Max streaming service to launch in Europe, but not in the UK… yet

The streaming service formerly known as HBO Max is home to some of your favourite shows

The Last of Us TV show
(Image credit: HBO)

Max, formerly HBO Max, is where some of our all-time favourite shows live and have done for a very long time: The Sopranos and The Wire, Succession and The Last of Us, True Detective: Night Country and Curb Your Enthusiasm and so many more. But the streamer isn't available here in the UK, so we get a selection of the best Max shows via Sky or Now TV.

Max is now launching in Europe, but there's bad news for would-be viewers in the UK: it's not coming here for some time yet.

As Deadline reports, Max will be launching in Europe on 21 May. It's already available in some parts of Europe under the HBO Max name, but it's now being phased out and replaced with Max in the Nordic countries, Iberia and central and eastern Europe. It'll launch in Poland, The Netherlands, France and Belgium shortly after, ready for the European debut of House of the Dragon Season 2 on 17 June. It'll also be the place to stream live coverage of the Paris Olympics.

In total it'll be available to 25 European countries, but not the UK.

For Max, the UK may be The Last of EU

In the UK, things are more complicated: the deal with Sky is an exclusive one, and it's got another two years to run. Not only that but Deadline says that "it is believed certain shows such as House of the Dragon are tied to Sky via 'life of series' agreements", which means they can continue to show the series even if Max's parent company Warner Bros. Discovery signs other deals.

It's a fair bet that Sky will want to remain the exclusive streamer for Max shows in the UK once its current deal expires, because so many of these shows are the ones driving water cooler conversations and subscriptions: shows such as The Last of Us are real jewels in any streaming service's crown. 

Sky CEO Dana Strong said last year that she was "optimistic" about a longer term partnership: one of Deadline sources says that one possibility is that Max "could be carried exclusively" on Sky. Certainly for the foreseeable future, if you want to watch shows such as The Last of Us Season 2 or House of the Dragon, you're going to want a Sky subscription.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).