HBOMax vs. Max: Here’s What’s Changing With Subscription Plans

HBOMax vs.  Max: Here’s What’s Changing With Subscription Plans
HBOMax vs.  Max: Here’s What’s Changing With Subscription Plans

HBO Max will become something new. The streaming service is rebranding as Max on May 23 with a fresh logo and catalog. In addition to streaming everything on HBO Max, subscribers will have access to Discovery Plus programming and a slate of new TV shows and movies under the Warner Bros. banners. You may be wondering, though, does this mean plans and pricing are also changing?

There are no major price hikes set to go in effect, but there will be some changes to subscriptions. Here, we outline what you can expect on each subscription plan once Max goes live next month.

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Max will offer three subscription plans

HBO Max currently has two subscription tiers: With Ads for $10 a month ($100 per year) and Ad-Free at $16 monthly ($150 annually). Both plans stream in HD with some 4K content, and you can stream on up to three devices simultaneously. The ad-free version comes with 30 downloads and the ability to watch if you’re traveling to a country where HBO Max is available.

Current HBO Max plans

With Ads Ad-Free
Monthly prices $10 $16
Number of screens you can watch at the same time 3 3
Number of offline downloads 0 30
HD available Yes Yes
4K Ultra HD available No Yes (limited titles)

When Max arrives in May, you will be able to choose from three options or keep your current subscription. Dubbed Ad-Lite, Ad-Free and Ultimate, the new Max plans will have some slight changes in how they’re packaged and what’s offered. Ad-Lite includes ads, two streams and HD resolution, while the ad-free plan is essentially the same, but you get offline downloads and no ads. Like the current HBO Max, there are no restrictions on what content you can watch based on which Max subscription you have. All plans will grant access to the full Max library.

The chart below outlines Max’s price tiers and how users will get two concurrent streams on the lower-priced plans. Even though the monthly price is the same (for now), it’s a switch from the current offerings.

Max subscription plans

Ad-Lite Ad-Free ultimate
Monthly prices $10 $16 $20
Number of screens you can watch at the same time 2 2 4
Number of offline downloads 0 30 100
HD available Yes Yes Yes
4K Ultra HD available No No Yes

4K will cost more on Max

Since its initial launch in May 2020, HBO Max has had a limited amount of 4K content on the platform. A select number of films and originals are available to stream in 4K on its ad-free plan only, and the service provides an updated list of those titles on its help page. Currently, you’re able to stream roughly 35 titles, including House of the Dragon, Dune, Elvis, Game of Thrones, The Suicide Squad and a handful of others.

When Max launches, you will have to pay $20 per month to watch anything in 4K. For some, that means a $4 increase to upgrade to the Ultimate plan, which is packaged similarly to Netflix’s $20 Premium subscription. It’s unclear how many titles will be available in 4K on Max, but it will be more than what’s on the platform now.

How and when to sign up for Max

If you already have HBO Max, you don’t have to do anything if you want Max when it launches. The platform will automatically upgrade with the new logo, features and catalog and customers will see the changes when opening the app on May 23. Some may be prompted to download the updated version of Max. If you want to change your subscription plan, you can do this through your billing provider. HBO Max/Warner-billed subscribers can switch plans in the settings section on your profile.

If you’re not currently a subscriber, you can either sign up for HBO Max now and wait for the update, or register for a new Max plan when the service arrives next month.

What about a Discovery Plus bundle?

Discovery Plus will remain a standalone streaming service that houses Discovery-branded content from networks like TLC, HGTV and Food Network. The service costs $5 per month for the ad-supported subscription and $7 a month without ads. There will not be any movies and TV shows from HBO, Warner, DC or HBO Max on the platform. However, Max may not have the entire catalog from Discovery Plus, but rather select titles.

At the time of this writing, Warner Bros. Discovery has not announced any bundles for customers who would like subscriptions to both Max and Discovery Plus.

Check out our other coverage on what the HBO Max rebrand means for you and what type of content you’ll find on the new Max service.