The HBO Max smart TV apps have been less than reliable, to put it mildly, but WarnerMedia appears ready to turn things around. An anonymous WarnerMedia executive talking to Vulture claims the HBO Max team will replace all its smart TV apps with brand new versions inside of the "next four or five months." Roku and PlayStation owners would receive the overhauled apps first, followed by Apple TV users near the end of 2021. Mobile and web viewers would have to wait until early 2022.
The existing apps have suffered from a number of serious flaws, ranging from broken playback controls to forgotten settings and sluggishness. Roku users have faced more problems than most, with lockups and crashes sometimes making the HBO Max app unusable.
The problems reportedly stem from WarnerMedia's scramble to launch HBO Max in May. Where many rivals built their streaming apps from scratch, the current HBO Max app is a repurposed version of the software meant for HBO Go and HBO Now. It was built to handle high demand, but it wasn't meant to cope with an increasingly global audience streaming much more than Game of Thrones.
An HBO Max app revamp will supposedly provide both modern underpinnings and, importantly, room to grow. The unnamed executive said the new app won't look much different at first, but should allow for a more "sophisticated" interface update as well as new and upgraded features.
If accurate, this could be important to HBO Max's long-term future. The TV streaming space is increasingly crowded with rivals like Paramount+ and Peacock joining incumbents like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You might easily lose interest in HBO Max if buggy apps sour the experience, no matter how alluring the content might be — and that will be particularly important once WarnerMedia stops releasing brand new movies on the service.