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The ad-supported version of HBO Max doesn't include streaming in 4K

HBO Max movie in 4K
(Image credit: WhatToWatch.com)

The $9.99-a-month version of HBO Max is here, with advertising in tow. But as we've also found out, that less-expensive option also comes with a few major caveats.

The biggest discrepancy between the $9.99 and $14.99 version of HBO Max arguably is this: You won't get any content in 4K resolution unless you're paying for the ad-free version. That means no ultra-high definition movies — everything tops out a mere HD.

That said HBO Max currently has a scant number of films available in 4K. Three, to be precise. Wonder Woman 1984 was the first when it premiered over Christmas 2020 as part of the same-day release scheme. Zack Snyder's Justice League — the extended directors cut that didn't do much to fix a not-great film — was the second. And the new Angelina Jolie film Those Who Wish Me Dead makes up the third film streamed in 4K.

That's it. Not even the much-heralded Tenet — another visually stunning Christopher Nolan film that set off a bit of a skirmish between the director and the studios — is only available in HD resolution.

Other differences between the ad-supported version of HBO Max and the full version are the inability to download movies and shows for offline viewing, and the loss of being able to watch same-day releases of 2021 Warner Bros. movies.

Upcoming same-day releases include:

  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (June 4)
  • In the Heights (June 10
  • Space Jam: A New Legacy (July 16)
  • The Suicide Squad (Aug. 6)
  • Reminiscence (Aug. 20
  • Malignant (Sept. 10)
  • The Many Saints of Newark (Sept. 24)
  • Dune (Oct. 1
  • Cry Macho (Oct. 22)
  • King Richard (Nov. 19)
  • The Matrix 4 (Dec. 22)
Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.