In a move that may ruffle feathers, HBO Max has notified its long-time ad-free customers that a shift is on the horizon. By December 5th, those who once enjoyed 4K streaming will need to reconsider their subscription model. This change aligns the legacy $16 plan with Max’s newer ad-free tier, both priced identically but with the legacy plan now reflecting reduced features, such as Full HD streaming and a decrease in concurrent stream capabilities.
Max, evolving with the streaming landscape, offers tiers to fit various viewer preferences. The Ultimate Ad-Free tier, a step up from the standard ad-free plan, includes 4K streaming and allows for up to four concurrent streams. At $20 a month, it’s a nod to those prioritizing high-quality viewing, while a $10 ad-supported tier caters to budget-conscious streamers.
The restructured plans come as no surprise, following Warner Bros. Discovery’s May announcement that changes would be implemented post-merger.
Despite the forewarning, subscribers may feel the pinch of reduced features. Especially as the ad-free plan’s cost previously crept up by $1 in January, marking the first price hike since the service’s debut.
The fine print reveals unchanged download capabilities, with both legacy and new ad-free subscribers able to download 30 titles for offline viewing. The recent addition of a sports add-on hints at Max’s attempt to diversify content, even as it dabbles in ad tiers, a strategy potentially more lucrative than ad-free options.
As the streaming wars persist, the redefinition of service tiers by Max reflects a broader industry trend. While some may welcome the chance to upgrade for better quality, others could see this as a prompt to reassess their subscription or explore other streaming avenues. The countdown to December leaves a window for legacy users to bask in their current 4K privileges before deciding on their next digital step.