When Max goes live on May 23rd, the new Warner Bros. Discovery streaming service will offer substantially more 4K entertainment than HBO Max ever did. The company issued a press release on Monday with new details on what subscribers on the $19.99 / month “Ultimate” plan can expect. Max will offer “8 times more films and episodes of 4K UHD content than HBO Max, including popular programming such as Game of Thrones, The Last of Us, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Dark Knight trilogy, the Matrix films and more,” the company announced.
They’re really doing the thing. They’re taking 4K seriously. Finally. Max will support both Dolby Vision and HDR10 for content where those formats are available, and Dolby Atmos audio will also be included for select movies and shows.
“We understand the value of offering our users a cinematic playback experience and to that end, we’ve implemented more advanced technology workflows that allow us to release more 4K content in a faster, more efficient way,” said Warner Bros. Discovery’s Sudheer Sirivara. “Max will offer more than 1,000 films and episodes in 4K at launch, and we’ll be adding more every month as we move forward.”
Warner Bros. Discovery has chosen to only offer 4K (and HDR) on its most expensive monthly plan, a decision that isn’t sitting well with everyone. The Ultimate subscription costs more than HBO Max’s outgoing $15.99 / month ad-free plan.
But the 4K catalog on HBO Max was severely underwhelming from the start. Recent high-profile Warner Bros. films often streamed in 4K HDR along with shows like The Last of Us. But considering the breadth of the service’s film vault, it was disappointing to see most of that selection capped at 1080p — especially when those same movies are available in 4K on many other digital services. The company seems aware that it needs to do better this time as it puts an even higher premium on 4K content.
And sure enough, Max will include a large collection of past movies, including A Clockwork Orange, Casablanca, Goodfellas, and many more. Select past HBO series will also stream in 4K alongside recent hits like Succession. “Additionally, all Warner Bros. movies released this year and going forward will be available in 4K UHD when they arrive on Max following their theatrical windows,” the company said.
WBD has promised that HBO Max subscribers will still have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months following launch, so current customers don’t need to worry about that 4K upcharge just yet. Six months should make for a nice trial of sorts to see whether Max can make good on its 4K potential.
Max will roll out on May 23rd in the United States across all the big platforms that you’d expect. Aside from the Ultimate tier, the service has two lower-priced subscription plans:
- Max Ultimate Ad Free | $19.99 / month or $199.99 / year: four concurrent streams, up to 4K UHD resolution, 100 offline downloads, Dolby Atmos sound quality
- Max Ad Free | $15.99 / month or $149.99 / year: two concurrent streams, 1080p resolution, 30 offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
- Max Ad-Lite | $9.99 / month or $99.99 / year: two concurrent streams, 1080p resolution, no offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
We’ll have more Max coverage as the service begins rolling out on Tuesday, so stay tuned throughout the week for impressions and additional news.