AT&T’s new streaming platform HBO Max went live on Wednesday, but for many HBO subscribers, it was not entirely clear whether they had access to the service.
Millions currently do not. That’s because AT&T could not strike deals in time for the launch with some key distributors and a few device makers. Only those who purchased HBO through the right distributor and have the approved device could watch HBO Max.
HBO Max costs the same as HBO ($15 a month) and is intended to convert HBO users to the new service, which offers twice as much content.
Confused? Here’s a handy guide:
For those who already pay for HBO through a traditional TV provider, you’re in luck. HBO Max hashed out agreements with most of the major players, including Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, thanks to a last-minute deal signed Wednesday. Those customers can download the app and sign in with their HBO Go or pay-TV account. (Here’s the full list of providers.)
But if you’re planning to watch on an Amazon Fire or Roku device, you’re out of luck. AT&T could not reach agreements with either. Both Amazon and Roku get a cut of revenue from streaming providers, and the structure of those deals can get complicated. Still, there are still plenty of places to download the app. Approved devices include Apple, Samsung TVs from 2016 and later, Xbox and Chromecast. Here’s the full list.
For those who bought their HBO service through a digital provider like Apple, Google Play, Hulu Live or YouTubeTV, you’re good to go. Log in to the HBO Max website or app with your HBO credentials. But the same device caveat as above applies.
For those who have HBO Now, you likely bought it directly from the HBO website. You should be all set. Just log in to the HBO Max website or app with the same account.
Anyone who bought HBO through Amazon Channels or a Roku device are shut out of HBO Max. Amazon and Roku provide both media access and sell devices, so they have two key areas over which to negotiate.
For consumers stuck in the middle, you can cancel your HBO account to sign up on the HBO Max website and watch through an approved device.