Dedicated ‘HBO Max’ Buttons on Some Remote Controls No Longer Functional After Max Launch
The technical issues for Max seem to be mounting. The new streaming platform from Warner Bros. Discovery which essentially offers the libraries of both HBO Max and discovery+ got off to a start no bumpier than could be expected for a product launch of its size, but now users are starting to report more bugs.
The newest issue facing would-be Max users is that some streaming devices with dedicated HBO Max buttons are not compatible with the Max app. This means that instead of taking the user to the new app, these buttons are simply not functional at all anymore. Affected devices include older Walmart Onn Android-TV streaming players, though not newer 4K models that first went on sale earlier this month. The issue may also affect users of streaming devices and smart TVs made by LG, Sony, TCL and more Android TV-powered devices.
For some users, a Button Mapping app will allow them to connect the HBO Max button to the Max app and continue as normal. But some other devices, such as Walmart’s Onn line, require a complex fix that is likely beyond the capabilities or interest of the average streaming user. That means that most will simply be at the mercy of WBD’s tech department to send a software update that will fix the problem.
That fix is likely, given that WBD likely paid a decent amount of money to get those TV and device manufacturers to install a dedicated HBO Max button. The company has been actively working on Max for over a year, and it would be a glaring oversight to pay to install dedicated buttons for a streaming product that would be permanently disabled when the new streaming product launched.
Public reaction to the Max rebrand has been mixed, at best. Users are frequently asking why the change was necessary, and WBD forced users to download a new app instead of simply updating their old one. The answer is that Max features so much new software that it was likely easier to just create a new app instead of overwriting the old one, but that decision has clearly had unforeseen consequences. A further example of this is the fact that Max’s Kids and Family section includes content rated PG-13 and TV-14, which means it’s packed with titles that many parents wouldn’t want their young children to see.
Despite glitches like this, WBD CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said Wednesday that it was “so far, so good” for the launch of Max. WBD’s tech engineers have an increasing number of fires to put out before that assessment is made accurate, however, and they’d better do it quickly if the company expects to see more enthusiasm about the service from its customers going forward.
Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that issues with the Max app also applied to new models of Walmart’s Onn. devices, when it only applies to older models.
Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals. There are hubs for content from TLC, HGTV, Food Network, Discovery, TCM, Cartoon Network, Travel Channel, ID, and more. Watch hit series like “The Last of Us,” “House of the Dragon,” “Succession,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and more. The service changed its name from “HBO Max” on May 23, 2023.
Max has three tiers, an ad-supported plan for $9.99 an ad-free plan for $15.99, and the ultimate tier that includes 4K for $19.99.
All 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.
You can choose to add Max as a subscription through Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or other Live TV providers.