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HBO Max vs. HBO Now: What happens if you use an unsupported device like Amazon Fire TV?

Streaming service HBO Max launched yesterday, but it’s not supported by some of the major platforms yet.

HBO Max vs. HBO Now: What happens if you use an unsupported device like Amazon Fire TV?
[Photo: rawpixel]

Streaming TV, once heralded as a high-tech liberator that would save us from the headaches of big cable bundles, just got another big cable-like bundle yesterday with the launch of HBO Max.

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WarnerMedia’s long-awaited rival to heavy hitters like Netflix and Disney Plus includes a broad mix of movies and TV shows from the Warner and HBO libraries, along with exclusive offerings you can find only on Max. It costs $14.99 a month and you can cancel it at any time.

Of course, HBO already has a streaming service that costs $14.99 a month. That one is called HBO Now. (To make matters more confusing, there’s also HBO Go, which is offered through pay-TV providers.) And while many current subscribers of HBO Now assumed they would be able to automatically watch HBO Max on their TVs when it launched, that’s not true for everyone. Why? Because HBO Max is not currently supported by some of the major TV streaming platforms—notably Amazon, Roku, and Comcast.

According to some reports, WarnerMedia is still trying to hammer out deals with those companies. We reached out to WarnerMedia for an estimated timeline and will update this post if we hear back. In the meantime, the company’s customer service Twitter account has simply been telling users that it’s working to bring Max to “as many devices and customers as possible,” but Roku and Amazon Fire TV users are understandably disappointed.

So what happens if you’re an HBO Now subscriber who uses an unsupported device? The good news is you can still keep watching HBO Now. In an email to subscribers, the company directed users to a link to the following explanation:

“Yes, you can watch HBO NOW on your computer at HBONOW.com and on devices that are not supported by HBO Max. If a device supports HBO Max, the HBO Max app will be available in the app store (and the HBO NOW app won’t be available).”

In other words, if you’re a Now subscriber and you have a device that supports Max, you can immediately download Max to your TV and start enjoying it. If you don’t have a supported device, you can still watch Max on your computer or smartphone, or you can break down and buy a supported device. Here’s a full list of supported devices:

  • Android phones and tablets
  • Android TV (including most Sony Android TVs, 2016 models and later)
  • Apple TV (4th generation and later)
  • Web (at HBOMax.com)
  • Google Chromecast
  • Chromebooks
  • iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
  • PlayStation 4
  • Samsung TV (2016 models and later)
  • Xbox One

Still confused? It’s okay—we are a little bit, too. HBO has an extensive list of FAQs to hopefully answer all of your burning questions about this brave new world. Check it out here.

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About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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