Sony today added the HBO Max app to the PlayStation 5 gaming console, perhaps increasing the pressure on Roku to sign a carriage deal with the streaming service. The app is also available on the PlayStation 4.
Comcast, the nation’s largest cable TV operator, yesterday placed HBO Max in its App store, and Amazon’s Fire TV devices added it last month. With Apple TV, Android TV and the XBox also carrying HBO Max, Roku is the last major holdout in the streaming device category.
AT&T, which owns HBO Max, says it’s discussing a carriage deal with Roku, but there’s no indication an agreement is imminent. While one could argue that the addition of Comcast and PlayStation 5 will force Roku to relent, another argument would be that fewer people may now demand that it carry HBO Max because it may be available on a device they already own. Comcast has roughly 20 million video subscribers while PlayStation’s audience runs into the scores of millions.
If Roku owners are happy with the rest of the device’s offering, they might say there’s no need to switch because they can watch HBO Max on the PlayStation or their cable box.
If you’re not familiar with HBO Max, it’s an expanded version of the regular HBO with all the HBO fare and programming from non-HBO sources such as The Big Bang Theory, Friends and Turner Classic Movies, and original shows such as The Flight Attendant.
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— Phillip Swann