HBO Max is now just Max, and it's making 4K streaming more expensive

Max launch event, replacing HBO Max
(Image credit: Warner Bros Discovery)

Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) has announced a major shake-up to its HBO Max streaming service which includes a new name and a more expensive subscription model if you want 4K. All was revealed last night during a press event after months of speculation and rumours that the US-based streaming service would see a major overhaul this year.

The big news is that the service is dropping the HBO name and will now just be called Max, with original programming made for the platform labelled "Max Originals". Warner Bros is also merging its HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming services into one streamlined package with this overhaul.

The switch should take place on the 23rd of May when the HBO Max app should automatically update, so don't fret if you can't find the app at first or if it looks a bit different. Your existing subscription will carry over onto the new Max platform as well, although WBD has revamped the subscription model, see below:

  • Max Ad-Lite ($9.99/month or $99.99/year): ad-supported streaming, 1080p, two concurrent streams, no offline downloading and 5.1 surround sound.
  • Max Ad Free ($15.99/month or $149.99/year): no ads, 1080p, two concurrent streams, 30 offline downloads and 5.1 surround sound.
  • Max Ad Free Ultimate ($19.99/month or $199.99/year): no ads, up to 4K HDR streaming, four concurrent streams, 100 offline downloads and Dolby Atmos sound

The frustrating aspect here is that 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos were included in the $15.99/month plan before this overhaul and will now cost extra under this new subscription model. It's also worth noting that the ad-supported tier was recently increased from $6.99/month to $9.99/month - there's no getting around it, Max is more expensive than ever before.

However, Warner Bros Discovery did reveal some exclusive new content coming to the service that sweetens the deal, including new spin-off programmes in the Game Of Thrones, The Batman and The Big Bang Theory franchises, as well as a retelling of the Harry Potter books via a TV series that will supposedly take place over the next ten years.

There was still no word on whether Max will be coming to the UK any time soon, although this isn't surprising as HBO's partnership with Sky is still valid until at least 2025. This gives Sky exclusive broadcast and streaming rights to HBO content in the UK (bar a few exceptions), meaning you'll either need a Sky contract or a Now subscription if you want to watch HBO content in the UK or if you're willing to put the time and money into it, you can also opt for a VPN.


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Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.

  • JR75
    So no more HBO?? HBO has been around for decades and has always been synonymous with quality programming. You paid a little more for HBO, but you got your money's worth. HBO is premium. Now, "HBO" will disappear, and we will have "Max". Along with all of the vapid programming from Warner Bros. Discovery (Pimple Popper, Cutthroat Kitchen, My 600 lb Life, and DIY shows ad nauseum). Plus it will cost you more. Sad day. Very sad indeed.
  • lovlid
    Over reacting much?
    You do realise it’s still HBO, yes? It’s just a name change and a merger with Discovery +.
    Maybe have a read of the article instead of the headline.
    Every streamer has its share of naff programming, but hey, don’t watch the naff stuff or don’t subscribe. Your choice.