Ad-Supported HBO Max Tier

Starting today, you can pay a little less to get access to HBO Max if you don’t mind watching some commercials every now and then. Today, the streaming service launched their ad-supported tier for $9.99 per month (or $99.99 for a whole year), which is $5 off the regular ad-free subscription of $14.99 per month (and $50 cheaper than the $149.99 annual pricetag). However, if you’re planning on going with the ad-supported HBO Max subscription, you’ll be missing a few key features.

The ad-supported HBO Max tier will still give you access to the entire line-up of library programming from HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, and more, including HBO Max Originals. You’ll get all the bells and whistles of a typical HBO Max subscription, including profile customization, personalized suggestions, parental controls, and kid-friendly profiles. However, perhaps the most enticing piece of programming, at least for the year 2021, won’t be available.

Though a traditional HBO Max subscription gets you access to the same-day theatrical releases from Warner Bros. Pictures, such as this week’s release of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and the upcoming In the Heights, the ad-supported subscription will not allow access to those titles on the day they hit theaters. You’ll have to wait to see those films when they arrive on regular HBO in the months following their theatrical runs, which is when they’ll return to the HBO Max library for all subscribers.

The ad-supported HBO Max subscription will also be missing the ability to download content for offline viewing. So if you’re planning on taking a trip somewhere and want to watch HBO Max programming in a plane, train or automobile without any wi-fi or data signal, you’re screwed. You also won’t be streaming content in 4K either because the video quality will be capped at 1080p. That might not matter for many casual viewers, but if you’re a stickler for the best streaming quality, it could be a dealbreaker.

You might also be wondering how disruptive the ad-supported HBO Max experience will be. The streamer promises a maximum of four minutes of commercial time per hour, which is significantly less than cable or network television, which averages roughly 15 minutes of commercial time each hour. HBO Max is touting “the lowest commercial ad load in the streaming industry,” which might make it a little more enticing for those who don’t like the many commercials on other ad-supported streaming subscriptions. Viewers will also notice advertisements scattered throughout HBO Max’s content library. Over time, ads will also become a little more personalized as you continue to use the service.

All-in-all, it doesn’t sound too bad for the price, as long as the Warner Bros. theatrical releases, offline viewing, and 4K video aren’t sticking points for you. You can sign up for either of the HBO Max subscriptions right here.

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