With the change to streaming over cable TV, there was kind of an assumption that annoying, intrusive ads would become less of a problem. Of course, they are still there and still very much annoying; recently, I was watching YouTube on my Roku, and I got hit with a 22-minute long ad for some dumb reality show. Thankfully, I could skip it, but the fact that they’d even try to pull that is rather brazen. Most major streaming platforms don’t use ads, funding themselves instead on subscriber fees, but if you’re one of those weirdos that doesn’t mind commercial interruptions, then HBO Max may have an attractive deal for you.
Yesterday, HBO Max added a new subscription tier to its available services. A typical HBO Max subscription costs $14.99 a month, while this newer tier costs only $9.99 a month. Five bucks off, sounds appealing, right? Well, there are several catches. First and foremost, while watching shows and movies, you will be subject to regular ad breaks. According to the HBO Max website, you shouldn’t get more than four minutes of total advertising per an hour of watched content, which is good, though even if the ads aren’t that long, it specify how frequent the breaks are.
This is the history lesson I didn’t know I needed. ?
— HBO Max (@hbomax) May 27, 2021
Additionally, subscribing at the lower tier bars you from watching premier movies that are streaming simultaneously with their releases in theaters. You still get access to the entire rest of the movie and TV catalog, but that one thing is for regular subscribers only. You also can’t download any shows or movies in the event you want to watch them offline, and you can only stream stuff in regular HD, while the full subscribers can get up to 4K.
It stinks to lose some of those features, but if money’s tight and you still want to watch HBO Max shows, it’s a decent alternative. Hopefully you don’t have to endure ten-second ad breaks every five minutes, though.