeal to very different users.

Max launched in May 2023 as a direct replacement for HBO Max. One of the big selling points, and reasons for HBO being dropped from the name, was the increased amount of non-HBO content that’s now available through Max, including Discovery content.

Discovery Plus has been around since 2020 although it only became available in the United States in January of 2021. While there had been some suggestions that the launch of Max would result in the closure of Discovery Plus, that’s not the case. Discovery Plus continues to be available and operates as a standalone service.

While there are a few differences between Discovery Plus and Max, here are the most important differences:

Discovery Plus has more Discovery content

What is probably the biggest difference between Discovery Plus and Max is that Discovery Plus offers more Discovery content. If the main reason you are considering signing up to one of these services is for access to content from HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, Animal Planet, and Discovery Channel, then Discovery Plus is going to be the better option. After all, it is a streaming service that’s dedicated to these networks.

In contrast, and while Max now includes more Warner Bros. Discovery content than HBO Max ever did, only select Discovery content is available to watch on Max.

Examples of some of the Discovery Plus shows that you currently won’t find on Max include:

  • Ancient Aliens
  • Escaping Polygamy
  • Pawn Stars
  • Married at First Sight
  • My Ghost Story
  • The UnXplained

That said, Max still does offer a good amount of Discovery-related content, and in some cases, it may offer enough for some homes. For example, Max launched with seasons 1 and 2 of Legendary Locations, seasons 1-13 of Evil Lives Here, and seasons 1-11 of See No Evil, which is exactly the same as what’s available with Discovery Plus.

Likewise, for fans of 90 Day Fiancé, Max subscribers currently have access to nine seasons of the popular show.

90 Day Fiance on Max
90 Day Fiancé on Max

Additional 90 Day Fiancé-related content available on Max includes:

  • 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days
  • 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?
  • 90 Day Fiancé: Just Landed
  • 90 Day Fiancé: Love in Paradise
  • 90 Day Fiancé: Pillow TalK
  • 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way
  • 90 Day: The Single Life
  • 90 Day Fiancé UK
  • 90 Day Fiancé: What Now?

While the selection of Discovery content available on Max will rotate over time, the shows listed above provide a good example of the type and amount of content you can watch at any time.

Max offers more content overall

Another of the main differences between the two streaming services is the overall amount of content you get with a subscription. As already mentioned, Discovery Plus is limited to the brands associated with Discovery. In other words, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, Animal Planet, and Discovery Channel, among others.

While Max also offers access to a select amount of content from these same channels and networks, it does also offer access to content from HBO, Warner Bros., the DC Universe, Cartoon Network, the Turner Library, Looney Tunes, Adult Swim, and others.

Max Brands
Max includes more brands

This is also in addition to its own Max Originals that you won’t find on Discovery Plus.

If you are after the most content possible with a single subscription, then you may be better off opting for a Max subscription.

Max costs more than Discovery Plus

Another major difference between the two services is the price. As Max offers more content overall, it is a more expensive service in general. In fact, it can cost significantly more than Discovery Plus.

Both Discovery Plus and Max offer an ad-supported plan for those that want to save on the cost. However, while the Discovery Plus ad-supported plan costs $4.99 per month, Max’s With Ads subscription tier costs $9.99 per month.

Where the price chasm becomes even clearer to see is in the ad-free department. An ad-free Discovery Plus subscription currently costs just $6.99 per month, making it cheaper than the cheapest ad-supported Max plan.

In contrast, Max’s Ad-Free plans cost $15.99 and $19.99 per month, with the differences mostly reduced down to 4K support, the number of streams, and the number of downloads.

Discovery PlusMax
With AdsAd-FreeUltimate
Ad free
*limited selection

To sum up the price difference, the cheapest Discovery Plus plan is half the price of the cheapest Max plan, while the most expensive Discovery Plus plan is almost three times cheaper than the most expensive Max plan.

Choosing between Discovery Plus and Max

Choosing between Discovery Plus and Max is actually fairly easy. For those that only want access to content from the Discovery family of networks, including Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, ID, and TLC, then Discovery Plus is the service to go for. It is also the cheaper subscription for those that would prefer to save money.

However, for those that would prefer to have access to less content from the Discovery brands in favor of content from other brands, including HBO and Warner Bros., then Max is going to be the better choice, albeit a more expensive choice as well.

John Finn
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John Finn

By John Finn

John Finn is the Founder and Editor of Streaming Better, a platform created in 2019 to help consumers navigate the complicated live TV streaming and subscription service market.

John has been covering technology for various online publications since 2014. After originally covering the wider tech industry as a writer and editor, John now spends his time focusing on the emerging video-streaming market, including live TV streaming, SVOD, AVOD, FAST, and TVOD services.

In a bid to keep up to date on the industry, John actively subscribes to multiple streaming services at the same time. However, John continues to advocate that the best approach for consumers is to rotate between streaming services as needed.

A Psychology graduate from England, who now lives in the US, John previously worked in the aviation industry as an airline reviewer. While reviewing airlines isn't quite the same as reviewing devices and streaming services, John brings the same analytical eye to all of his reviews and industry analysis, along with a special emphasis on what's best for the consumer.

Connect with John
X: @J_Finns

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