Q. I have subscribed to HBO Max, but I want to know if I can watch it on Roku. It’s really the only streaming box I use. If Roku doesn’t have it, I will cancel HBO Max immediately. — Donna, Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Donna, the AT&T-owned HBO Max is scheduled to debut next week, but as of this morning, the new streaming service will not be available on arguably the two leading streaming devices, Roku or Amazon’s Fire TV.
AT&T executives have acknowledged that Fire TV might be a holdout, but Roku recently issued a statement saying it doesn’t have a deal to carry HBO Max, either.
“As the #1 streaming platform in the US with over 40 million active accounts that rely upon Roku to access their favorite programs and to discover new content, we are focused on entering into win-win distribution agreements with all new OTT services as part of their launch strategies,” Roku said. “While we don’t typically comment on specific deal terms or negotiations, the fact is that in this instance while we believe that HBO Max would benefit greatly from distribution on Roku at launch, we do not currently have an agreement in place.”
The good news here is that carriage deals often happen shortly before the launch of a new channel, or streaming service. So it’s not time to panic, Roku owners.
But I suspect that many HBO Max subscribers will not stay with the service if Roku doesn’t come on board sooner than later.
By the way, HBO Max, which will cost $14.99 a month, will include the programming available from HBO as well as non-HBO shows and movies such as Friends, The Big Bang Theory, South Park, Wonder Woman, The Wizard of Oz and The Matrix.
The TV Answer Man will update this story if and when more information about HBO Max and Roku becomes available.
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— Phillip Swann