Warner’s new HBO Max streaming service has now been launched in the USA. Now there are initial studies on image quality and at least the bit rate itself. That even surpasses the previous Primus Apple TV +.
Unfortunately, it should be mentioned that HBO Max currently does not (yet) offer 4K streams with HDR. Incidentally, the new streaming provider should not be confused with HBO Now, the previous streaming offer from the pay-TV broadcaster. This differentiation is crucial because HBO Now is unfortunately known for its highly compressed streams. At HBO Max, Warner apparently didn’t want to make the same mistake twice.
Accordingly, HBO Max offers roughly twice the bit rate for 1080p videos if you compare directly with HBO Now. Our colleagues from Flatpanels HD took a closer look: On average, a bit rate of 7 to 10 Mb / s was noticed for 1080p streams (with MPEG4 AVC). However, peaks of up to 14 Mb / s were also noticed. That’s a nice thing, because even 4K streams on Netflix, for example, aren’t even that much higher.
The bit rate was tested with films such as “Joker”, “Wonder Woman” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”. HBO Now and HBO Go only achieve 4 to 5 Mb / s, which is very manageable. HBO Max now not only creates higher bit rates than HBO Now, but also as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and even Apple TV + – each based on 1080p. Dolby Digital (AC-3) is transmitted at 384 Kb / s.
HBO Max should soon upgrade to 4K
Apple TV + is still leading, however, because there you will also find 4K streams with HDR / Dolby Vision, which (video only) climb to 28 Mb / s on average and up to 41 Mb / s. However, since Apple TV + uses lower bit rates at 1080p than HBO Max, it would be extremely exciting to see whether Warner’s new platform also reaches for the crown in the area of Ultra HD.
However, it should be mentioned that the bit rate alone does not say everything. The image quality is of course also influenced by the present master and also by the compression processes that are used. The video codec then also plays a major role. A bit rate with air upwards can make the difference in case of doubt.