Summary List PlacementMax (ad-free) (small)Max (ad-supported) (small)
One year after its debut, HBO Max is now offering an ad-supported subscription for $10 a month. That’s $5 cheaper than the commercial-free plan. HBO Max also introduced annual subscription options, priced at $100 for one year with commercials or $150 to stream without ads. Prepaying for a year saves you 16% compared to paying for 12 months with a monthly plan.
Viewers who already have a wide diet of streaming services may appreciate the chance to save a few dollars with the ad-supported plan, and the move brings HBO Max’s pricing options more in line with competitors like Hulu, Peacock, and Paramount Plus.
That said, the cheaper plan is missing a few of HBO Max’s best features, making it hard to recommend over other ad-supported streaming services.
What’s different about the HBO Max ad-supported plan?
The ad-supported version of HBO Max ($10/month) differs from the more expensive ad-free plan ($15/month) in a few key areas.
The cheaper version of HBO Max includes limited commercial breaks on most programs.
It doesn’t include Warner Bros. in-theater movies like “In the Heights.”
The ad-free plan doesn’t support downloads for offline viewing.
Streaming quality is limited to 1080p instead of up to 4K with HDR.
These limitations are similar to the ad-supported plans offered by Hulu, Paramount Plus, and Peacock, but HBO Max still costs more.
HBO Max says it will limit advertisements to a maximum of four minutes per hour, making it the least intrusive among ad-supported streaming platforms. HBO original shows won’t feature commercials on the ad-supported plan either.
Is the HBO Max ad-supported plan worth it?
HBO Max does offer one of the best streaming catalogs, but it’s hard to recommend paying slightly less for a service that’s intentionally limited, especially when you’ll still be paying more for the ad-supported HBO Max plan than ad-free services like Disney Plus and Prime Video.
The ads on HBO Max are largely nonintrusive, however, lasting between 10 and 45 seconds. Most movies and shows start with a short pre-roll ad, and other commercial breaks are marked in the streaming timeline.
So far, the longest commercial break I experienced lasted one minute. Watching a 90-minute movie like “The Wedding Singer” yielded a total of five commercial breaks, which matches HBO’s promise of four minutes of ads per hour of streaming.
Meanwhile, subscribers who are just planning to binge-watch HBO original series don’t need to worry about ads at all. The ad-supported version of HBO Max doesn’t feature commercials on HBO shows like “Mare of Easttown,” “Game of Thrones,” or “The Wire,” so you can save a bit with the cheaper plan if you’re willing to sacrifice features like offline downloads and in-theater movies.
Here’s a full breakdown of how HBO Max’s pricing stacks up with the competition:
Price with ads (Monthly)
Ad-free price (Monthly)
Source:: Business Insider