by James Reid, Correspondent covering film and television
With the dawning of streaming, cable and network stations have decided to get into the game. CBS has their All Access application where you can watch Star Trek Picard and Star Trek: Discovery. NBC has the yet to be launched Peacock. FX has signed a deal that allows their content to be streamed on Hulu. Prime and the previously mentioned Hulu have also established their own streaming channels where you can pay monthly for specific channels.
Even though there are all of these platforms there is no clear definitive powerhouse. Amazon Prime has the largest collection of films and television shows, while Criterion remains the hotspot for cinematic masterpieces. Netflix is the Apple of streaming. There is an irony to Apple+ being far from having the status of Apple of streaming. It is something that people use for the brand and its more ideal functions, but it doesn’t represent the technical powerhouse. HBO Now being HBO’s streaming platform was probably one of the mid tier platforms before today.
That all changed on May 27th when HBO Max was released across various entertainment platforms. The app combines the best of the old HBO catalog with new content ranging from Studio Ghibli, one of the most powerful animation companies in the world, to Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel Air, two of the most popular 90s sitcoms on the planet.
Normally the idea of streaming would be seen in its original capacity. As a platform to use when babysitting a kid or needing Friday night entertainment on a budget. Now with almost 20% of the country on unemployment society is almost completely relegated to home entertainment. For those who haven’t picked up walking or gardening or those who consider themselves Luddites this app isn’t really a necessity.
As mentioned before, it isn’t that the catalog is much deeper than the rest of the streaming industry, but rather more eclectic in the nature of its content. It’s the only place on the internet where you can watch Breathless, from director Jean Luc Godard. That is perfect for anyone who considers art-house films to be their preferred class of films. In addition the company also has a catalog of DC movies, for those who like those types of films but hate Marvel. These are just two major examples of how the app ads something new to the scene.
“Yes I would have paid for this app in college knowing what I know about it” said David Schmich, someone who has already gotten access to the application. As a person who follows cinema itself I find that the content satisfies my need for classics and modern films and includes a catalog of nostalgic animation good for a nice evening of compression.
There is a caveat to the app that has people screaming in outrage. Roku and Amazon have not signed deals with HBO. This means that many people with Roku and Fire sticks can’t use the updated app. “As both a longtime subscriber and fan of HBO, I’m incredibly disappointed to be left off the initial HBO Max roll-out because of my choice of streaming device” said Zach Stergos a long time HBO user and avid film fan.