If you haven’t been paying attention to what Max is going to cost you every month, you might be in for a rude surprise.
Earlier today, Warner Bros. Discovery officially unveiled Max, its new streaming service that will combine HBO Max and Discovery Plus into one app. The company said that the new streaming service will launch on May 23rd and feature all of the content from HBO Max and popular content from Discovery Plus. Current HBO Max subscribers will automatically get switched over to Max on that date.
While the prices are staying the same for current HBO Max subscribers — $9.99 per month for ad-supported and $15.99 for ad-free — the access to 4K content is changing for those prices. While the ad-free version of HBO Max offers a selection of 4K content for $15.99 per month, Max is going to take that video quality away from those subscribers.
If you want to watch Max content in 4K, you’ll need the new Ultimate tier. That plan costs $19.99 per month for the privilege of enjoying content in 4K…in 2023. Ultimate also increases the number of offline downloads you can have from 30 to 100.
That new plan separates Max into similar tiers to what Netflix currently offers. With Netflix, you also have to pay for the top tier in order to stream content in 4K. Netflix Premium also happens to cost $19.99 per month. Other streaming services like Apple TV Plus still offer 4K as a default feature without charging customers more.
I’m bummed to see more streaming services charge a premium for 4K content, especially since all of that content is being shot in at least 4K, and almost everyone has a 4K TV at this point. This kind of separation made sense when 4K was new to the scene years ago, but it just feels like another money grab at this point.
Speaking of spending more money on streaming services, YouTube just recently revealed its pricing for NFL Sunday Ticket.