HBO Max’s cheaper Ad-Supported plan launches today but there are more downsides than just seeing ads

As promised last month, HBO Max has launched their cheaper ad-support subscription plan for $9.99 per month, which is a $5 discount compared to the regular $14.99 per month ad-free plan. Before you make the switch to save some money or sign up as a new subscriber, there are some important limitations to the add-supported plan that you should know about.

The first difference between the $9.99 ad-supported plan and the $14.99 ad-free plan is that the cheaper plan caps out at a resolution of 1080p. HBO Max currently has very little 4K content, since last year’s Wonder Woman 1984 premiere was the first time they streamed anything in 4K, but what little 4K content they have will be streaming in 1080p for those on the ad-supported plan.

Speaking of the Wonder Woman 1984 premiere, it was the first Warner Bros movie to be simultaneously released in theaters and on HBO Max, which is something Warner Media promised would happen for all of their new movies in 2021. However, those subscribed to the ad-supported plan will not be able to access those new movies at all. If you want to watch those new releases from Worner Bros, you’ll have to be on the $14.99/month plan.

The final limitation of the cheaper ad-supported supported plan is losing the ability to download content for offline viewing. While that’s not important at all for TV streamers like the Fire TV, which aren’t able to download content anyway, it’s a nice perk for watching HBO Max on the go on a phone or tablet. Once again, only those on the $14.99/month plan can download TV shows and movies for offline playback.

The ad-supported plan isn’t all bad though, since HBO has said that, even if you’re on the cheaper plan, you will not see any ads while watching their original TV shows. As for the ads that you will see during other content, HBO says they are limiting it to 4 minutes of ad time per 1 hour of content. That’s certainly a lot fewer commercials than you would see watching a traditional TV channel, which usually plays around 18 minutes of ads per hour.

Whether you decide to go with the $9.99/month ad-supported plan or the $14.99/month ad-free plan, HBO Max is running a promotion right now that saves you about 16% if you prepay for an entire year of either plan. The ad-supported plan is $99.99/year, a savings of $19.89, and the ad-free plan is $149.99/year, which is a savings of $29.89

HBO Max’s current 4K movies are:

  • Wonder Woman 1984
  • Wonder Woman
  • Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Tom & Jerry
  • The Little Things
  • Zack Snyder’s Justice League
  • Godzillla vs. Kong
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Those Who Wish Me Dead

Upcoming HBO Max 4K titles include:

  • Cry Macho
  • Dune
  • In The Heights
  • King Richard
  • Malignant
  • Reminiscence
  • Space Jam: A New Legacy
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
  • The Many Saints of Newark
  • The Matrix 4
  • The Suicide Squad

One comment
  1. mrvco says:

    From an OTT subscriber perspective, this hardly seem worth a mere $4.99/month when you still need to pony up $9.99/month for the privilege of watching ads. I have to wonder how many ad-supported eyeballs are required before they reach any sort of break-even relative to the cost of implementing and supporting this subscription tier.

    It should be interesting to see what changes Discovery makes when they take the reigns from the AT&T brass.

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