HBO Max is technically only available in America. However, there is a way to access the new streaming platform from anywhere in the world. In this article, I’m going to show you the best way to watch HBO Max outside the US.
HBO Max outside US: Quick guide
The first thing you need is a VPN that works with HBO Max. I recommend buying ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) if you want guaranteed uptime and transfer speeds fast enough to watch HBO Max in 4K. If you want to spend a little bit less, than there are decent low-cost VPNs such as Private Internet Access ($2.85/month), Ivacy ($1.16/month) and NordVPN ($3.49/month) that unblock HBO Max too.
- Sign up to a VPN that works with HBO Max
- Install the app on your device
- Connect to a server in the US
- Go to HBO Max and enter your payment details
- Stream HBO Max from anywhere in the world
Note that ExpressVPN ($6.66/month), Private Internet Access ($2.85/month), Ivacy ($1.16/month) and NordVPN ($3.49/month) all offer 30-day money-back guarantees. So you can test the service, risk-free.
Why is HBO Max only available in the US
The short answer is: because HBO parent company AT&T/Warner Media only has rights to broadcast its content (via HBO Max) in the US.
HBO Max, like any broadcaster, is subject to its licences. Meaning it can’t broadcast its content to countries where it doesn’t own the rights. This is why you’re not even allowed to sign up to HBO Max from an internet connection that’s located outside the US.
If you want to get around these geo-blocks, you need a high-end VPN so you can connect to HBO via a spoofed US IP address.
The reason why it only has the licences to broadcast in America is a little more confusing than that, though. HBO Max is a subsidiary of parent company AT&T/ Warner Media, who also owns: HBO, Warner Bros. Studios, DC Universe, DirecTV and Turner (CNN, TNT and TBS) – which means that it actually owns all of the content on HBO Max both in the US and globally.
However, the content available on HBO Max in the US has already been licenced to other media company in other territories. The Warner Bros. Studios show, Friends, for example, is available on Netflix and TVNZ, in New Zealand. If AT&T/Warner Media wanted to launch HBO Max in New Zealand, it would have to break – and buy its way out of – all of its current syndication agreements.
The consensus is that AT&T/Warner Media is opting to launch HBO Max in the US first, and then roll out to other territories when its enough of its legacy licensing deals expire.
HBO Max not working with VPN?
Not all VPNs can unblock HBO Max. Why? Because they use servers with old IP addresses that are blacklisted by HBO (and every other major streaming platform).
Take a look at my article HBO Max not working with VPN for a full explanation as to why some VPNs are blacklisted by HBO Max.
Is HBO Max coming to the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand (and RoW)?
Yes. HBO Max is technically in Canada already, although it’s a very slimmed-down version of the streaming platform. The rest of the world – including English-speaking counties like the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand – aren’t expected to get HBO Max until at least 2021.
If you’re not based in the US, and you want to watch HBO Max before 2021, then you’re going to need to use a VPN (see below).
Best VPN to watch HBO Max outside US?
The BEST VPN of 2020!
Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speed: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 160 in 94 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
ExpressVPN is the best VPN you can buy. If you can afford the extra few pounds/dollars a month, you won’t regret it.
The first thing you need to know about this VPN is that it’s fast. Really fast! It consistently tops our independent VPN speed tests, with blazingly fast download/upload speeds.
And importantly, it ALWAYS has servers that are open with major streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video etc.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN on the market at playing Cat and Mouse with online streaming sites. Meaning, whenever one of its servers is blacklisted it creates a new one – giving its users a constant stream of servers that aren’t blocked. Needless to say, this is a valuable attribute if you’re looking for a VPN to unblock streaming sites.
Its app is easy-to-use and free to download on pretty much any device you can think of. Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, FireStick, Android TV, Roku, PS4, Xbox, Linux, even Apple TV (with a workaround). It’s got it all covered.
The app is another main reason this VPN is so good at unblocking TV streaming sites (that claim they block VPNs) is that its software takes a pragmatic approach to user management. While other VPNs tempt customers by promising them access to hundreds/thousands of servers in multiple countries, ExpressVPN does things differently.
With ExpressVPN you only have a handful of server locations to choose from. Once you select your location the app takes care of the rest. Assigning you to the fastest available server that’s not oversubscribed. This simple technique is so important, as it keeps ExpressVPN’s servers operating at lightning-fast speeds and prevent its IPs from getting blacklisted for “abnormal” usage in the first place.
ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than the other VPNs. But if you want the most reliable VPN on the market, there’s only one choice. ExpressVPN is the best.
The BEST mid-range VPN for streaming!
Number of servers: 3,000+ | Speeds: >75% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 70 in 48 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
Private Internet Access is one of the leading no-log VPN services with over 1 million paying customers.
This VPN is one of the best in the industry at beating streaming sites’ VPN bans. It provides reliable connections with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+ Amazon Prime Video, etc. It also allows 10 simultaneous devices to be connected to its servers at the same time, so you can share the account with your close friends.
If, for whatever reason, you’re not happy with Private Internet Access, there’s a 24/7 live chat support available to assist you with your problem. PIA also offers the industry-standard 30-days money-back guarantee.
From my tests (from New Zealand) I was able to get download speeds of 70 Mbps while connected to a UK server using the Private Internet Access VPN (my non-VPN speed is 100 Mbps).
The BEST low-cost VPN
Number of servers: 1,000+ | Speed: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 275 in 100 countries | Devices supported: 5 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
If you’re looking for an excellent VPN, with an even better price tag, Ivacy ($1.16/month) is a great option.
This VPN has all the features you need to stream BBC iPlayer, in HD, from any country in the world. I’ve been testing the app recently on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and FireStick and the results have been impressive – unlocking BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. with ease.
The Ivacy app is a little different in regards to its UX (user experience). Instead of just selecting a UK server, you need to select the specific BBC iPlayer server. Don’t worry, this isn’t a bad thing – by connecting to a dedicated BBC iPlayer server, it simply means that you’re connecting to an IP address that Ivacy knows works with BBC iPlayer.
For an extra $1.99/month (£1.74) you can add-on a dedicated IP. This will buy you sole access to an IP address in a country of your choice, meaning you won’t have to share your IP (and speeds) with any other use. I don’t recommend this though, using the regular Ivacy servers is enough 95 per cent of the time.
7-DAY TRIAL – $0.99
(30-day money-back guarantee)
A solid all-round VPN option!
Number of servers: 5,000+ | Speeds: >80% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 62 countries | Devices supported: 6 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
NordVPN is the most widely-used VPN in the world. And its easy to see why. It’s a polished app that delivers fast connections (more on this later) to a massive network of VPN servers.
It’s pretty reliable at unblocking popular streaming services too – US Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, etc. – but its record isn’t perfect. NordVPN claims that’s all changed now as a result of hiring full-time technical team (that’s responsible for monitoring its servers connections with popular TV streaming services) and aggressive investment in its network of IP addresses in key locations.
Another interesting thing to note is that NordVPN is an industry leader in its development of Nordlynx technology. Nordlynx is built using the WireGuard, a new VPN tunnelling protocol designed to outperform current standards (OpenVPN and IPSec). The benefits, according to NordVPN, are dramatically faster transfer speeds while connected to a VPN. My tests – New Zealand to London – confirm that Nordlynx is currently the fastest VPN on the market. However, the difference isn’t dramatic, a few Mbps is all.
Number of servers: 6,000+ | Speeds: >65% | Bandwidth: Unlimited | IP locations: 200 in 90 countries | Devices supported: 7 | Live chat: Yes | 30-day money-back guarantee: Yes
CyberGhost is one of the more established VPNs on the market. It has a well-established, and well-tested global network of servers that perform well.
From my tests over the past several months, CyberGhost has no trouble at unblocking major streaming services – US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max etc. This VPN performed well at maintaining download speeds, well above 65 per cent of my regular (non VPN) ISP speed.
That said, there’s nothing really unique about the service. Which forces you to look at its price-point. And there’s nothing special here. Its short-term $12.99/month price tag puts is well above the industry average of $10.10/month. Similarly, its long-term $2.75/month for 3 years deal isn’t much of a “deal” either.
Oddly, CyberGhost’s most unique feature is its a 1-day, no obligations, free trial. This is an appealing offer to customers who are new to VPNs. However, it’s important to remember that most reputable VPNs will offer customers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so try not to be too seduced by the offer.
List of VPNs Blacklisted by HBO Max
All VPNs are technically blacklisted by HBO Max. However, the good ones – like ExpressVPN, Ivacy and NordVPN – have workarounds in place. The VPNs that don’t will remain blacklisted. From our tests, the following VPNs are currently blacklisted by HBO Max and do not have reliable workarounds in place.
- HotSpot Shield