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 recognize that the following post is convoluted but I feel it is important to understand that AT&T has cheated loyal long-term HBO customers. But they're AT&T and they made it very confusing because they can.

    Seeking Alpha, which is investor oriented, offered this AT&T: The HBO Max Launch Was A Disaster which covers pretty much everything that seems so disorganized about the launch. With regard to Roku and Amazon the article points out the obvious including a chart:

    [​IMG]

    The obvious fact is HBO Max at launch isn't available on 70% of potential customer's installed streaming media players though I'm sure some of those customer another media player that provides Max.

    From an investor's viewpoint, if no other, that's just AT&T being greedily irresponsible (full disclosure, we own an extremely modest number of shares of AT&T and are AT&T phone customers). Let me explain.

    As the article notes:

    So what's the reason for no deals with Roku and Amazon given the enormous customer potential? Unsurprisingly, it is about money and that AT&T wants to strike a mutually beneficial deal but although we don't know any details I feel AT&T needs to give in here if it wants HBO Max to be meaningful.​

    But there is more to it than that.

    That's certainly one point of view.

    But as the article points out, it's AT&T that's basically stealing from folks who for years have subscribed to HBO through Amazon Prime paying that $15 a month. It offers the following quote from Amazon:

    Unfortunately, with the launch of HBO Max, AT&T is choosing to deny these loyal HBO customers access to the expanded catalog. We believe that if you're paying for HBO, you're entitled to the new programming through the method you're already using. That's just good customer service and that's a priority for us.​

    You need to keep in mind that AT&T is a phone service, TV service, internet service, etc., company.

    IMHO within its TV service business side, AT&T seemingly has not had its act together Launched in 2006, U-verse TV reached 5.7 million customers before they bought DirecTV in 2015 with its 20 million customers announcing plans for a new "home entertainment gateway" platform that will converge DirecTV and U-verse around a common platform based upon DirecTV hardware with "very thin hardware profiles."

    Since I'm not a customer of either service, I can't speak based on experience about that. But what I've read and based on experiences of family members, it seems like AT&T fumbled what should have been a clean merger of organizations. It gets even further muddled because AT&T is an ISP.

    Then in 2018 they acquired Warner Media which gave them the assets of Turner Broadcasting, HBO, Otter Media, and Cinemax. Effectively, this gave them significant assets in both production and direct-to-customer sale of content, "customer" meaning cable/satellite companies which resell "channels" to individuals and individual streaming direct to customers.

    What we have is a cable and satellite TV service provider which is also an internet service provider now offering its Warner Media content to customers as HBO Max in the least thought out launch for a streaming service ever. But...

    The obvious primary goal for AT&T was to promote other AT&T products. As CNBC explained in mid-April:

    AT&T’s WarnerMedia is launching its HBO Max streaming service on May 27, the company announced Tuesday. AT&T customers who currently pay for HBO through AT&T will get access to HBO Max for free.

    If you don’t already pay for HBO through AT&T, HBO Max will also be free for people who pay for any of these AT&T services:
    • AT&T’s Unlimited Elite wireless plan.
    • AT&T’s Internet 1000 plan.
    • AT&T TV Premier (launching after HBO Max.)
    • DirecTV Premier.
    • U-verse U400, U450 and U450 Latino.
    • Customers on other plans will be eligible for up to a free year of service.
    The service will otherwise cost $14.99 per month.​

    But that article was unaware of the other offer explained by The Verge in HBO Max is $3 cheaper thanks to limited-time preorder offer which explains that the offer is going to undercut Apple and Google users who have subscribed directly. The article notes:

    Rich Greenfield, an analyst at LightShed Partners, tweeted that he canceled his HBO subscription through Apple in order to sign up via HBO Max’s website directly and redeem the offer. It’s unclear if WarnerMedia will work out a deal for customers who use Apple and Google for HBO payments, but The Verge has asked for more information.​

    In my case, I kept reading about this finally concluding in April that this launch was going to be weird, not oriented to making the streaming service successful but supporting other AT&T business interests.

    I dropped my $14.99 Amazon Prime HBO (Now) service after signing up for the $11.99 HBO Max introductory offer which gave me immediate and continuing access to HBO content through the HBO Now app on both the Roku and Fire Cube devices.

    In other words, I got a 20% price discount for one year by dropping my Amazon Prime subscription to HBO Now and getting it directly from AT&T. At launch I had access to Max content on my Windows computers plus Android phones which I can mirror to my TV.

    Truthfully, there is no current Max-exclusive content that particularly appeals to me. Sure, the moment I can use the Max app on my Roku and Fire Cube, I will. And once the 12-month $11.99 trial expires I will cancel that subscription and return back to Amazon Prime as the subscription source because IMHO it is the right thing to do.

    In the meantime I expect to see in the next financials from AT&T our household and Rich Greenfield's household counted as a new HBO Max subscribers instead of a continuing HBO subscribers, which is a lie typically found within AT&T financials.
     
  2. JerryMeeker

    JerryMeeker Legend

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    I guess no one is concerned that HBO Max has no 4K or Dolby Vision content?
     
  3. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Yeah it’s ridiculous they don’t have as much 4K as possible available. We know they have plenty of shows and movies that are already mastered and ready to go in 4K!
     
  4. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with the idea HBO is being mean to their subs. Any provider that doesn’t have it right now is basically asking for more control over it than the ones who said yes and signed up for it. It’s basically a fight over money but in reverse of how it usually goes between providers and channels. In this case the providers want more “money” than the channel will “pay”.

    If I where HBO if this doesn’t get sorted within a couple weeks I’d offer free appletv to anyone who agreed to keep HBO for six months. Then we will see what happens with amazon and Roku.
     
    icr2002 likes this.
  5. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member

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    I was able to sideload HBO Max to my Fire TV devices and it works fine other than it isn't listed in installed apps or recent apps on the Home screen. You have to go to Settings => Applications => Manage Installed Applications to launch it from there.
     
  6. icr2002

    icr2002 Mentor

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    I did that on day one. But i could not use the remote to choose anything in the app once it loaded.
     
  7. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    From what I read in WSJ the issue with Roku is a traditional streaming issue dealing with subscription/advertising revenue (the ad bit is for when the AVOD tier launches in 2021.) AT&T/WarnerMedia really has no leverage at the present moment in the streaming realm here and may need to bend and give a little with Roku to get a deal done quickly (i.e. next few days/weeks) and not let this drag out as long as the AT&T TV app debacle did.

    If they can get a Roku deal done in a quick manner then they will have some leverage over Amazon and finally get them to possibly cave on their demand of having the "Max content" de-aggregated into the Prime Video app as a channel like the "HBO content". For Amazon that seems to be their only issue is where the "Max content" is placed apparently as they don't want their Prime Video-HBO channel subscribers hopping between two apps just to watch the "Max content".

    From most consumer sites a lot of the issues is lack of Roku/Fire TV availablity and 4K HDR. Some sites also noted no buzz-worthy originals but are a little more sympathetic like Deadline's article recapping analysts MoffettNathanson assessment where they acknowledged COVID-19 as a reason to cut HBO Max a bit of slack due to the production shutdown as the long awaited Friends reunion (planned for launch) would have been their must-have thing to sign up for. A lot of other sites like IGN had a similar assessment.

    The thing is the service is not bad but their big hurdle is they need at least either a Roku or Amazon deal quick. Both are preferred but if they can get at least one done sooner rather than later that would be a big win. Roku would be the preferred choice as it has the bigger install base in the United States.

    From what I've read if you couldn't use your remote you may have side-loaded the Android Mobile apk not the Android TV apk those who side-loaded the Android TV apk have had no issues.
     
  8. glrush

    glrush Cool Member/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I fooled around with it a little bit last week. As another poster commented, the sign in with my Apple TV was a little clunky but it finally worked. Video quality was good I thought; I really loved the old Loonie Tune cartoons.
    Not being on Amazon or Roku is a pretty big hole, IMO. ATT&T has made it clear how important HBO Max is to their company and it isn't available to 2 of the biggest streamers ? Seems weak.
    This article was pretty interesting:
    Data show why HBO Max's slow start may not tell the whole story
     
  9. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member

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    This is correct. Using the download from this article works fine. How to install HBO Max on Fire Stick using Android TV APK

    Also the apk will not install if you have HBO NOW installed. You must uninstall it first. After you get HBO Max installed if you go to the apps section and click the HBO Now icon it will then launch HBO Max and it will be listed in your applications and recent apps as HBO Now but it runs HBO Max.
     
  10. dod1450

    dod1450 Legend

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    It would be nice to have this app available on my Directv receiver. Like they have for locast.
     
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  11. icr2002

    icr2002 Mentor

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    Thank You. You were right. I have successfully sideloaded the hbo max for andriod tv onto my fire and it works wonderfully. Still think amazon should allow it for all prime users and solve their issues with att afterwards. Not everyone knows how to sideload
     
  12. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    In a break from the DNS madness currently going on in the D* forum this is an interesting read from Variety about HBO Max. They make a good point tho Netflix didn't have its breakout must watch original programs on Day 1 like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. The Max Originals will get there :)
     
  13. glrush

    glrush Cool Member/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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  14. grover517

    grover517 AllStar

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    I think there is enough blame here to go around for Amazon, Roku and AT&T. We all know fully well how they all operate from both sides of the battle lines as providers and content owners. But in the end, for me right now, this is pretty much on AT&T.

    My own personal opinion is that AT&T knew fully well how those two companies operate, had over a year to hammer out an agreement yet here we are. AT&T picked this fight plain and simple and is completely willing to toss 80+ million potential customers to the side to try and get their way. It's their decision to do that and that's fine. But it doesn't negate the fact that yet again, we the consumers are stuck in the middle. I simply won't allow myself to be used in that way anymore. I chose FireTV for a number of reasons above and beyond over what apps were available or weren't. So even if HBO Max offered free AppleTV's or other supported devices, I still wouldn't bite. It would just encourage even more of this crap.

    Although I am interested to see what Max is all about and what content is really out there, I am not about to throw even more money at another streaming device, pay a premium price AND have to jump thru hoops such as side loading the app, watching only on a mobile device or anything else just to view it. I didn't ditch my FireTV devices when Amazon and Google had their pissing match over Prime Video, YT and YTTV (which I now subscribe to by the way) and I won't do it this time either. I will simply wait until the children find a way to get along and then maybe give Max a peek to see if it's worth the cost. Until then, there is already way too much content out there to watch.
     
  15. icr2002

    icr2002 Mentor

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    great now hbo max demands an update and I got to find the correct apk. THis is getting old real fast amazon!!!!!
     
  16. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    No problem updating apps on my Android TVs (Sony XBR-55X900F and Sony XBR-65A9G). All I have to do is select Apps and go into Google Play Store and select My Apps. It tells me which ones need updating. All I have to do is select Update All and it's taken care of. Easy.
     
  17. mjwagner

    mjwagner Icon

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    Doesn’t work that way for folks running the side loaded app on FireTV devices...which is the only way to run it currently on those devices.
     
  18. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    This is true you have to manually update the app by side-loading the updated apk file.

    @icr2002 keep that link from @b4pjoe bookmarked I just checked it and that site seems to be keeping up to date with the app updates by updating the links in the article. The article was edited on June 3rd with a link to the updated APK.
     
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