WarnerMedia rolled out HBO Max last May, and it came with a recurring price tag of $14.99 that endures today. Those willing to dish out an additional five bucks a month can continue enjoying an ad-free experience, but for anyone feeling the crunch of multiple streaming subscriptions, or for those who were scared off by the initial cost of about $180 a year, putting up with few commercials is a cost-effective alternative.
Making that $9.99 tier even more attractive is the news that only HBO Max originals and Max-exclusive content will receive commercial interruptions. Older HBO shows will be presented in their original forms. So if you’re watching somebody get whacked on The Sopranos or revisiting the first seven seasons — and only the first seven seasons — of Game of Thrones, you’ll have the same viewing experience as those shelling out $14.99.
Still, that cheaper tier won’t be quite as maxed-out as the more expensive HBO Max package. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar announced last month that the ad-supported tiers will not include the 2021 movies from Warner Bros., which are otherwise available to stream for free on the same day they appear in theaters. In other words, if you’re only signing up for a cheap at-home glimpse of the new Mortal Kombat, your plan may have run into a fatality.
This is just the latest battle in HBO Max’s campaign for streaming dominance. Last year, the platform finally brokered deals with Amazon Fire and Roku, opening up WarnerMedia properties to significantly wider audience.