Roku is in more homes that any other streaming device. Millions own the plug-in sticks and a growing number own dedicated Roku TVs. This is why it’s strange that Warner Bros did not provide a Roku app for its HBO Max streaming service when it launched, or for months afterward.
There WERE workarounds — if you owned a game console that wasn’t a Switch, there was probably an HBO Max app for it. Consumers were also allowed to add HBO Max to an existing streaming cable subscription like YouTube TV, which is on Roku (but it’s $65 a month right now). But you don’t have to bother anymore…whatever issue there was between the two companies has been settled, and just in time for Christmas.
“We believe that all entertainment will be streamed and we are thrilled to partner with HBO Max to bring their incredible library of iconic entertainment brands and blockbuster slate of direct-to-streaming theatrical releases to the Roku households with more than 100 million people that have made Roku the No. 1 TV streaming platform in America,” said Scott Rosenberg, Roku’s senior vice president of platform business. “Reaching mutually beneficial agreements where Roku grows together with our partners is how we deliver an exceptional user experience at an incredible value for consumers and we are excited by the opportunity to deepen our longstanding relationship with the team at WarnerMedia.”
Both parties are likely feeling relieved right now. Roku for landing HBO Max right before Wonder Woman 1984 hits the service, and Warner Bros for the potential subscriber boost. HBO Max has been lagging behind the competition in userbase numbers since its rough start last summer. It’s not really the content that’s been the problem — HBO Max has received good reviews for its originals and its library of material, and for having the rare type of menu interface that’s actually easy to navigate. it’s the unavailability that’s kept it from success, as well as the fact that at $15 it’s one of the pricier streaming options out there.
The HBO Max app is now downloadable on all Roku devices. Accessing content takes a $15/mo subscription…and there’s no getting around it anymore, they dumped their free trial fearing everyone would just use it to watch Wonder Woman and then leave. They figured us out!