HBO Max is a web video streaming platform that offers all you would expect from the name and much more. It went online in May 2020 to complement HBO’s other digital media. This service provides premium content that includes HBO’s original programming like “Game of Thrones” and channels that include DC, Cartoon Network Adult Swim, Studio Ghibli, and CNN. If that’s not enough, HBO Max also has the entire Warner Brothers catalog. It means you get the Looney Tunes channel and Friends.
So if HBO Max sounds like an excellent video streaming service to you, it’s because it is indeed! But there’s a catch. HBO hasn’t invested much effort in its platforms’ internationalization. Hence HBO Max serves only US-based users, deploying a geo-blocking technology to prevent its availability outside the region. So if you’re not in the US and try to watch a video in the HBO Max catalog, you will get the error: “HBO Max is not available in your region.“
Are you one of those souls who can’t enjoy HBO Max because of your physical location? Then, this article is for you! You will be delighted to learn that you can see HBO Max even outside the US if you just know to use a single digital tool: the virtual private network (VPN).
Streaming HBO Max outside the US – The quick guide
Let’s say you already have a subscription to HBO Max and don’t have time to read our whole article. Or, you don’t need to learn that many details because you’re already conversant with VPN technology. Then, here’s how you can see HBO Max in the quickest possible way:
- Get a VPN subscription. NordVPN is our preferred VPN vendor. You can choose the one you like, but it has to be a premium service. Stay away from free VPNs.
- Download and install the VPN apps your service provides for the operating system or device you intend to use with HBO Max.
- Sign in to the VPN.
- Choose a server based in the US.
- Now launch your browser, point it to HBO Max, sign in, and enjoy all the content you want!
HBO Max and VPNs: Why do I need one?
The thing with legal video streaming services is that they can’t offer all the content they have to every user. Before showing a title, they must negotiate with the copyright owner and agree on what material the platform can broadcast to which countries. Consequently, every country has a different catalog (assuming there is something at all), depending on the platform’s rights.
Since HBO owns the copyright to its original programming, at least Game of Thrones should be available for every country. Right? Wrong. Things are never that simple. Many HBO original shows were produced in association with other companies. So, even HBO can’t decide alone what it does with that material.
Sadly for HBO fans, the company is not rushing to expand its availability to the whole planet. The primary market is, of course, the US. Then starting in November 2021, it grew to Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain, and Andorra. And this year should see the list grow by fifteen more countries.
An unusual feature of HBO’s expansion strategy is that some of the world’s most important markets, such as Germany, France, and the UK, still don’t get service from the Max platform.
As you can see, the US is not the only country in which HBO Max operates. Does that mean you don’t need a VPN if you live in Spain or Andorra? Well, yes, if all you want is to get access, your geo-location will give it to you. But remember that, because of copyright distribution deals, the catalog available in every country is different. The land which gets the largest (and best) video library in HBO Max is the US. So if you want to unleash HBO’s full potential, you need to be able to unlock the US catalog anywhere outside the region. For that, you need a VPN.
What else can a VPN do besides unblocking HBO Max outside the US?
This article focuses on a top-notch VPN’s ability to bypass the geo-location blocks in HBO Max. This use case exploded over the last couple of years because of the demand for home entertainment the Covid-19 pandemic brought about. And it works, as you will see as soon as you try it.
However, VPNs are one of the most versatile and powerful tools on the internet, and having a premium VPN service will give you many more benefits.
So let’s see briefly what a VPN is and what it will do for you.
A VPN is a network that will perform two essential tasks. First, it will spoof your IP address. All the traffic between your device and the rest of the world will go through a VPN server.
The servers on the other side will see you connecting from the VPN server and detect its IP address as yours. This trick enables the unblocking of HBO Max or any other video streaming platform restricted outside the US. So, as you connect from a US-based server in your VPN’s network, HBO Max sees you as a US-based client, thus giving you the entire US catalog.
The second trick every VPN must always do is encrypt all incoming and outgoing traffic. Good encryption turns a stream of meaningful data into random white noise. Thus, no external observer can figure out what is happening with your traffic unless they access the decryption keys.
So, are you worried about government surveillance? Your ISP likes to throttle video streamers and torrenters? Have you been a victim of those hackers that are always lurking around the world’s WiFi public hotspots? The encryption a VPN gives you will make all those problems go away.