If you're firing up your Roku or Amazon Fire TV today in hopes of loading the HBO Max app, we'll just go ahead and stop you right here. You can't do it yet, because it's not available on either of the two largest streaming platforms in the world.
Yes, that's more than a little surprising. Or, rather, it's more than a little surprising in the case of Roku, which is the No. 1 streaming platform in the United States. Amazon Fire TV — which comes in at No. 2 (and you can reverse those positions in the rest of the world) — wasn't surprising at all, given that we'd been told it wouldn't be supported at launch.
That's not to say you won't ever see an HBO Max app on Roku or Amazon Fire TV. Chances are you will — it's just a matter of the stars (read: money, most likely) aligning.
And that's also not to say that the whole thing just seems odd, given that there are HBO apps on both platforms. But you have to remember that HBO Max is a new service from WarnerMedia, not the legacy HBO that already had deals in place from a time before WarnerMedia (and by extension, AT&T) purchased HBO. And that means all-new deals, all-new contracts, and all new financial arrangements.
And given that Roku itself has almost become an advertising platform first and streaming platform second, it's not surprising that there are some kinks to be worked out there. AT&T (and, thus, WarnerMedia) itself has a major advertising platform in the form of Xandr. And where two advertising platforms collide, hiccups will follow.
Unfortunately, it ends up being the end user who suffers.
The good news is that there are a number of other ways to watch HBO Max. In addition to supported hardware like Apple TV, Android TV and web browsers, televisions that support AirPlay and Chromecast allow you to use another device like a phone, tablet or computer to start a stream with HBO Max and watch it on your television instead.
That is, until the native apps finally arrive.
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