Q. I’ve been having trouble streaming HBO Max lately. The picture freezes or sputters a bit. Any tips on how to fix that? Also, when are they going to add 4K? — Ben, Reston, Virginia.
Ben, let me take your second question first. HBO Max, an expanded online version of the regular HBO channel, launched on May 27 with promises that 4K was coming soon. However, more than two months later, it’s still not available and there’s no update from AT&T, which owns HBO Max, on when it will be available.
The TV Answer Man is closely monitoring this situation and will report back here if and when we get more information.
Now, for question one. What should you do if your HBO Max has a consistent problem with buffering?
The streaming service offers several tips at its web site, and here they are:
1. Update the App
Online programmers frequently issue software upgrades so you want to be sure your app has the latest update. If you’re using an app that’s not been updated, it can trigger numerous performance issues. You can check if an update has been posted for HBO Max at the Play store on your Android device, or the iTunes store on your Apple device.
2. Get a Better Internet Service
Some cost-conscious consumers use their mobile Hotspots to stream video rather than pay for Internet service from a cable or telco company. However, a Hotspot’s speed can vary greatly depending on how much data you’ve used (companies reduce your speed if you exceed pre-set limits) or the number of people using the Hotspot. If your streaming picture consistently freezes or stutters, you might want to upgrade to a better Internet service. And if you already have a cable or telco Internet plan, you might need to upgrade to a faster one.
3. Test Your Internet Speed
Which brings us to step #3. HBO Max says you need a minimum download speed of 5 Mbps to get a consistent picture. That doesn’t mean your Internet plan delivers speeds up to 5 Mbps; it means that it averages 5 Mbps and above. You can test your service’s speed at numerous sites, such as Netflix’s Fast.com.
4. Restart Your Device
Whether it’s a mobile device, or a streaming set-top such as Roku, technology products sometimes stall based on data overloads or other issues. Try re-setting your device by turning it off and/or unplugging it for 30 seconds. Then, turn it back on and wait for it to reconnect to the Internet. A simple reset will often resolve any buffering issues.
5. Try Another Device
If the reset didn’t resolve the problem, try watching HBO Max on a different device in your household to see it it buffers as well. If it does, the problem is probably with your Internet, or HBO Max’s servers. If it doesn’t, the problem is probably with the first device.
Ben, hope these steps help. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
Pictured above: Wonder Woman, which is now available on HBO Max.
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— Phillip Swann
No this doesn’t help. None of this helps. I’ve looked for solutions for months now. I found tonight a long list of people having the same problem with HBO’s service. For me the only thing that works is “try another device” but I don’t want to watch TV on my phone. I have a year old PC, directly connected to the internet, and I can play Netflix, Hulu, and every other streaming service. I can run more than one at a time while I run my work scripts. I work from home and have no problem running many things at once. I can handle HBO but here’s something not right. Something clearly incompatible with my PC and HBO’s player and there’s lots of others with the same complain. Sadly nobody had come up with a real solution, just the same old thing HBO has on their help page.
Same here, it’s maddening.
I have 80GB fiber internet speed and no problems with anything at all except HBO Max which buffers every 10 seconds and is unwatchable.
Netflix, Youtube, any streaming video all work without issue for me, but not HBO. I have also tried all troubleshooting steps at HBO.com with no fix.
Why is this happening! Glad to know I’m not alone 🙁
same issue. Trying to watch on iPad. All other streaming apps work fine(NetFlix; Prime; ATT Now) but Max continues to buffer. I’ve read numerous articles and tried all of the proposed fixes, but still have the buffering issue
Yeah. Except for a handful of grandparents who got HBO Max because it’s has “HBO” in the name, for most of us this isn’t our first rodeo streaming/network-wise. HBO Max seems to buffer as where others do not. The “solutions” suggested are the basic stuff that “fixes” any other possible contributing factor that DON’T necessarily cause problems with any other streaming service. If they did those solutions would have been tried in those cases too. Something is apparently unique to the way HBO Max operates that obviously causes problems.
I love how 5/5 of these suggestions is to blame the user. The streaming service sucks. It frequently loses episode progress and will not work on many devices (including home consoles and PC) even when other, more reliable services like Netflix and Hulu work seamlessly under the exact same conditions.
Stop blaming the consumer and fix the netcode because it’s atrocious for a $15 service.
Yes Pretty obvious that the folks running HBO max are to cheap to invest in the equipment to stream without buffering. I Stream Hulu , Netflix, Amazon Prime with no problems with buffering
I just ended my subscription to their service after finishing Lovecraft country which was great! And luckily played nicely till the end. Then their their site started glitching on everyone’s devices that are in good shape with really good internet. We shouldn’t have reboot our whole system and do a thorough tech investigation to watcha dumb tv show hopefully they sort this out for their own future business success.
Complete trash streaming service. Constant buffering and SD dropdowns…
My HBO Max on a browser crashed repeatedly. I transferred the subscription into my Amazon account & PRESTO! It works perfectly. HBO does not have the server resources to meet demand. Amazon does.
HBOMax just doesn’t work on computers. I have tried several computers all that have more than enough speed/power etc and it always buffers. It works fine on cell phones and streaming devices, but sometimes you just want to stream something on your laptop while traveling.
They seem to blame everyone but themselves (owners or service providers), but Netflix, Prime, Disney+ etc, all are fine.
I was debating whether to keep it after the free trial, but if the technology is off, why bother?
I have the same problem and there seems to be no solution. I don’t have a bandwidth problem at all, dl speed is over 200 mbps, my Netflix and Youtube works perfectly fine. It’s just a bummer when you can’t watch your shows or movies in the quality it deserves to be watch at. Feels like watching bootleg burned dvd 20 years ago. I don’t know, I just can’t enjoy it if its bad quality.
Same problem. I’ve tried all the “troubleshooting” tips and nothing has helped with watching hbomax on my laptop. My internet speed is very fast, I don’t use my computer for much anything else. I don’t have multiple things open at once. Nothing helps and I’m tired of paying for a streaming service that doesn’t work. Any other suggestions? Does anyone know another service that has all the hobbit and LOTR movies as well as all the Studio Ghibli? That’s mainly what I use HBOmax for. I recently moved for a seasonal job somewhere and am living on campus so I don’t have a tv and I only have my laptop.
same problem. it’s incredibly frustrating and I’m likely going to give up HBO max
Worthless solutions offered.
Same problem. No other streaming service does the same. It sucks.
Same here, no go on computer. I’m an IT guy and can tell you it’s the service… Not user error, not the internet connection. HBO MAX: Allow the user to set our stream rates. I plan on cancelling next month until they fix the problem.
PS: Buyer Beware: This is also going to get to a problem now that Xfinity is limiting our monthly usage… I was streaming Netflix a couple months ago and hit my limit in 10 days because I was streaming on max quality… There, I could turn down that stream rate… Sad that this service does not allow that.
Only HBOMAX buffers…all other sites work fine. How about some real answers like HBOMAX has a huge problem and we are working on it. The buffering is almost constant with short spurts of being able to watch a show for a short time until the buffering starts again. Fix It..