For cinephiles trying to save a few bucks, WarnerMedia launched a cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max on Wednesday, available first in the U.S. Not unlike what Hulu offers to its subscribers.
Variety first reported that for the $9.99 monthly plan for HBO Max with ads, the company promises to throw up no more than four minutes of commercials per hour of streaming content. It’s priced at 33% off the regular $14.99-per-month version of HBO Max without ads.
Also Wednesday, the company is launching one-year HBO Max pricing plans for new and returning subscribers, offering a 16% discount for those who lock in for 12 months: the ad-supported tier of HBO Max costs $99.99 per year and the zero-ads version is $149.99 per year.
Aside from commercial breaks and other ad formats, the ad-supported HBO Max version has a few other key differences from the full-price tier:
The ad-supported tier will not include the ability to download content for offline viewing.
Streaming video quality will be capped at 1080p, whereas select titles in the regular HBO Max without ads are available in 4K Ultra HD.
Warner Bros. same-day premiere films debuting in theaters and on HBO Max throughout 2021 are not included in the HBO Max ad-supported tier. However, all of those titles are slated to become available on both plans when the film’s debut on the streaming service in the months following their theatrical releases as part of HBO’s output deal with Warner Bros.
Otherwise, the lineup of programming is the same on HBO Max subscription tiers, which includes all content from HBO, as well as movies and shows from Warner Bros., DC, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, and more. According to WarnerMedia, in the HBO Max with ads version, commercials will not play during HBO programming. According to WarnerMedia.