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HBO Max on Roku: 7 things to know!

HBO Max has officially launched and right off the bat, has gathered its share of troubles. While available for access on a number of platforms, the new video streaming service has yet to stick a deal with Amazon and Roku. For the time being, it seems Roku users, and users of Amazon’s Fire Stick will be left waiting for a dedicated HBO Max application. Here is all you need to know about it!

HBO Max is not available for Roku

If you have just subscribed to HBO’s new premium streaming service, HBO Max, and are wondering why you cannot access the app on your Roku device, welcome to the dilemma. It turns out that HBO Max will not be available on any Roku or Fire Stick devices.

Numerous users are left disappointed after they have subscribed to the streaming service only to find that there is no way to access the content on their device.

However, unlike Roku, users of Amazon Fire TV Stick can install the HBO Max app on their devices unofficially by sideloading the Android TV APK. The same trick could of course work for Roku devices but we can’t confirm that to you for now.

How to get HBO Max on Amazon Fire Stick by sideloading Android TV app APK

Can you use your device to cast HBO Max to Roku?

If you were thinking of simply casting your screen from your mobile device, that will not be so simple. Roku uses a different form of casting called ‘DIAL’. This method requires both, the device that is casting, and the TV, to have the same app installed.

For example, you can cast YouTube videos, since Roku has a YouTube app and your device has one too. However, since Roku does not yet have an HBO Max app, you will not be able to cast your HBO Max screen to the TV.

Though, you can use Miracast to stream content over Wi-Fi Direct. All modern smartphones have this feature, especially the ones from Samsung and LG. Although this will not directly cast your video to the TV, it will mirror your screen and anything on it.

Here is why Roku doesn’t have HBO Max

Well, as always there are two sides to the coin. But it is always the consumers that get stuck in the middle of these kerfuffles. Here is the gist of the matter.

  • It’s being said that AT&T wants to use Roku to simply host HBO Max, without allowing customers to sign up from their app. This way they are in complete control of their content and this is also evident from how you access HBO Max via YouTube TV and Hulu — you have to sign in to HBO Max app/web with your YTTV/Hulu credentials to access the service. You can’t use the Hulu app, or YouTube TV for accessing content.
  • Roku, on the other hand, it seems, is unwilling to purely host HBO Max without having the rights to distribute it.
  • Roku gains a percentage when users sign up for HBO’s streaming service, which it will lose out on with HBO Max.
  • Revenue sharing aside, Roku could be unhappy with HBO switching to an app-based distribution model with HBO Max. This will cause all the new content to be funneled through WarnerMedia, instead of through Roku’s own platforms.
  • Another reason could be that HBO wants to show a growth curve while rolling out, and will not be able to achieve this if they roll out on all platforms at once.

Will Roku get the HBO Max app in the future?

As of now, it doesn’t look like it. Though both companies have been open about the fact that they may collaborate in the future, until they reach a revenue-sharing model acceptable by both parties, that seems to be a pipe dream.

However, if the past is anything to go by, we may see a repetition in what happened when HBO Now was originally rolled out. The streaming service was first launched with Apple but was later brought to Fire Stick about five months later, and another two months later on Roku.

Now, we don’t know how many months we will have to wait till Roku gets HBO Max, but if it’s the same strategy they are after, it shouldn’t be more than a few months.

It is also safe to assume how well HBO Max’s current system works for HBO will determine their position of strength in bargaining with the likes of Roku, Amazon (Fire Stick), Comcast, and all.

When can we expect HBO Max to be available on Roku

It seems that HBO Max already has its apps ready for launch on the two major platforms. However, until they strike a deal, we are only guessing. It comes as a bit of relief that HBO Max is ready with its apps. So there should be little delay once (if) they strike a deal.

Related: How to watch HBO MAX outside US (works for abroad users)

Will the HBO Now app change to HBO Max app on Roku

Subscribers to HBO Max have received an email informing them that the HBO Now app on their device will be updated to the new HBO Max app. If you haven’t yet got the update, try uninstalling and reinstalling the app on your device.

While this works for all of HBO Max’s supported platforms, the same does not hold for Roku and Fire Stick devices. Since the companies have not yet reached negotiations, there will be no change in the HBO Now app, on either of these devices. So don’t bother uninstalling your app, because it ain’t gonna help.

Alternatives?

To access HBO Max without Roku, you can use services like YouTube and Hulu. You will need to add HBO Max to your Hulu/YouTube TV subscription, and then use the HBO Max app/web to sign in with Hulu/YouTube TV credentials to access the new content.

How to add HBO Max to YouTube TV

Since HBO Max isn’t available on your device, here are the top video streaming apps that you can use on your Roku TV. All of these are available for download on the Roku channel store. Simply hit the Home button and select ‘Streaming channels’ from the left panel.

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • Google Play Movies
  • HBO Now
  • SHOWTIME
  • PBS

Have you got your HBO Max subscription yet? What are some of your favorite shows? Let us know in the comments below. 

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