It’s Official, You Can’t Stream HBO Max on Fire TV and Roku Devices at Launch
Even Support for Google Cast From Your iOS & Android App is Blocked
HBO Max launched this morning on Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Xbox, PS4, Samsung Smart TV, iOS, Android, and your computer. Two notable missing supported platforms are Amazon Fire TV and Roku. The two platforms make up nearly 80 million active streamers, which will leave many in a lurch.
While Roku devices natively support Google Cast and Amazon Fire TV can with a third-party app, the HBO Max App has blocked Casting to Roku streaming players and Fire TV devices. This is different than on “unsupported” Smart TVs, where there are no native apps for LG and VIZIO Smart TVs, but HBO Max does work through AirPlay on those devices.
During the JPMorgan Technology, Media, and Communications Conference, AT&T President and future CEO, John Stankey said “It looks like we may not be in the Amazon Fire App Store when is all said is done.”
Later, Roku said they didn’t have a deal with AT&T: “While we don’t typically comment on specific deal terms or negotiations, the fact is that in this instance while we believe that HBO Max would benefit greatly from distribution on Roku at launch, we do not currently have an agreement in place.”
At the center of the dispute with Amazon & Roku, is whether HBO Max is available via Amazon Prime Video Channels or The Roku Channel’s Premium Subscription service. Since Roku and Amazon already distribute HBO NOW, the sides not only have to reach a deal to upgrade current subscribers to HBO Max, but whether they will continue to distribute it through their marketplace going forward.
HBO NOW is thought to be the most popular service offered via Amazon Prime Video Channels, but it comes at a cost. It has been reported that Amazon keeps 30% of subscription revenue every month, which makes it an expensive channel of distribution. In 2018, TDG estimated that nearly 53% of HBO’s direct-to-consumer subscribers came from Amazon Channels.
For the time being though, those with Fire TV and Roku devices, will be able to stream HBO GO and HBO NOW — but will need another device for HBO Max content (assuming they subscribe through another channel).