Spinning Yarns – Differing Viewpoints on Why HBO Max Not On Roku and Amazon Fire

Spin cycle on agitate … if you are a customer.

Currently, you can’t access HBO Max on Roku or Amazon Fire TV devices, and if you’ve subscribed to HBO through Roku Channels or Prime Video Channels you’re also out of luck. That’s frustrating for customers who use those platforms, and it obviously will inhibit HBO Max’s initial uptake. Talks between WarnerMedia and the two companies continue, but there’s no indication when the parties may come to any agreements.

Why HBO Max Isn’t Available on Roku or Amazon Fire TV – Variety

The Variety article quoting 80 million people not able to access HBO Max that are on Roku and Amazon Fire is a half-truth, at best. If every one of those 80 million people didn’t find another way to access HBO Max than that would be true.

Of course it’s not.

I think many are finding other ways, sure there are a lot who aren’t, but still, let’s be intellectually honest with the numbers. We’ve used a Roku 3 since 2013 when it came out. When I realized that HBO Max and Roku were arguing over the finer details, I had already planned to access HBO Max through my Android phone. The article fails to mention there are other ways to watch HBO Max on your TV, even if you are a Roku or Amazon Fire user.

Fact check alert, here are more stupid quotes from the article:

Amazon, for its part, said in a statement: “AT&T is choosing to deny these loyal HBO customers access to the expanded catalog. We believe that if you’re paying for HBO, you’re entitled to the new programming through the method you’re already using. That’s just good customer service and that’s a priority for us.”


HBO isn’t choosing to deny access to HBO Max through Amazon. They offer a standalone app, not include as an added channel like they have done previously. Those who pay for HBO as an add-on channel aren’t getting the extra HBO Max content, but that was already stated in advance that these subscribers wouldn’t. The sheer amount of content HBO Max have added makes them more than some add-on premium channel. Amazon doesn’t currently offer a way to watch Netflix, Disney+ or Hulu through their service either, so who’s fault is that?

Verdict: Amazon is factually correct with their statement, but disingenuous because HBO Max as designed and rolled out doesn’t fit in Amazon Prime Video channel’s ecosystem. HBO Max as a standalone service won’t work any more than Netflix, Disney+, Peacock, DC Universe will.

Now, let’s tackle Roku.

In a statement about HBO Max, a Roku spokesman told Variety, “We are focused on mutually positive distribution agreements with all new OTT services that will deliver a quality user experience to viewers in the more than 40 million households that choose Roku to access their favorite programs and discover new content. Unfortunately we haven’t reached agreement yet with HBO Max.

To parse these words: HBO Max doesn’t want to share as much of their subscription revenue with Roku.

So, here we are, Amazon and Roku entrenched on one side, WarnerMedia on the other. In the middle? As always, us, customers in the tug of war middle. We suffer because both sides think they have leverage over the other.

The saddest thing? HBO Max has some amazing content. They’ve got Saturday morning cartoon fodder galore with Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Scooby Doo: Where Are You? (Popeye, too, coming soon). The classic movie sector is covered with TCM, anime is covered with Ghibley and Crunchyroll and Adult Swim sections. Iconic TV shows like all seasons of the best ensemble group comedy ever, Friends, not to mention all the other award-winning HBO content.

HBO Max is worth $14.99/month

I don’t understand why some people are complaining about the price. HBO without the Max-added content as a premium add-on through Amazon was $14.99/month. If I signed up through HBO Now, it was, yes, $14.99/month. Now, it’s essentially the same price, only with about three times the content. They didn’t raise or lower the price, they kept it the same.

How is this not worth it? When 80 million people were subscribed to HBO already, most of these people should be able to figure out how to get HBO through their cable companies or however for about the same price, yes/no? I realize there were subscription deals depending on how and where you received HBO. That’s the complicated part of this and maybe some (or many?) were receiving HBO for less than $14.99/month. Those of us who were on the outside, cord cutters as we’re known, didn’t get HBO for some screaming low price deal. Whenever we wanted to sign up — and we have in the past, binged what we wanted to watch, and left — we paid $14.99/month.

Will take much longer than a month to binge everything good at HBO Max

We’re going to be subscribed to HBO Max for much longer than a month or two, that’s for sure. Our watchlist is overflowing with movies and TV shows. Neither of us have seen The Big Bang Theory or Rick and Morty, two popular shows with many seasons.

HBO Max has the strongest overall library of existing movies and TV for any streaming service at the moment. Their only weakness is originals and brand new content. Netflix is far and away the leader there, followed by Amazon and Hulu and then maybe even Quibi or AppleTV+ … HBO Max is at the bottom with Peacock for lack of originals right now. But they are working on them and I suspect that will change.

Yes, it’s a stronger existing library than Disney+ of stuff we haven’t seen on streaming services (who hasn’t seen the Pixar movies, classic Disney movies and Star Wars?), IMO. Disney’s content is top notch, no doubt, and they had the best launch possible for Disney+ based on their IP but their only original bet was The Mandalorian, amazing as it was, and here we are almost a year later, waiting for what? A second season of The Mandalorian. Sure, they offered us a final season of The Clone Wars in between, but pretty much everything else interesting and new happens at their more adult streaming service, Hulu, not Disney+.

HBO Max – a good streaming service with huge potential that needs to get this Roku and Amazon Fire device issue resolved soon, which I do believe will happen. Both sides need each other, and time and stubbornness plus customers being irritated and complaining will wear them down.

In the meantime, however you’re accessing HBO Max, they’ve given us a ton of great stuff to watch. Enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Spinning Yarns – Differing Viewpoints on Why HBO Max Not On Roku and Amazon Fire

  1. Honestly the price is a big deterrent for me right now where it wouldn’t have been three months ago (I wouldn’t have thought twice) and I’m guessing that’s true for a lot of people. It’s a balancing act money wise these days and being last is probably hurting it a bit right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You raise a good point. I’m sure figuring out which streaming services to budget for is a big part for many folks, especially in our current times.

      I’ve always thought HBO by itself was on the pricey side at $14.99/month. That’s why we would subscribe, binge what we want to watch, then cancel. Not sure how many others had the same routine. My watchlist with them is much too large to practically do that currently.


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