HBO and Cinemax come to Hulu, but you’ll need the new app to watch

Hulu this morning announced it’s finally adding HBO as an optional add-on for subscribers, as well as HBO-owned Cinemax. The premium networks will be offered to those who subscribe to Hulu’s on-demand service plus those who pay for Hulu’s new live TV service, including both the ad-supported and commercial-free versions.

As on most other streaming services, including HBO NOW, the HBO add-on will cost subscribers an extra $14.99 per month. Cinemax is a more affordable upgrade at $9.99 per month.

The deal’s timing comes just ahead of “Game of Thrones” big summer release, which will allow Hulu the opportunity to capture some number of subscribers for this premium upgrade. Many HBO viewers only pay for the streaming service while the flagship series is airing, as they want to watch it live but no longer pay for cable TV.

Now, they’ll be able to watch the show live or on-demand, along with past seasons of other popular HBO series, like the “The Sopranos,” or catch up on newcomers like “Westworld,” along with all the other shows, sports, comedy and music specials, and movies that HBO offers. Some of HBO’s other notable originals include “Veep,” “Last Week Tonight,” “Vice,” “Silicon Valley,” “Big Little Lies,” and “The Night Of.” It’s now home to kids classic “Sesame Street,” too.

HBO’s current movie lineup includes “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Suicide Squad,” “Jason Bourne,” and “The Boss,” to name a few.

Meanwhile, Cinemax is airing “The Purge: Election Year,” Warcraft,” and “Deepwater Horizon,” in addition to its own originals like “The Knick,” “Outcast,” “Banshee,” and “Quarry.”

HBO and Cinemax subscribers will able to watch the east and west coast feeds live via Hulu’s app on supported devices, as well as access the services’ on-demand library.

In the weeks ahead, Hulu says it will expand its offering to include other live channels from the two networks, including HBO 2, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO Comedy, HBO Signature HD, HBO Zone, MoreMAX HD, ActionMAX HD, ThrillerMAX HD, MovieMAX HD, 5StarMAX HD and OuterMAX HD.

HBO viewers can also choose to watch via the network’s own app, HBO NOW, if they prefer that experience.

The move to add more premium channels to Hulu comes two years after the company introduced its first paid add-on, with Showtime. At the time, it seemed as if Hulu would soon expand to include a fuller lineup of premium cable TV, but that didn’t immediately come to pass. However, now that Hulu has entered the live TV space – where it competes with services like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now and others – it has to offer HBO to remain competitive.

Hulu’s live TV service is $39.99 per month, and provides access to its on-demand library, live TV and a cloud DVR. The redesigned app – which can also be used by on-demand only viewers – is available on Apple TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android.

The new HBO and Cinemax add-ons will become available on more devices as this upgraded experience continues to roll out to more platforms, notes Hulu. In other words, you have to use the new Hulu app to access the premium networks – the old app will not carry them.

Both networks will be available starting today.