HBO Max - is it a mess?

Discussion in 'Internet Streaming Services' started by phrelin, May 28, 2020.

  1. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    I was hoping someone else would start a thread on HBO Max which was introduced the United States on Wednesday. But we need to start reading opinions here.

    The review by Gizmodo is headlined HBO Max Is a Mess because what the writer describes is a mess. Variety notes another problem HBO Max’s 80 Million Household Dead Spot: Why Streamer Isn’t on Roku or Amazon Fire TV. And while the Ars Technica reviewer uses kinder language, the headline explains HBO Max is live: $15/mo for a massive library, significant headaches.

    Since I have two TV's, one driven by a Roku device, the other by an Amazon Fire TV Cube, I cannot comment about Max other than it is saving me $3 a month. About a month ago, I dropped my $14.99 per month HBO (Now) Amazon subscription and for $11.99-per-month-for-12-months signed up for HBO Max as a new in-advance subscriber which gave me HBO Now through an HBO Now app on both the Roku and the Cube. I think of the $3 as a contribution for Apple+.

    Anyway, I'm curious how folks here feel about HBO Max.
     
  2. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member

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    Good selection of stuff to watch if you have a supported device. I haven't experienced any technical issues either.
     
  3. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    While it's only been two days so far there isn't anything not to like about HBO Max.
     
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  4. icr2002

    icr2002 Mentor

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    I got something to NOT like about HBO max. You cant use it on fire tv or Roku. They should be telling people when they start signing up that so they dont WASTE their money. I dont watch anything on my cell or PC. I wont be paying for another month until they are on them devices.
     
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  5. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    That's a licensing agreement issue and has nothing to do with how well HBO Max performs as a service.
     
  6. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    Yep, and it will be solved soon I would guess. Otherwise the service works very well, the UI isn’t horrible and the stuff it has in addition to HBO is great.

    Search is a little odd I’ve found, takes more letters to have it show what you are looking for than most other searches.
     
  7. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    My main complaint is they could have added at least 4 more HBO Max hubs o_O The 4 HBO Max hubs I think would have been beneficial are BBC Studios Collection, CNN Collection, truTV Collection and The CW Collection. Currently there is only two shows from TBS (Conan Without Borders, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) and two from TNT (The Alienist, Men of a Certain Age) so not enough for a content hub at the moment.

    CNN has 11 shows and truTV has 9 shows both could have benefited from their own content hubs. Their partnership with BBC Studios could also benefit from a content hub as there are 42 different titles that come up when searching for BBC. In comparison the flagship Loony Tunes content hub features 5 titles and the Adult Swim content hub has 9 titles.

    An easy way to navigate around is to figure out the keywords for search. If you want to see all the titles from the BBC Studios partnership just type "BBC" into the search and it will display all the titles. I personally like the fact in addition to Doctor Who they have Torchwood and now both Little Britain and Little Britain USA are in 1 home :). Other useful keywords are obviously CNN, TBS, TNT, truTV.

    Boomerang is not a useful keyword as it produces the 2016 Suicide Squad movie :p and nothing displays when you type in The CW or CW (The CW would have been beneficial for Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Katy Keene :rolleyes:). While there is only 3 shows from The CW on there at the moment they are 3 big shows from the network and fit within one of the demographics they are trying to expand upon outside of the HBO brand.

    Technical wise it had the smoothest launch so far it was not as horrid as the Day 1 launch of Disney+ (maybe not being on Amazon Fire TV device and Roku devices had a helping hand in that o_O) Compatible devices had the HBO Now app updated to HBO Max which rolled out over a few hours starting at 3 AM ET. There was a breif issue between 4-5am where some videos didn't want to load so I just watched the episode of Last Week Tonight I missed via good old trusty HBO Go.

    @phrelin I erroneously put the main HBO Max thread in the DirecTV section because most of the talked about information out during its reveal was about AT&T/DirecTV subscribers getting it for free and there was a lot of confusion about how that worked. Most of the posts have been in that thread. (Now in hindsight not a good place to place that thread :oops:)

    I think it will improve over time and you can tell when comparing content available on both HBO Go vs HBO Max (like Game of Thrones) that HBO Max has a higher bit-rate than HBO Go. I tested that out with watching the first episode out on my main TV with my Apple TV and I could tell a difference between the two. I do hope HBO Max gets 4K HDR support soon because I plan on getting a 4K TV sometime next year.

    Obviously I don't think they meant to launch with just six original series or give Craftopia and Not Too Late Show with Elmo such a hard advertising push at launch lol. You can tell they got hit hard by Hollywood being shut down by COVID-19 and what they are doing is rationing what is completed and hoping Hollywood opens back up soon.

    Eventually what will probably happen if Hollywood doesn't open back up soon is they might have to share more stuff with DC Universe and Crunchyroll than intended similar to how The CW has had to resort to airing two cancelled series, Swamp Thing from DC Universe and Tell Me a Story from CBS All Access, for the fall.

    I personally think WarnerMedia may even have to break their earlier statement about keeping HBO Max and Cinemax separate and eventually bring over one or two of the Cinemax originals in order to buy more time depending on how long it takes for their HBO Max originals to restart production once they are allowed to do so.

    Overall I think HBO Max is very good for the price considering old HBO would cost anywhere from $14.99 for HBO Now to $17.99 on DirecTV. HBO Max has double the amount of content for the same price, multiple profiles, better bit-rate than Go/Now, better movie selection outside of HBO. Similar to Disney+ once the rights expire to other Warner Bros. films expire on other platforms they will come home to HBO Max.
     
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  8. tsmacro

    tsmacro Hall Of Fame

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    I've determined that HBO doesn't want my money. I subscribed to them for years and then they pulled their channel from Dish, so I streamed their service just long enough to watch the final season of GoT. Then I basically forgot they existed for a while and then I start hearing about their new HBO Max service and I'm thinking ok that sounds like it would be worth checking out. Oh but what I use for streaming is an Amazon Fire Stick, so oh well, no HBO Max for me.
     
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  9. CTJon

    CTJon Godfather

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    Just tried it on my laptop with AirPlay to my TV. Not in love with the interface but maybe I need to play with it more It seems to want me to add things to my list rather than just play it. Again, maybe I need to play more with it. Content will be more important than interface so we shall see
     
  10. makaiguy

    makaiguy Icon

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    For me it's Roku, but the same problem. They'll come to terms eventually.

    I think it's ironic that, after doing battle with the content suppliers to their satellite and cable services, that now that ATT is the content supplier themselves they're playing hardball with their downstream distribution services.
     
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  11. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    WarnerMedia has versions of the app for Amazon Fire devices and Roku devices ready to go they just need to reach deals with Amazon and Roku first then it can be deployed "within minutes".

    I would seriously love to know if people would be this willing to place this much blame on Disney if Disney+ actually launched without any support for Amazon Fire device support like originally planned? I mean honestly just because it is AT&T people are automatically assuming it is AT&T's fault HBO Max is not available on their devices do you not once hold your device manufacture/App store operator responsible? It is their own Digital Walled Garden after all Amazon dictates to you what apps are available because you have their device.

    For a refresher Disney released the list of comparable devices for Disney+ in advance and Amazon Fire devices were missing. Amazon didn't reach a deal until 5 days before the launch day of Disney+. Mainly the reports were over Amazon wanting 40% of the ad-space across ESPN+, Hulu, DisneyNow, FreeformNow, FXNow, National Geographic Now, etc. in exchange for Fire device support for Disney+. Disney did not like that number which is a big chunk of valuable ad-space to hand over to Amazon. Exactly why does Amazon need this big of a % of ad-revenue sharing across this many apps? They are not one ones spending all the money producing the content here.

    The fact of the matter is WarnerMedia has managed to sign a lot of deals with a lot of providers in a short amount of time to include HBO Max as part of various HBO/HBO Now subscriptions outside of direct billed HBO Now/AT&T owned companies.

    The issue is not AT&T/WarnerMedia if it was that list would be minuscule. Amazon's big problem is they want the "Max content" integrated into the Prime Video App. When content is integrated into the Prime Video App Amazon gets control over all analytics data from that user and selectively passes on what it wants to the content owner. WarnerMedia wants all Max content viewed through its own app just like how Amazon treats Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ and Amazon is saying no.

    WarnerMedia has no objections to allowing them keeping the "HBO content" and the HBO linear channels available through the Prime Video app similar to how Hulu is able to continue offering HBO content through its own app along with HBO linear channels. Hulu + HBO subscribers just need to use the HBO Max app to watch the Max originals and library content like Friends.

    During the dispute Roku is being respectful to all sides and not prodding its consumer base into a riot which I respect Roku for. Sure their statement is more of a fluff piece but it is a sign of good faith on their part and they even wish HBO Max success and want to be part of it.

    Amazon on the other hand is playing low-ball dirty tactics commonly used during pay-TV disputes between a channel owner and a MVPD. Amazon is outright accusing AT&T directly because they know the AT&T brand (like all telecommunication companies) have a negative consumer perception and Amazon thinks by doing this they will get what they want from WarnerMedia. They know by going after the "WarnerMedia" brand it won't mean much to the consumer but going after "AT&T" brand will incite anger towards AT&T and not Amazon.

    Had Amazon not reached a deal with Disney then people would have turned against Amazon because in the world of brand perception people around the world (not just in the United States) love the Disney brand more than the Amazon brand and would have placed more blame on Amazon if Disney+ launched without any Amazon Fire device support. Hence why Amazon held out as long as they possibly could on a deal and caved 5 days before Disney+'s launch. They didn't want to take a risk of people buying other streaming devices and losing market share over not having Disney+.

    Amazon is not the innocent party it is portraying itself out to be here it is just as much to blame for the lack of HBO Max on Amazon Fire devices. Amazon has even blocked new Android TV OS devices from using their own Prime Video app until the device manufacturer reached some sort of revenue sharing agreement with Amazon.

    During disputes they often would use the HBO Now app as a way to skirt around the dispute with the manufacturer by advising Prime Video Channels-HBO subscribers to use the HBO Now app on affected devices until the dispute was resolved. (On Android TV OS devices the manufacturer can't block compatible apps like Netflix and Prime Video for any reason however Netflix and Amazon can block their app from appearing on any Android TV device for any reason.)

    So instead of placing all the blame on AT&T here you should look at Amazon's track record and see Amazon's history of using its platform and customer base as ways to get what it wants when it comes to increased revenue, increased ad revenue, etc.

    The TL;DR Amazon wants all the "Max content" integrated into the Prime Video app not because it is "good customer service" because they want to be the ones in control of the analytics and viewership data generated each time a Prime Video-HBO subscriber watches something from the Prime Video app. They don't want you to navigate outside of the Prime Video app to watch Love Life, Friends, Batman or Harry Potter where they won't get your (aka the consumer's) data.
     
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  12. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member

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    Great post. To be honest I like the Apple TV 4K box a lot more than my Fire TV devices so I'll probably just get a couple more of them and be done with Amazon hardware.
     
  13. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    I found "Band of Brothers" today and placed it in My List and watched the first two episodes. Audio/Video is Blu-ray quality. It gave my surround sound system a good workout. Again, what's not to like about HBO Max?
     
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  14. JerryMeeker

    JerryMeeker Legend

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    I downloaded the app to my AppleTV 4K. On the plus side, I was able to gain access using my DirecTV credentials, since I am an HBO subscriber. On the minus side, HBO Max does not support 4K, or Dolby Vision content. Quite a bit of the content I have already viewed since I have been a HBO subscriber for many years.
     
  15. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    I appreciate all the observations which place the HBO Max service in a viewer experience context. It's something to look forward to when and if the app appears on Roku and/or Amazon hardware.

    Because we experienced over the decades so much conflict between source networks and carriers (like Dish in my case), I can't get real upset about the dispute between the likes of AT&T (now a source streamer) and the device companies Roku and Amazon, both of which are free beyond acquiring the hardware. As streaming devices go, Roku is at the top of my list. I like my 2nd gen Fire Cube because it replaced an Echo device in our living room plus it's competitive among the streaming devices.

    So I'll wait patiently...what else can one do? In the meantime, we're still getting the HBO content that we enjoy for $3 a month less than we were paying in April (see my OP).
     
  16. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    While it would be nice to have HBO Max on Roku and FireTV devices right now, it will happen and I think fairly soon. ATT can’t ignore the 80 million potential subscribers that those two box providers have. Some compromise will make it happen. For those wanting to point fingers, well have fun. Neither of the players in this are fault free imo.

    As to video/audio quality? Well, no it isn’t Blu-Ray quality. It is very good 1080p video quality and good 5.1 audio. Better than many other providers.l

    The UI is a huge step up from HBO Now/Go! Profiles are a biggie IMO. Now I can watch a series and so can my son and keep track of just where I’m at in the series while he can keep track of his. Having a watchlist is great too. I haven’t used HBO Go/Now for a long time, do they even have Watchlists?
     
  17. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    They have had watchlists forever. The profiles is the big new thing as you say.

    I’ll happily fully blame amazon and Roku since they don’t want to do for HBO Max what they have done for Netflix and Disney+

    I think they realize they are losing out ways to monetize the people watching those apps and want to stop that. Tuff.
     
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  18. billsharpe

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    I've been getting HBO for $5 per month for over a year with my Frontier cable sub. Even with the extras I can't see paying $15 for HBO Max, especially since I have a Roku TV.
     
  19. icr2002

    icr2002 Mentor

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    Both companys should allow u to install and run any andriod app on the device U bought. If they gave away the devices I would not have a problem with them controlling what can and can not be on them. But they dont. I think I may dump all my fire tv devices and replace them with google chromecasts.
     
  20. raott

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    At my house, one of my Apple TV's it claimed that the "AT&T account" was not authorized to have HBO Max....despite the fact that the TV Provider in my Apple TV settings is Directv and NOT AT&T. It took deleting the app, signing out of the My TV provider on the Apple TV, logging back in to My TV provider, and then re-adding and signing in to the App for it to work.
     

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