HBO Max vs. Max: Here’s what’s changing with subscription plans

HBO Max will become something new. The streaming service is rebranding as Max May 23 with a new 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 films under the Warner Bros. banner. You might be wondering, though, does that mean plans and pricing are changing as well?

There are no major price increases planned, but there will be some changes in 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 offers two subscription tiers: with ads for $10 per month ($100 per year) and without ads for $16 per month ($150 per year). Both plans stream in HD with 4K content, and you can stream up to three devices simultaneously. The ad-free version comes with 30 downloads and the option to watch if you’re traveling to a country where HBO Max is available.

Current HBO Max plans

With advertisementsWithout advertising
Monthly price$10$16
Number of screens you can watch at the same time33
Number of offline downloads030
HD availableYesYes
4K Ultra HD availableNoYes (limited titles)

When Max arrives in May, you’ll 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 the Max subscription you have. All plans will provide access to the full Max library.

The table below outlines Max’s pricing tiers and how users will get two simultaneous streams on the cheapest plans. Although the monthly price is the same (for now), this is a change from the current offers.

Maximum Subscription Plans

Ad LiteWithout advertisingUltimate
Monthly price$10$16$20
Number of screens you can watch at the same time224
Number of offline downloads030100
HD availableYesYesYes
4K Ultra HD availableNoNoYes

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 number of movies and originals are available to stream in 4K on its ad-free-only plan, and the service provides an updated list of those titles on its help page. Currently, you can stream around 35 titles, including House of the Dragon, Dune, Elvis, Game of Thrones, The Suicide Squad, and a handful of others.

When Max launches, you’ll have to pay $20 a month to watch anything in 4K. For some, that means a $4 bump 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 currently on the platform.

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 be automatically upgraded with the new logo, new features and new catalog and customers will see the changes when opening the app on May 23. Some may be advised to download the updated version of Max. If you wish to change your subscription plan, you can do so through your billing provider. Billed HBO Max/Warner subscribers can switch plans in the settings section of your profile.

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

What about a Discovery Plus package?

Discovery Plus will remain a standalone streaming service that hosts Discovery-branded content from networks including TLC, HGTV and Food Network. The service costs $5 per month for the ad-supported subscription and $7 per month ad-free. There will be no movies and TV shows from HBO, Warner, DC or HBO Max on the platform. However, Max may not have the entire catalog of Discovery Plus, but rather select titles.

As of this writing, Warner Bros. Discovery has not announced any bundles for customers who wish to subscribe to both Max and Discovery Plus.

Check out our other coverage on what the The HBO Max rebranding means to you and what kind of content you will find on the new Max service.

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