Warner Bros. Discovery has introduced Max, a consolidated streaming service that will replace the three-year-old HBO Max and integrate content from Discovery+. What does this mean for current HBO Max subscribers?
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A significant change is that, with the launch of Max, all 4K Ultra HD content will be exclusive to subscribers of the new service’s priciest tier, Max Ultimate Ad Free ($19.99/month). Currently, HBO Max’s ad-free plan includes a selection of 4K programming.
For existing HBO Max customers, the primary impact will be a wealth of new content and enhanced features in Max. This includes programming from Discovery brands like HGTV, Discovery Channel, and Food Network. Warner Bros. Discovery has clarified that existing HBO Max subscribers will have access to Max at the same price as their HBO Max subscription ($15.99/month without ads; $9.99/month with ads). However, the regular Max ad-free tier will provide two concurrent streams, a decrease from HBO Max’s offering of up to three. The Max Ultimate Ad Free plan will support up to four simultaneous streams.
Warner Bros. Discovery has stated that Max is expected to be accessible on the same devices as HBO Max.
Furthermore, HBO Max subscribers will retain access to their current plan features for at least six months after the launch of Max. Profiles, settings, watch history, “Continue Watching,” and “My List” items for HBO Max subscribers will seamlessly transition to Max, allowing them to resume streaming from where they left off.
For those who receive HBO through their cable or satellite TV package, Warner Bros. Discovery notes that access to Max may be available at no additional cost. The company is currently outlining which pay-TV providers will support Max on this link, although the site does not currently specify the available tier for cable and satellite customers. The distribution partners lined up to offer Max include AT&T, Cox, Cricket, DirecTV, Dish, Hulu, Altice USA’s Optimum, Amazon’s Prime Video Channels, Charter’s Spectrum, Verizon, and Comcast’s Xfinity.
Warner Bros. Discovery has highlighted that Max Ultimate will feature an expanded catalog of content in 4K UHD, including titles from popular franchises like “Game of Thrones,” “The Last of Us,” “Harry Potter,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” and more. Additionally, all Warner Bros. movies released this year and in the future will be available in 4K UHD on Max following their theatrical release windows.
The company aimed to maintain the price points of Max to align with HBO Max, as JB Perrette, the president and CEO of global streaming and games, explained to reporters during the launch event. Perrette emphasized the belief in the exceptional value offered at that price for the comprehensive content available.
“There’s no streaming service in the world that has more higher-end consumers than HBO Max,” he said. “And so our view was, let’s not try and take more money out of the wallets of people who can maybe less afford it. But rather get them to sample it at a great price. And if there are people who want higher-quality [4K video], who want all the bells and whistles and who can afford it, we’ve got a price for you and it’s $4 more than the $15.99 [per month].”
In announcing the Max service, Perrette said, “This new brand signals an important change from two narrower products, HBO Max and Discovery+, to our broader content offering and consumer proposition. While each product offered something for some people, Max will have a broad array of quality choices for everybody.”
Current HBO Max subscribers can find more information at this link. The company mentioned that Discovery+, currently priced at $4.99/month with ads and $6.99/month without ads in the U.S., will persist as a standalone service.
Warner Bros. Discovery reported ending 2022 with 96.1 million streaming customers globally, encompassing HBO Max, Discovery+, and other services. The company does not provide a separate breakdown of the number of HBO or HBO Max subscribers.
Michael Schneider contributed to this report.