HBO Max could have potentially been a viable rival to Netflix when it launched. Instead, it was plagued by a litany of disasters (starting with its very name and ensuing branding confusion); we ranked it fourth on our list of five recent streaming service launches (#5? Quibi, which is now dead). One of the biggest hinderances right out of the gate was accessibility. Due to contract disputes, the HBO Max app was not available on Fire TV or Roku upon launch. According to Variety, that meant 80 million households (mine included) did not have direct access to the service’s offerings.
And here’s the thing: HBO Max is actually great! It rolls together HBO (which by itself is a great streaming investment) alongside a massive rotating library of Warner properties, from Turner channels (TNT, TBS, TCM, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network), Warner Bros. movies, Studio Ghibli, and DC TV shows and movies. And there are also some great original shows as well, like Paste TV favorite Raised by Wolves (read our review here).
All of this to say … at last! HBO Max is now available on Amazon Fire TV and tablets. Or nearly, depending on when you’re reading this: the app will become available Tuesday, November 17th. As exciting as it is, the accompanying press release has a typically convoluted explanation of how to access it:
Immediately upon launch, current subscribers of HBO through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels will be able to log in to the HBO Max app with their Amazon credentials at no additional cost. The HBO app on Fire TV and Fire tablets will automatically update to become the HBO Max app; customers will be able to log in using their existing HBO credentials. New customers can also subscribe to HBO Max directly in the app. Additionally, all existing HBO Max customers – regardless of how they subscribe to the platform – can now access all of HBO Max via supported Fire TV and Fire tablet devices using their existing provider credentials.
It should not be that complicated. And yet! For those with Alexa integration, you can also now search HBO Max that way (as the press release explains: “HBO Max content is also integrated into universal search on Fire TV, meaning that its content will appear in searches such as ‘Alexa, find dramas’ or ‘Alexa, find Game of Thrones.’ Customers can also ask Alexa to start watching something specific; ‘Alexa, play The Undoing.’”)
As for when the app might launch on Roku, well, it probably won’t be forever. It did take awhile for Warner to hold out in negotiations with Amazon though, so they do seem prepared to wait.
For those who now have access to HBO Max, be sure to check out our list of the 30 best non-HBO shows to stream now, and of course the best HBO shows that you really do need to watch. There are more updates coming as well, including the new series The Flight Attendant starring Kaley Cuoco, a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion, and films like Magic Mike, 13 Going on 30 and The Dark Knight being added this month. For more of the best movies on HBO Max, check out our list here.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.