HBO Max vs. Peacock, Paramount+, and Hulu: Who Gives Streamers A Better Experience With Ads?
HBO Max’s ad-supported tier has just joined the fray, meaning they’re the most recent streaming service to provide users access to their library of content for a cheaper price, with the caveat that there will be ads interspersed throughout their viewing experience.
While ad-supported plans have been a great way to save a little of money, is it worth it? We’ve compared the various services, how many ads to expect, and what features you might give up by not choosing the ad-free plans.
HBO Max vs. Peacock, Paramount+, and Hulu At A Glance
|Service||Price||Ads Per Hour||Simultaneous Streams||4K Streaming||Offline Mode||Live Sports|
|HBO Max||$9.99||4 min/hr (none during HBO programming)||3||No||No||No|
|Peacock||$4.99 (Free for Comcast & Cox Customers)||5 min/hr||3||No||No||Premier League & WWE|
|Paramount Plus||$5.99||9-10 min/hr||3||No||No||NFL & Champions League|
|Hulu||$5.99||9-10 min/hr||2||Select shows & movies on certain devices||No||NHL & ESPN+ Upgrade|
Ads Per Hour
While it is the most expensive at $9.99 a month, HBO Max also has the fewest ads at just 4 minutes per hour. On certain content, there will be less than that, for instance HBO originals and movies won’t have any. Certain shows like Friends will only have two short ad-blocks in the middle.
HBO Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals, and access to every Warner Bros. film on HBO Max on the same day that it hits theaters.
HBO Max has two tiers, an ad-supported plan for $9.99 and ad-free plan for $14.99. HBO Max without ads also includes features like the ability to download offline and 4K streaming.
They also will get Max Originals that aren’t available to HBO channel subscribers, like “The Flight Attendant” (Kaley Cuoco), “Love Life” (Anna Kendrick), as well as reboots to “Sex In The City” and “Gossip Girl.”
Number of Streams
Outside of Hulu which offers two simultaneous streams, HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount+ each offer three simultaneous streams. Since they all offer user profiles, that means you will be able to share it with the whole family.
4K and Offline Mode
Currently, no ad-supported streaming service offers offline downloads. This feature has been held back for users on HBO Max Ad-Free ($14.99), Peacock Premium Plus ($9.99), Paramount+ No Ads ($9.99), and Hulu No Ads ($11.99).
Hulu is the only streaming service that includes 4K on select content on their ad-supported plan. While it’s only available on select content on HBO Max and Paramount+, that’s only available on their higher priced ad-free plan.
It offers the best selection of current TV shows and is cheaper than both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You will be able to watch most shows from networks like ABC, NBC, Fox, and cable channels like Bravo, USA Network, FXX, FXM, HGTV, and more.
The service has a Limited Commercials plan for $5.99 a month, or you can upgrade to their No Ads plan for $11.99 a month. For $64.99 a month, you can get Hulu Live TV from major cable channels, live locals and regional sports networks.
At $9.99 a month, HBO Max is the priciest of its competition but offers a vast library of WarnerMedia and HBO movies, shows, and HBO originals that you can’t find anywhere else.
This includes “Friends”, “The Big Bang Theory”, “South Park”, “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “The West Wing”, and more, as well as fan-favorite HBO shows like “The Sopranos”, “The Wire”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, and more. As part of the ad-supported plan, you won’t get access to same day theatrical releases.
If you’re looking to stream the Star Trek Universe, Paramount+ has you covered with multiple original series like Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. They also bring in content from across Viacom’s owned channels like MTV, VH1, BET, Comedy Central, and kids content on Nickelodeon.
Hulu has a mix of high-quality original series like “The Handmaid’s Tale”, movies like “Nomadland” and “Palm Springs”, and a library of shows and movies from networks like ABC, NBC, Fox, and cable channels like Bravo, USA Network, and FX.
Peacock has an ever changing library of movies and TV shows, but it is the exclusive streaming home to shows like “Yellowstone”, originals like the “Saved By The Bell” and “Punky Brewster” reboots, and the entire libraries of The Office, Parks and Recreation, Law & Order, and Chicago Fire.
Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 12,000+ TV show episodes including originals Star Trek: Discovery, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, and MTV’s Laguna Beach. Meet captivating characters, catch up on your favorite sport, explore new worlds in the growing collection of Paramount+.
Previously under the name ‘CBS All Access,’ Subscribers can choose between their Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with their Premium Plan for $9.99/month.
With their Premium Plan, in addition to not having ads, you will also get access to your local CBS affiliate to stream your local news, prime-time line-up, and late-night. You will also be able to download offline and watch select shows in 4K.
With the lower cost “Essential” plan, you will still be able to watch live NFL games, Champions League, and national news – but you will no longer get your local CBS affiliate like the old ad-supported plan.
With their new app, enjoy advanced recommendations, curated homepages, and new content categories while still being able to stream major live sports like NFL, College Football, College Basketball. Sports fans will also appreciate the service’s inclusion of NFL on CBS, PGA Tour, along with every match of UEFA Champions League and Serie A.
Regardless whether you are on an ad-supported or ad-free plan, some of the services offer live sports. Peacock includes Premier League matches that aren’t on TV, along with WWE Network including PPV events at no extra charge.
Starting in the fall, Hulu will stream select NHL games, and you can integrate your ESPN+ subscription for more live sports. Paramount+ has a wide variety of live sports including NFL, College Football & Basketball, Champions League, and PGA Tour Golf.
The misadventures of a group of friends as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in Manhattan.
This vulgar animated series follows the misadventures of four irreverent grade-schoolers in the quiet, dysfunctional town of South Park, Colorado.
“South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” is a must-see movie if you enjoy this series. It shows off the musical inclinations that would later lead the creators to make “The Book of Mormon.” You’ll also enjoy the behind-the-scenes documentary, “6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park.”
Will, a street-smart teenager, moves from the tough streets of West Philly to posh Bel-Air to live with his Uncle Philip, Aunt Vivian, his cousins — spoiled Hilary, preppy Carlton and young Ashley — and their sophisticated British butler, Geoffrey. Though Will’s antics and upbringing contrast greatly with the upper-class lifestyle of his extended relatives, he soon finds himself right at home as a loved part of the family.
The story of New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads. Those difficulties are often highlighted through his ongoing professional relationship with psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi. The show features Tony’s family members and Mafia associates in prominent roles and story arcs, most notably his wife Carmela and his cousin and protégé Christopher Moltisanti.
Told from the points of view of both the Baltimore homicide and narcotics detectives and their targets, the series captures a universe in which the national war on drugs has become a permanent, self-sustaining bureaucracy, and distinctions between good and evil are routinely obliterated.
The off-kilter, unscripted comic vision of Larry David, who plays himself in a parallel universe in which he can’t seem to do anything right, and, by his standards, neither can anyone else.
There’s also plenty of fresh, original content, including scripted series, reunion specials, documentaries, and more. Recent titles of note include “Friends: The Reunion”, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special”, “The Flight Attendant”, and “Beartown.”
The cast of Friends reunites for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the hit series, an unforgettable evening filled with iconic memories, uncontrollable laughter, happy tears, and special guests.
Join Will Smith, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro and DJ Jazzy Jeff, for a funny and heartfelt night full of music and dancing in honor of the show that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes.
Flight attendant Cassandra Bowden wakes in her hotel room hungover from the night before in Dubai with a dead body lying next to her. Afraid to call the police, she continues her morning as if nothing happened. In New York, she is met by FBI agents who question her about her recent layover in Bangkok. Still unable to piece the night together, she begins to wonder if she could be the killer.
Hockey is the last beacon of hope for the citizens of Björnstad, so when its junior hockey team makes the national semifinal, the burden of the entire town’s dreams weigh heavily on the shoulders of its teenage superstars. However, the day of the semi-final is also the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatised and the town in turmoil.