Finally: HBO Max Coming to Roku After Lengthy Behind-the-Scenes Battle

Nearly seven months after the HBO Max streaming service debuted, the company has finally signed a deal which allows Roku users to access it through that platform. After a prolonged behind-the-scenes battle, and with the HBO Max debut of Wonder Woman 1984 just a few days away, HBO Max will be live on Roku devices starting tomorrow – Thursday, December 17, 2020. Here’s how you’ll be able to get it.

According to Variety, terms of the deal were not disclosed, “but both sides claimed they were pleased with finally resolving their differences.” A press release laid out exactly how users will be affected:

Roku users will be able to download HBO Max from the Roku channel store and subscribe directly on their Roku device to access all of HBO Max, which includes 10,000 hours of curated premium storytelling from the iconic brands of HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Adult Swim and much more. For users who have already subscribed to HBO through their Roku devices, the HBO app will automatically update to become the HBO Max app, and they will be able to log in using their existing HBO credentials.

The reason for the prolonged battle boiled down to this: Roku wanted to keep being able to sell HBO subscriptions through its channel store directly in its app, but WarnerMedia demanded that HBO Max be made available as a separate app.

“We believe that all entertainment will be streamed and we are thrilled to partner with HBO Max to bring their incredible library of iconic entertainment brands and blockbuster slate of direct to streaming theatrical releases to the Roku households with more than 100 million people that have made Roku the No. 1 TV streaming platform in America,” Roku’s Scott Rosenberg said in a statement. “Reaching mutually beneficial agreements where Roku grows together with our partners is how we deliver an exceptional user experience at an incredible value for consumers and we are excited by the opportunity to deepen our longstanding relationship with the team at WarnerMedia.”

While Roku users have been frustrated by the lack of a deal for the past several months, everyone assumed that the announcement that Wonder Woman 1984 would be debuting simultaneously in theaters and directly on HBO Max on Christmas Day would serve as a catalyst to finally get a deal hammered out. Soon after, Warner Bros. announced that each film on its 2021 film slate would be rolled out in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time, a seismic announcement which seemed to throw the entire industry into an existential state of turmoil (and also pissed off a lot of well-known people). Because so much is on the line for WarnerMedia after that decision and they desperately need to increase their number of HBO Max subscribers, there was no doubt that this deal was going to be made quickly, and now Roku users’ nightmare is finally over.

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