After months of rumors and waiting, Warner Bros. Discovery has finally announced what it intends to do with HBO Max, the streaming service that was home to a huge pile of top content. Turns out, it's killing HBO Max off.
Except, it's basically just renaming it. And it's keeping the same name, for the most part. Confused? You will be, especially if you try and figure out why anyone came to this decision.
Introducing Max, the streaming service formerly known as HBO Max. It would appear that someone deep inside Warner Bros. Discovery thought that HBO wasn't a strong brand name what with its stable of huge TV shows including Succession, Game of Thrones, The Last of Us, Westworld, and others. Really, why would you want to have anything to do with those duds?
Ignoring the branding for a minute, the new Max offering will come in three flavors depending on what you want to deal with in terms of ads and streaming quality.
The first is Max Ad-Lite, a tier that costs $9.99/month or $99.99/year and allows for two concurrent streams of 1080p resolution content. There are no downloads but you do get 5.1 surround sound at least.
Next, there's Max Ad Free which costs $15.99/month or $149.99/year. That gets you essentially the same thing but with no ads and 30 offline downloads.
Finally, the tier that you want - Max Ultimate Ad Free. That costs $19.99/month or $199.99/year which is a lot, but you get all the features you want. Those include four concurrent streams of 4K video as well as 100 offline downloads. You'll also see your sound upgraded to Dolby Atmos as well, so that's something to consider if you're big on audio quality.
We're told that Max will be the place to go for HBO Originals, Warner Bros. films, Max Originals, the DC universe, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and a whole lot more. That includes documentaries from leading brands like HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID, and others. So it's fair to say that you're unlikely to be left wondering whether there's anything to watch.
Still, there's no denying that the top-end tier is a costly one despite the amount of content on offer and it could be a hard sell. Especially for those who also have other streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Apple TV+ to pay for at the same time.
Who remembers when cord-cutting was supposed to save us all money? That sure does seem a long time ago right now.