January 27, 2023

It was announced on Wednesday that HBO Max would be returning to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels after an absence of more than a year from the third-party streaming hub. WarnerMedia pulled the service from Prime Video in August 2021 to harvest all subscription revenue and customer data from new signups for itself.

But WarnerMedia is now gone, replaced by Warner Bros. Discovery after Discovery acquired Warner earlier this year. Also, many of the policies that WarnerMedia followed are gone, including the reluctance to share HBO Max with Prime Video Channels. Current WBD CEO David Zaslav is focused on making as much money as possible from his streaming services, and the new distribution deal to bring HBO Max back to Prime Video Channels is clearly part of that strategy.

Zaslav wants HBO Max to be available as widely as possible before combining it with Discovery+ in spring 2023 to become a new service that will likely be named “Max.” Given that fact, users of Roku Channel’s Premium subscriptions and Apple TV channels may be wondering if the ability to sign up for HBO Max through those services will return soon, too.

Apple TV device users used to be able to sign into HBO through their streaming box’s suite of channels. However, in 2021, after the launch of HBO Max, Apple TV users lost the ability to access the HBO channel through their device, which they have been able to do since 2019. Apple TV users can still download the HBO Max app from the App Store, but they cannot currently subscribe to HBO Max through Apple TV channels.

Likewise, users of Roku devices can download the HBO Max app, but they cannot sign up for a subscription to the service through Roku Premium subscriptions. In 2019, Roku Channel users could use that service to subscribe to HBO, but when HBO Max launched, Roku simply made the app available in their channel store. That meant customers had to sign up separately for a subscription to HBO Max, then return to Roku to sign in with their credentials.

Users may wonder why it matters if HBO Max returns to Apple TV channels and Roku Premium subscriptions. After all, users of Apple TV and Roku devices can still access HBO Max, right? But by signing up for HBO Max through a third party like Prime Video Channels, customers can keep all their subscriptions in one place, with one monthly bill, which is a lot easier to keep track of than trying to keep track of different subscriptions on individual accounts. to keep. Services.

If HBO Max returns to Roku and Apple TV channels, there’s one more question to answer: what content will come with it? Currently, Prime Video is the only third-party platform that offers access to the full library of HBO Max.

Other services that offer their customers HBO Max subscriptions, such as Comcast’s Xfinity cable, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV and more, can only provide live or on-demand access to content available through HBO’s linear channels. This is because those cable and live TV streaming services have the ability to stream the linear HBO programming, but the HBO Max content is a completely separate library.

It would greatly reduce friction for users if Roku and Apple TV customers also had access to HBO Max’s entire library of content when it returns to those services.

No such deals have been announced, but with the return of HBO Max to Prime Video Channels – and all the revenue-focused reversals Zaslav has overseen in his brief tenure atop WBD – it stands to reason that Roku Premium subscriptions and Apple TV Channels are running maybe not far behind.

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