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Is HBO Max with ads a good deal?

We look at the pros and cons of getting an HBO Max subscription with ads.
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Published onJanuary 30, 2023

HBO Max logo on smartphone stock photo 2 — HBO Max with ads
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

What is HBO Max with ads? The Warner Bros. Discovery-owned streaming service is available in two versions, and one has ads? So, is it worth it to put up with ads? How do the two subscriptions compare? Which one is right for you?

Related: Are ad-supported streaming services worth it?

Below, we break down your options, comparing the two versions of HBO Max so that you can decide whether you want to save some money by signing up for HBO Max with ads. If you’re interested in signing up, you can get started by hitting the link below.

hbomax
Max
Max, formerly HBO Max, is your home for HBO titles, Warner Bros-made movies and TV shows, the DC Comics superheroes, and more. It's also the home for new and original movies and shows available nowhere else.

What is HBO Max with ads?

HBO Max with ads is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the HBO Max streaming service offered at a tier that includes ad breaks.

HBO Max is a streaming service owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, available in the U.S. as well as certain U.S. territories and select countries in Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean.

The service offers access to a library of over 2,000 titles across film and TV. It includes most of the titles from HBO, a slate of HBO Max originals, and several other shows and movies from the Warner Bros. archive and third parties.

How much does HBO Max with ads cost?

The big advantage of ad-supported streaming services is that they cost less. In some cases, they’re even free. Peacock has a free, ad-supported tier, though it limits how much content you can watch. Services like Tubi and Pluto TV are completely free, paid for by ads.

Check out: Is Peacock actually free?

HBO Max doesn’t have a free tier, but you do save some cash on the HBO Max with ads plan. Below are your two subscription options, billed monthly or annually:

  • With ads plan — $9.99 a month or $99.99 per year
  • Ad-free plan — $15.99 a month or $149.99 per year

While the ad-supported plan is more expensive than Netflix’s similar “Basic with ads” plan, which comes in at $6.99, there’s an important difference here that justifies the higher price point. Netflix’s plan limits you to one screen, while all HBO Max plans allow three simultaneous streams. That means you can watch HBO Max at the same time as two other members of your household watch on two other screens.

Differences between HBO Max and HBO Max with ads

hbo max tv 1
Adam Birney / Android Authority

The obvious difference between these two plans is whether they contain ad breaks. One plan offers you access to the HBO library completely ad-free while the other makes you sit through a few ad breaks. HBO Max subscribers get access to all the same shows and movies regardless of their plans.

That means you can watch HBO Max original shows and movies like The Flight Attendant and Kimi; HBO shows like The Sopranos, Succession, and The Last of Us; and other titles like Friends and The Big Bang Theory.

HBO Max with ads doesn't limit the number of screens you can use simultaneously, and it offers access to the same full library.

If all you want are HBO shows, you’ll notice no difference at all. HBO is a premium cable channel that is ad-free, so its programming remains ad-free, whether you have an ad-free account or not.

The biggest difference between HBO Max and HBO Max with ads is the picture quality. While a lot of HBO Max titles are available in 4K, you have to pay the full price for those. The HBO Max with ads plan maxes out at 1080p.

Is HBO Max with ads a good deal?

If you don’t mind ads and aren’t looking for 4K streams, then HBO Max is absolutely a good deal. You save more than $5 month for access to the same impressive library.

I don’t mind ads, and HD is perfectly good for my needs, so I don’t need much selling on this subscription tier. If those savings cut down which content I could access or limited me to one stream at a time, it’d be a different story. In that way, HBO Max with ads has a huge leg up on Netflix and Peacock.

If you’ve spent big money on a 4K TV, though, you probably want to get that extra bang for your buck, so it’ll depend on you.

hbomax
Max
Max, formerly HBO Max, is your home for HBO titles, Warner Bros-made movies and TV shows, the DC Comics superheroes, and more. It's also the home for new and original movies and shows available nowhere else.

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