HBO Max’s cheaper ad-supported tier won’t include first-run films [Updated]


HBO Max’s free tier won’t include first-run films
The upcoming HBO Max free-with-ads version can be watched on every type of Apple computer.
Photo: WarnerMedia

You might want to put the HBO Max app on your iPhone after all. WarnerMedia said Friday there’ll be a more affordable version of the streaming service starting in June. But it’ll require watching ads.

And don’t expect to watch movies the same day as they appear in the theaters on the ad-supported version.

The service is owned by AT&T who held a meeting in with investors on Friday. During this, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar announced the new pricing tier, according to Variety.

But paying for HBO Max by watching commercials won‘t necessarily mean frequent interruptions. There’ll be no ad breaks in HBO original programs.

Kilar did not reveal what the budget tier of the service will cost. Nor did he give the exact release date.

The streaming service offers a library of previously released shows including Game of Thrones and Sex and the City, as well as new content like The Flight Attendant and Raised by Wolves.

Budget HBO Max has limitations

Currently, HBO Max costs $14.99 a month, making it a pricier option than Netflix, and far more than Disney+ or Apple TV+. But it does come with a big perk: Warner Bros movies play on the service the same day they premiere in theaters.

Take note: this isn’t true of the ad-supported version. These first-run movies will not be available on that tier. The same goes for sports.

Still, a low-cost version is likely to grow the number of viewers. But AT&T’s offering faces tough competition with the number of rival streaming video services proliferating.

The free HBO Max application for iPhone and iPad is available in the App Store. There’s also an Apple TV app. Mac users watch through the web site.

Update: Previously, this article stated the ad-supported version would be free. This was incorrect. 


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.