Photo Credit: Amazon
The HBO Max app will be available starting Tuesday on Amazon Fire TV devices, Amazon Fire tablets, and Fire TV Edition smart TVs, WarnerMedia has announced. This solves one of the biggest pain points for the nearly six-month-old streaming service HBO Max, as Amazon's Fire TV platform is the most popular media streaming device in the US. And you might not even to download it — the existing HBO app on Fire TV will automatically update to become the HBO Max app.
More importantly, HBO Max will be compatible with Alexa. That means you can simply open the HBO Max app by saying “Alexa, find HBO Max” into the included Alexa Voice Remote or any paired Echo device in your household. You can even play HBO Max shows directly, for example: “Alexa, play Game of Thrones.” HBO Max series and movies will also be included in Fire TV search results, if you ask “Alexa, find comedies” or “Alexa, find dramas”.
The HBO Max Fire TV app is also making it easier to log in. You can use your existing HBO credentials, or your Amazon credentials, if you subscribe to HBO through Prime Video Channels. And lastly, you can even sign up for HBO Max directly in the new HBO Max Fire TV app.
With this, HBO Max solves one of its biggest living room pain points. (It still doesn't offer 4K or HDR, but that's another matter altogether.) Roku remains as a hold out, with the dispute reportedly continuing over advertising sales on HBO Max's future ad-supported tier that is expected to launch sometime in 2021. Together, Amazon and Roku make up over 70 percent of the media streaming player market.
Currently available only in the US and some US territories, HBO Max had 8.6 million active subscribers at the end of September, according to WarnerMedia parent AT&T. Only 3.6 million are direct paid subscribers though, with the remaining getting access to HBO Max through wholesale agreements such as included with a pay TV provider.
Since its launch in May, the streaming service has struggled to convert even its existing HBO subscribers over to HBO Max. Those who pay for HBO on TV are eligible for free access to HBO Max, which otherwise costs $15 per month. HBO Max has a nominal total of 28.7 million subscribers, including HBO on TV members, but those extra ones haven't bothered to activate their HBO Max account.
“We are very excited that Amazon customers will now be able to enjoy the best-in-class content that lives within HBO Max,” WarnerMedia's head of sales and distribution Tony Goncalves said in a prepared statement. “Our continued goal is to make HBO Max and its unparalleled content available to customers across all the devices they love. Fire TV is a favourite among customers and we look forward to working with the Amazon team to engage and grow our existing subscriber base by showcasing all that HBO Max has to offer.”
Amazon's vice president for entertainment devices and services Marc Whitten added: “We've worked closely with HBO for many years to bring their great content to Fire TV and to make it easier to discover and enjoy with features like search integration, Alexa and personalised recommendations. We are excited to continue that partnership with the launch of HBO Max to bring even more incredible content to customers on Fire TV.”
HBO Max is currently exclusive to the US. It is scheduled to launch in 2021 in parts of Europe and Latin America. There are no plans for other countries, including India, with WarnerMedia stating that it will continue working with existing partners for now. In India, WarnerMedia has ties with Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ Hotstar.