Q. I want to watch HBO Max on my Roku but they won’t sign a deal for some reason. Is there any other way I can watch it? Please!! — Nikki, Newark, New Jersey.
Nikki, you’re right. Roku and AT&T, which owns HBO Max, have still not signed a carriage agreement, nearly six months after the streaming service launched. There’s no indication that a deal is imminent, either, with both sides still blaming the other for the dispute.
However, there may be one way to watch HBO Max on your TV if Roku is your streaming device of choice.
It’s called AirPlay. AirPlay2, to be precise.
In late September, Roku launched its new 9.4 operating system which enables owners of select 4K Roku devices to ‘cast’ video from their Apple mobile devices (and Mac) to the TV screen. The software update wasn’t added to all 4K Roku owners at first, but it should be available on most, if not all, 4K devices by now.
If your 4K Roku player (such as a Premiere or Ultra) has the update, you should be able to download the HBO Max on your Apple iPhone or iPad and then send the video from the app to to your TV screen.
Here’s how it’s done.
1. Turn on your TV and your Roku 4K player.
2. Make sure your Roku and Apple device is connected to the same WiFi network.
3. Open your HBO Max app on your Apple device.
4. Start a HBO Max episode on the Apple device and then tap the screen to pull up the menu.
5. Select the AirPlay icon. (It’s a TV screen with a triangle at the bottom.)
6. Select the device (Roku 4K player name) you want to cast to from the AirPlay menu. The video should then display on your TV screen.
I say ‘should’ because it doesn’t always work. When I have used AirPlay to watch HBO Max on Roku, I sometimes have to follow the six steps a few times before the video will display on the TV screen. So be patient. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again. (There are also reports that Roku has blocked HBO Max via AirPlay on some devices, but that has not been confirmed.)
Of course, it would be easier if the two companies would just sign a deal. But it’s better than nothing, assuming you have the 4K Roku and an Apple device.
Nikki, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann