HBO Max ad-supported tier finally launches: What to know

Warner Media today launched an ad-supported subscription tier for its streaming service, HBO Max. This ad-supported tier has been in the works for quite some time, and now that it's here, it allows people to subsidize their subscription cost by injecting ads into the content they watch. As you might imagine, there are a few provisos that go along with the less expensive ad-supported tier, but with HBO promising fewer ads-per-hour than its competitors, it isn't all bad news.

The price difference between standard HBO Max and ad-supported HBO Max is a $5 one, with the former running $14.99 per month and the latter running $9.99. That's a fairly significant discount if you're like me and you often forget to unsubscribe from the streaming services you sign up for.

Subscribers to both tiers will get mostly the same content, save for films that are debuting on HBO Max the same day they premiere in theaters throughout the rest of 2021 – ad-supported subscribers will have to wait until those movies finish their theatrical runs and rejoin HBO Max before they can watch those flicks. Those watching on an ad-supported subscription will be limited to 1080p streaming resolution and they won't be able to download content for offline viewing either.

While those are certainly negatives to consider when choosing a subscription tier, there is an upside in Warner Media's promise that HBO Max will only show a "maximum of four minutes of commercial time per hour." The company says that it is committed to offering "the lowest commercial ad load in the streaming industry." Ads also won't be shown during HBO content, which makes sense considering that HBO has never run ads alongside its content.

So, if you don't mind seeing ads and being barred from movies that are premiering on HBO Max alongside theaters, then maybe this $9.99 streaming tier is the right one for you. It's available today, along with 12-month subscriptions to both the ad-supported and standard tiers that offer 15% savings over paying on a month-to-month basis.