HBO Max is now available for $9.99 a month, although the reduced price edition comes with a few catches.

The $9.99 version, which is $5 a month less than the regular HBO Max, includes up to four minutes of ads per hour. (The $14.99 a month HBO Max does not include commercials.)

“Advertising is a time-tested way to reduce the cost of great entertainment and reach a wider audience,” stated Andy Forssell, HBO Max’s general manager and executive vice president. “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.”

In addition, the cheaper HBO Max will not include ‘same-day’ theatrical releases such as Godzilla vs Kong, Those Who Wish Me Dead, or Mortal Kombat. But you will be able to see them when they debut on the regular HBO service, usually two to three months after the same-day release.

(Warner Media, which owns HBO Max, announced late last year that it would release its entire 2021 theatrical slate on the same day in theaters and HBO Max. The practice, which was driven partially by declining movie theater attendance due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is expected to end after this year.)

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The $9.99 edition will also not permit subscribers to download titles for offline viewing, or watch any title in 4K. (HBO Max has offered the same-day movies in 4K, but has hinted it could expand the 4K lineup later this year.)

Warner Media has been expected to offer a less-expensive, ad-included edition of HBO Max to boost subscriptions. The service has more than 64 million subscribers worldwide, but still lags behind Netflix and Disney Plus. At $9.99, the ad-included HBO Max will be $4 a month less than Netflix’s Standard plan (with no ads), but $2 more than Disney+’s $7.99 a month package. (Netflix also has a $8.99 a month plan which does include high-def programming.)

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Both the ads-included and ads-free version of HBO Max is now available for 16 percent off if you order a prepaid year’s subscription.

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— Phillip Swann