Max (TV Network)

Max (TV Network)

Infobox TV channel
name = Max
logofile = Cinemaxlogo.jpg
logosize =
logoalt =
logo2 =
launch = August 1980
closed date =
picture format = 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)

share =
share as of =
owner = Home Box Office, Inc. (Time Warner)
slogan =
country = United States
broadcast area =
headquarters =
sister names = HBO
former names = Cinemax (1980-2008 as main name, still in use as alternate name)
timeshift names =
web = []
sat serv 1 = DirecTV
sat chan 1 = Channel 512 (East)
Channel 514 (West)
sat serv 2 = Dish Network
sat chan 2 = Channel 310 (E)
Channel 311 (W)
cable serv 1 = Available on most cable systems
cable chan 1 = Check local listings for channels
adsl serv 1 =
adsl chan 1 =
online serv 1 =
online chan 1 =

Max (or Cinemax) is a collection of cable television networks that provide movies, special features, erotica, and other services to consumers. Max is operated by Home Box Office, Inc. (part of Time Warner).


Max was launched in August 1980 as Cinemax, HBO's answer to The Movie Channel (which at the time was an up and coming rival), introduced by its then on-air personality Robert Culp. Culp told viewers that Cinemax would be about movies and nothing but movies. At the time, HBO featured a wider range of programming, including some news, documentaries, children's entertainment, sporting events, and entertainment specials. Cinemax would rely entirely on movies, and during its earliest days it had a slight resemblance to American Movie Classics (AMC). Movie classics were a mainstay of the channel at its birth, "all uncut and commercial-free" as Culp would say. A heavy schedule of films from the 50s-70s made up most of Cinemax's program schedule.

Max succeeded in its early years because subscribers typically had access to only about three dozen channels. Movies were the most sought-after program category by cable subscribers, and the fact Cinemax would show classics without commercials and editing made the channel an attractive add-on for HBO subscribers. In many cases, cable operators would not sell Cinemax to non-HBO subscribers. The two channels were typically sold as a package, usually at a discount for subscribers choosing both. A typical price for HBO in the early 1980s was $12.95 per month. Cinemax typically could be added for between $7-10 extra per month.

As additional movie-oriented channels launched on cable, Cinemax's programming philosophy began to change to try and maintain its subscriber base. First the channel opted to carry more violent fare that HBO would only show at night. Then Cinemax decided it could compete by airing more adult-oriented movies.

Today, a large number of Max movies shown at night are softcore adult films produced especially for adult cable or hotel entertainment channels. The sheer number of these films has earned the network several nicknames, including "Skin-a-max" (which the network once adopted as the name of their adult movie block), "Skinemax", "Sinamax," and "Climax" and has made the cable channel the source of jokes, mostly on television sitcoms and sketch comedy series to this day. Cinemax also usually airs half-hour adult erotica series proceeding and/or following adult films. Rarely does Cinemax not air adult programming of any kind. Cinemax's rivals Showtime and more recently, The Movie Channel have also tried to compete by airing adult films late at night, although these two networks have not gained as much attention for airing these programs.

Adult programming is not limited solely to the main Cinemax network. MoreMax also airs adult movies and series, for the most part, an hour earlier than Cinemax. The adult programs usually air starting at 10:00pm ET. In 2002, Cinemax had (albeit only twice) aired one adult film in the early evening after 8:00pm ET, when only mainstream films are usually aired.

In sharp contrast, Max continued to air films from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, for the most part movies made before the MPAA implemented the movie ratings system in 1968, most days usually between 5:00 and 8:00am ET but these movies for the most part have since moved to MoreMax and 5StarMax. Cinemax rarely airs family films during the morning hours unlike other premium movie channels instead opting to air R or PG-13 rated films.

Max also produces documentary programming under the banner "Max Reel Life" usually running every month. Some of these documentaries have been nominated for or have won Emmy awards.


Max operates eight multiplexed channels. All channels with the exception of Wmax have separate "East/West" feeds for the eastern (Atlantic) and western (Pacific) areas of the United States. This is especially conducive to video recording and time-shifting. Max also packages the East and West feeds of the primary and multiplex channels together, allowing viewers a second chance to watch the same program three hours later or earlier depending on their geographic location.

List of channels

*Max: the main "flagship" feed; blockbuster movies, first-run films, favorite movies.
*MoreMax: a secondary channel with similar content to Cinemax, also includes foreign films, indie flicks and arthouse releases. Was "Cinemax 2" until 1998.
*@Max: Targeted to younger generation, features contemporary films, movies with a poor attitude exemplified and films with unique ideas.
*ActionMax: action movies including blockbusters, westerns, war pictures and martial arts films. Was "Cinemax 3" until 1998.
*OuterMax: Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy films.
*ThrillerMax: Mystery, suspense, horror and thriller movies .
*Wmax: Targeted at women, features dramas, mysteries and classic romance pictures.
*5StarMax: Modern classics, featuring award-winning films and timeless treasures.

All Cinemax channels are simulcast in high definition, and the flagship network transitioned to air programs exclusively in high definition in September 2008 [] . The network's archive "After Dark" programming that was available in 4:3 only has now moved to the other networks in order to meet the fully high-definition guidelines for the parent channel.


Max (through HBO) currently has exclusive deals with sister company Warner Bros., DreamWorks (which has been bought by Paramount) and 20th Century Fox. In addition, it holds partial pay-cable rights to movies produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment (excluding those in partnership with Revolution Studios), and Universal Studios (along with Rogue Pictures and Focus Features). Despite also being a sister company to HBO and Cinemax, some New Line Cinema films do not appear on HBO due to a prior output deal with competitor Starz.

Cinemax occasionally shows classic films from the Golden Age of Hollywood (much like Turner Classic Movies). However, ever since TCM came into being, Cinemax does not program these old films nearly as frequently as it once did.

Usually films to which HBO has pay-cable rights will also run on Cinemax during its time of license. Increasingly, Hollywood films tend to premiere on Cinemax first, before moving to HBO a few months later. This is because HBO is moving increasingly away from relying on theatrical films and more towards original productions, along with the noterity and success of a film (for example, a film topping the box office in mid-February may be more likely to premiere on Cinemax than a July 4 weekend release).

However, in a historic television deal with Fox and Lucasfilm, Ltd. which was made beginning during negotiations for the pay-cable rights to "", Cinemax became the first U.S. network (commercial or otherwise) to air all six "Star Wars" films, including the revised 2004 DVD version of the original trilogy [IV, V, and VI] , in November, 2006. Sister network HBO also had access to the saga until April 2008 when Spike TV assumed the broadcast TV rights.


Cinemax's launch logo made in 1980 featured the channel's name in the traditional first letter in uppercase and the remaining letters in lowercase on a semi-circular rectangle. In 1985, the channel adopted a new logo with the channel's name in an italicized Univers Condensed typeface with each letter on a slanted square sized to fit each letter. This logo was used in print and during bumpers for a short time while the original 1980 opening bumpers were used before a new feature presentation opener was added in the fall of 1985. The current Cinemax logo consisting of the network's name in lowercase letters in an Impact typeface with the 'max' on a circle was implemented when the network rebranded itself in 1997 (as with Showtime's highlighting of "SHO" in their logo, the use of "MAX" as the logo focal point comes from the channel's former TV Guide abbreviation in the magazine's local listings era). While slight modifications of the logo's coloring have been made since the logo was first used, with the current version used in network ID sequences and movie previews in a silver coloring, the Cinemax logo design has remained the same since. The logo is shown most of the time with just the circle 'max'.

Following in the footsteps of Starz! and Showtime, some niche Cinemax networks (except for the primary Cinemax and secondary MoreMax, which do not have on-screen watermarking whatsoever) brand many films with transparent logos of their respective network, to the chagrin of many who would rather see clean screenings of movies with no commercial branding whatsoever.

In February 2008, a new sparse and bare branding campaign was introduced, with voiceovers for movie promotions and ratings disclaimers fully withdrawn from all of the Cinemax networks. The promotions now feature an adult swim-style of introduction with white text on black screens, while 'up next' screens only feature the film name and stars with only sound effects and small snippets of music playing in the background instead of full interstital music. Ratings disclaimers are in red text. All channel logos were redesigned - and most notably, the main Cinemax channel is now visually referred to as simply "max", though in some ads, the casts for the network's "After Dark" series have continued to identify the network vocally as Cinemax.

ee also

* List of DirecTV channels
* List of Dish Network channels


External links

* [ Official Site]
* [ Cinemax Europe]
* [ Cinemax Latin America]
* [ Cinemax Brazil]
* [ Cinemax Asia]

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