You can now get HBO Max for $9.99 a month, but with major limitations

HBO Max on Apple TV
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The advertising-supported option for HBO Max is now live, giving you the choice between paying $14.99 a month, or $9.99 a month. The idea, HBO Max execs say, is to make the service available to more people at a lower price point.

“Advertising is a time-tested way to reduce the cost of great entertainment and reach a wider audience,” Andy Forssell, executive vice president and general manager of HBO Max, said in a press release. “We’ve worked hard to create an elegant, tasteful ad experience that is respectful of great storytelling for those users who choose it, and which we’re confident will deliver for our advertising partners as well.”

The good news is that you shouldn't be bombarded by advertising. At least not too bad. You can expect to see about 4 minutes of ads per hour, both before and during select series and movies.

But to call this merely an option with ads doesn't quite tell the full story. We knew of some differences going into the launch. The biggest is the inclusion of advertising, followed by the loss of same-day releases for the 2021 Warner Bros. films. Turns out there are a couple more features that will be missing, too.

Biggest, perhaps, is that the $9.99 option for HBO Max won't include anything in 4K resolution. While those are still few and far between on HBO Max (not even Tenet was presented in 4K), you'll top out at HD resolution unless you're paying the full $14.99 a month. Maybe that's a big deal to you, or maybe it's not. But it's definitely something to be aware of.

One other difference is that you can't download movies to watch offline.

HBO Max says you should be able to switch plans, if you want, but the methods vary a little depending on how you subscribed.

MORE: What's new on HBO Max in June 2021

Phil Nickinson

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