Over 200 days after it was launched, HBO Max is finally set to arrive on the popular Roku platform.
HBO Max has some great programming, but its first year of existence has been nothing if not messy. Beyond the confusion of what the heck HBO Max is versus HBO Go/Now, there’s been the varied availability on TV platforms. It only just arrived on Amazon Fire last month, then earlier this week snuck onto Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex, followed closely by PlayStation 5.
This left Roku out in the cold as the last remaining platform on which users didn’t have HBO Max access. And PS5 wasn’t even on the market when WarnerMedia’s streaming service arrived, adding insult to injury. Now, however, Roku and Warner have finally announced they’ve come to terms and will launch HBO Max on the Roku channel store tomorrow, December 17th. Roku users who currently have the standard HBO app will see it automatically updated to HBO Max, accessible via existing credentials.
Said Roku’s Senior Vice President of Platform Business Scott Rosenberg in a statement,
“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. 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.”
The long-awaited move comes just a week away from the HBO Max debut of Wonder Woman 1984. The superhero feature will hit select theaters and the streaming service on December 25th, a major smashing of the release-window standards precipitated by the pandemic.
Warner recently announced they intend to have the same strategy with all their 2021 releases, bringing anticipated features like Dune, The Matrix 4, and The Suicide Squad to HBO Max the same day they arrive in theaters. In unfortunately typical fashion, WB mismanaged that announcement, pissing off much of Hollywood and cinemas by neglecting to negotiate with them until after announcing the move.
Roku users may be excited that they’ll be able to watch Space Jam: A New Legacy upon its release like the rest of us, but they might not want to whip out those TuneSquad jerseys just yet. Word is there are some lawsuits brewing that could force WB to reverse their day-and-date release plans.