HBO Max was a thrilling proposition for TV lovers when it launched in May 2020, offering critically acclaimed HBO dramas, films from Warner Bros and popular media brands such as DC Entertainment and Studio Ghibli. Yet streamer failed to mimic Disney Plus’s remarkable subscriber growth. Why? Maybe that high-end $14.99 HBO Max price tag.
There’s good news then, as HBO Max has introduced an ad-supported subscription plan for $9.99 per month, bridging the gap between the cost of an HBO Max plan and an original Netflix subscription. Yet, despite paying a third less than the ad-free HBO Max price, viewers still get the same unacceptable content — well, almost all.
Both levels provide over 10,000 hours of entertainment: ground-breaking HBO series like The Sopranos and Deadwood, a TCM-curated clutch of iconic films, all 10 seasons of Friends, as well as recent HBO and HBO Max originals. Including the extraordinary mare from Easttown and Rise. by wolves. However, unless you’re paying for the $14.99 per month plan, you won’t be able to see day-to-day releases like In the Heights or The Matrix 4 until after Warner Bros.
There’s plenty to celebrate for budget-conscious consumers looking for a great HBO Max deal. It is now possible to pre-pay for a one-year subscription to the $9.99 ‘With Ads’ plan, or the ‘Ad-Free’ $14.99 plan. In both cases, you save 16% on an annual subscription and essentially get yourself two months free!
Even better? If you’re currently a subscriber to HBO or HBO Now, HBO Max can be yours absolutely free. There’s more on that below, along with our break-down of how HBO Max’s prices stack up against VOD rivals like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus.
- Read more: Our Guide to the Best TV Streaming Services
HBO Max Prices and Plans: Your Quick Guide
Thank the streaming gods, because the revered HBO Max now has two subscription tiers.
Both offer unlimited access on top of exclusive Max Originals programming — to all nine of their entertainment centers — classics curated by HBO, DC, TCM, Studio Ghibli, Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, Crunchyroll, Adult Swim and Looney Tunes. Either option lets you stream on three devices simultaneously, in addition to creating up to five different user profiles. There is also no contractual obligation, so you are free to cancel whenever you decide.
The $9.99 ‘With Ads’ plan offers great value with only a few small deviations from the top tier plan. The few minutes of business time per hour (only on select content) is a minor inconvenience, and picture quality is limited at 1080p (HD). There’s no download functionality — meaning you can’t watch titles offline — and Warner Bros.’s slate of concurrent VOD and cinema releases won’t be available to subscribers until after their theatrical release.
With the $14.99 ‘Ad Free’ plan you’ll avoid the commercials and weird commercials and instead be free to focus on all that premium TV. Select titles (Wonder Woman: 1984, Zack Snyder’s Justice League) are available in stunning 4K HDR, while each profile has the ability to download up to 30 titles for offline viewing (though downloads expire after 30 days, or your 48 hours later by ‘ has started watching).
Devices compatible with HBO Max include Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, HBO Max on Apple TV, Google Chromecast, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, and iPads, Android and iPhones. Plus, you can now get HBO Max on Roku, HBO Max on Fire Stick, and Contour TV devices
HBO Max Deals & Free Trial Availability
Right now you can pre-pay for one year of this Sterling VOD service and save 16%. That’s a cool $99 for the ‘with ads’ plan, or, if you want all the bells and whistles, $149.99 for the ‘ad free’ option.
As for the 7-day free trial of the platform? It was also closed in December 2020. But we wouldn’t be surprised to see it make a comeback in international territories as service expands to parts of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe later this year.
Meanwhile, anyone with a current HBO or HBO Now subscription is entitled to an HBO Max account absolutely free — as long as they’re registered with an eligible provider.
You can read our HBO Max free trial guide to learn more
How does the price of HBO Max compare to Netflix?
With the introduction of an ad-supported plan, HBO Max offers both affordability and quality content with only a limited range of functionality. By significantly closing that price gap with the $8.99 Basic Netflix plan, its $9.99 “With Ads” option makes it a serious contender for Netflix’s VOD crown.
Yes, Netflix is still the father of online streaming. It has three times more content than HBO Max—its 10,000 to 36,000 hours—and is regularly filled with original content, such as the new fantasy-drama Sweet Tooth, period drama Bridgeton, The Kominsky Method, and Narcos. It has three tiers to choose from: $8.99 Basic, $13.99 Standard, and $17.99 for its Premium plan.
Now that subscribers can get HBO quality at an affordable HBO Max price, Netflix’s Basic plan looks just as basic. For just a dollar more, HBO Max offers three streams where Netflix provides one, HD quality content where Netflix provides SD, and most importantly, unforgettable TV shows like Game of Thrones that have consistently delivered quality drama. is defined. Only Netflix’s Premium plan lets you stream on more devices (four in total), and accepts HBO Max in regards to the number of titles available to stream in Ultra HD: it has over 500 where HBO Max has. There’s probably a dozen in 4K.
Netflix offers copious amounts of content and tons of great shows – plus, no ads to show. But HBO Max may offer more value to a more discerning audience of film and TV.
How does the price of HBO Max compare to Amazon Prime Video?
Let’s be honest: Amazon Prime Video blows HBO Max out of the water. As part of a $12.99 Amazon Prime subscription, it’s cheaper than an “ad-free” HBO Max account, and packed with perks like free delivery and free music streaming, and has a total of 13,000 movies and TV series. You can get around 25% off by purchasing an annual subscription for $119, while you can find hundreds of select titles available to stream in 4K Ultra HD.
Yet HBO Max holds a huge advantage for the service, with particularly valuable content. South Park, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Big Bang Theory are some of the most popular shows here, along with award-winning animations from Studio Ghibli. It’s also the only place to stream every immaculate HBO show (in addition to the more recent hits you can watch Lovecraft Country and The Undoing) as well as exclusive Max Originals. Want to see The Flight Attendant or the Tearful Friends: Reunion special? They are right there for you to binge.
What’s more exciting is that, for the ‘ad-free’ HBO Max price of $14.99 you can watch the all-new Warner Bros. 2021 release alongside their theatrical release on HBO Max. That means enjoying blockbusters like The Matrix 4 in 4K HDR and with Dolby Atmos sound before most others — and that in itself is well worth the premium $14.99 HBO Max price.
How does the price of HBO Max compare to Disney Plus?
Disney Plus is one of the most popular VOD streaming services, with over 100 million subscribers and a beloved collection of flashy brands. And at $7.99 per month it offers amazing value. But, given the recent price increase and the introduction of HBO Max’s cheaper ‘with ads’ plan, the lower price differential means that HBO Max should start taking a bigger share of VOD profits – especially From adults yearning for more adult content.
In terms of functionality, Disney Plus account sharing allows up to four people to stream simultaneously from one account, while HBO Max is capped at three. But from a content perspective, Mouse House has a relatively slim bounty, with 500 movies compared to 1300 on HBO Max, and all available for only a few dollars more. If you want an ad-free experience, you’ll pay $14.99 per month — almost twice the price of Disney Plus.
Content is important in both cases, and each service is the exclusive home of some beloved brands and movie franchises. Disney Plus will enthrall those who team up with Marvel, Pixar, The Simpsons, and The Muppets, while DC Comics, Studio Ghibli, nail-biting TV and anyone watching blockbuster cinema will end up paying the high price of HBO Max. Will jump at the opportunity.
How Does HBO Max Cost Compare to Apple TV Plus?
Apple TV Plus has been a slow-moving VOD service, quietly earning customers with its high-quality, exclusive and exclusive TV series and movies – Golden Globe-winners Ted Lasso, and Sofia Ford Coppola, for example Key on the Rocks. At $4.99 per month it’s half the cost of an HBO Max subscription, and an account can be shared among an additional five people—more than any of the other streamers listed here. But, given that it’s primarily home to brand new Apple TV originals, its library of titles is incredibly lean. It has over 60 feature films and series, while HBO Max has hundreds.
In regards to the quality offered, Apple TV Plus often produces content on par with HBO. There is the critically acclaimed Dickinson, M. Night Shyamalan horror-series Servant, and the fantastic space-drama For All Mankind. They’re impeccably built, with everything here available for viewing in stunning 4K. But so far, very few have replicated the dramatic height of HBO shows like The Wire, Six Feet Under, or Boardwalk Empire.
Still, the Apple TV Plus HBO Max is a fraction of the cost, and there’s a lot more to look forward to. Going to the platform is the highly anticipated drama Physical, starring Rose Byrne, Sundance-smashing Koda and Will Smith-led thriller Immansion.
How HBO Max Compares to Cost…