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Following HBO Max’s Return to Prime Video Channels, Could Streamer Come Back to Roku Premium, Apple TV Channels?

David Satin

On Tuesday, it was announced that HBO Max would be returning to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels after an absence of over a year from the third-party streaming hub. WarnerMedia pulled the service from Prime Video in August of 2021 in order to reap all of the subscription revenue and customer data from new sign-ups for itself.

But WarnerMedia is gone now, replaced by Warner Bros. Discovery after Discovery acquired Warner earlier this year. Gone too are many of the policies that WarnerMedia followed, including the unwillingness to share HBO Max with Prime Video Channels. Current WBD CEO David Zaslav is focused on monetizing his streaming services as much as possible, and the new distribution deal to bring HBO Max back to Prime Video Channels is clearly a part of that strategy.

Zaslav wants HBO Max to be available as widely as possible before it combines with discovery+ in spring 2023 to become a new service likely to be named “Max.” Given that fact, users of the Roku Channel’s Premium Subscriptions and Apple TV Channels might well be wondering if the ability to sign up for HBO Max through those services could soon return as well.

Users of Apple TV devices used to be able to sign up to HBO through their streaming box’s lineup of channels. However, in 2021, after HBO Max launched, Apple TV users lost the ability to access the HBO channel via their device, which they had been able to do since 2019. Apple TV users can still download the HBO Max app via the App Store, but they cannot currently subscribe to HBO Max through Apple TV Channels.

Similarly, while users of Roku devices can download the HBO Max app, they cannot sign up for a subscription to the service through Roku Premium Subscriptions. In 2019, Roku Channel users could utilize that service to subscribe to HBO, but when HBO Max launched, Roku simply made the app available in their channels store. That meant that customers had to sign up for a subscription to HBO Max separately, then return to Roku to log in with their credentials.

Users may wonder why it matters if HBO Max returns to Apple TV channels and Roku Premium Subscriptions. After all, users of Apple TV and Roku devices can still access HBO Max, right? But signing up for HBO Max through a third party like Prime Video Channels allows customers to keep all of their subscriptions in one place, with one monthly bill, which is a lot easier to keep track of than trying to keep tabs on various subscriptions to individual services.

It wouldn’t be a surprise for this to happen. In May, Warner Bros. Discovery reached a deal with Roku to distribute discovery+ through Roku Premium Subscriptions. While they have an Apple TV App, they don’t currently have discovery+ available for subscription via Apple TV Channels.

If HBO Max does return to Roku and Apple TV Channels, there is another question that must be answered: What content will come with it? Currently, Prime Video is the only third-party platform that provides access to HBO Max’s entire library.

Other services that offer HBO Max subscriptions to their customers — like Comcast’s Xfinity cable, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and more — are only able to provide access to content available through HBO’s linear channels live or on-demand. This is because those cable and live TV streaming services have the ability to stream the linear HBO programming, but the HBO Max content is a completely separate library.

It would greatly reduce friction for users if Roku and Apple TV customers could also access HBO Max’s full content library if it returns to those services.

There have been no such deals announced, but with the return of HBO Max to Prime Video Channels — and all of the revenue-focused reversals that Zaslav has overseen in his short tenure atop WBD — it stands to reason that Roku Premium Subscriptions and Apple TV Channels might not be far behind.


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 TBD and ad-free plan for DKK 79. HBO Max without ads also includes features like the ability to download offline and 4K streaming.

Subscribers will have access to hit HBO series like Succession, Mare of Easttown, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and more.

All HBO Max subscribers will get the full libraries of shows like “Friends”, “The Big Bang Theory”, “South Park”, “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, “The West Wing”, and more.

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.”

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