HBO Max will launch its dedicated app on Amazon’s Fire TV devices — including its popular dongle often referred to as ‘Firestick — and Fire tablets starting Tuesday, the companies said Monday, giving HBO Max’s customers the easiest and simplest way to stream on those products.
The deal puts to rest a major standoff that likely crimped HBO Max’s traction since launching in May — and leaves Roku as the last major streaming-device platform lacking support for HBO’s app, which offers extra movies, shows and originals that you can’t get on the regular premium network.
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Roku didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
HBO Max’s “continued goal is to make HBO Max and its unparalleled content available to customers across all the devices they love,” according to Tony Goncalves, the head of sales and distribution for WarnerMedia, which is the AT&T unit that runs HBO. “Fire TV is a favorite among customers and we look forward to working with the Amazon team to engage and grow our existing subscriber base by showcasing all that HBO Max has to offer.”
HBO Max, the streaming service from AT&T’s WarnerMedia, launched in late May as another splashy new service in the so-called streaming wars, a seven-month period when from a media and technology giants rolled out their own, big-budget takes on streaming TV. Just like Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and NBCUniversal’s Peacock. And streaming has grown more popular than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, amplifying the long trend of people watching more of their video online.
But now, the most powerful TV app distributors and deep-pocketed media companies have drawn a battle line for control of the data and money generated by your streaming activity. That’s led to these standoffs pitting device makers Roku and Amazons against big new services HBO Max and Peacock, as both sides try to entrench positions of power for the next era of TV. Those face-offs have manifested in these “blackouts” of apps on some of the most popular streaming platforms.
Unfortunately, that puts people like you in the middle of a power battle: Until the companies reconcile, you can’t watch all the biggest services on the most popular streaming devices.
Both HBO Max and Peacock launched without apps on Roku’s or Amazon’s Fire TV devices, even though their products are the most popular ones to stream on televisions in the US. Together, the two companies’ streaming devices and smart TVs make up 70% of all the streaming devices installed in the US last year, and they reach more than 80 million active users between them globally.
Now, the device makers and streaming services are stitching together patchwork support. HBO Max now has a deal with Amazon’s Fire line of devices, but HBO Max’s app is still missing from Roku. Peacock and Roku reached a deal in September to support Peacock app on that platform, but that leaves Amazon’s Fire TV as the only major platform without Peacock.
HBO Max will begin rolling out on Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, Fire TV Edition smart TVs and Fire tablets starting Tuesday, but their deal includes support with Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant system too.
For example, customers can find the HBO Max app by saying the voice command “Alexa, find HBO Max” using Fire TV’s Alexa Voice Remote or a paired Echo device. HBO Max content is also integrated into universal search on Fire TV, so Max programming will be returned in searches such as “Alexa, find dramas” or “Alexa, find Game of Thrones.”
Once the HBO Max app is downloaded and opened, current subscribers of HBO through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels will be able to log in to the HBO Max app with their Amazon credentials immediately at no additional cost. The HBO app on Fire TV and Fire tablets will automatically update to become the HBO Max app; customers will be able to log in using their existing HBO credentials.
New customers can also subscribe to HBO Max directly in the app.
HBO Max: How to get it