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Help & troubleshooting for channels on your Roku device, including adding/removing channels, logging in to, authenticating, or activating a channel, channel-specific playback issues, assistance contacting channel publishers to report issues, and adjusting channel-specific settings.
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fluke
Level 13

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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@ballfam wrote:

If you use streaming enough, spend the money on the Android TV devices; you will not be disappointed. I use streaming for everything (including live TV with YouTube TV), and I try to standardize on one device so everyone in the family only has to learn how to use one platform. That used to be Roku, but a few moths ago when the Tivo Stream 4k came out, I grabbed one to see how Android TV had matured, and I was so impressed that I bought another 2 and standardized all the TVs on Android TV. I still have my Rokus plugged in, but I haven't used them for several months.

Actually, Tivo Stream 4k demostrates how fragmented an experience Android TV is. If you have used any Android TV in the past or plan to use Google Sabrina, you probably expect the Home button to be on the left side of the remote. For no reason at all, Tivo put the home/circle button on the right. They also wrote their own poorly written launcher that seems mostly focus on users subscribing to SlingTV.


@ballfam wrote:

The new Chromecast looks good, but you can get what I think is a better piece of hardware from Tivo for the same price ($50). As usual, its only downside will be that it is not made by Google and won't get all the updates as quickly.

As quickly? I haven't seen a security patch level update from Tivo since April! Google has release *FIVE* monthly security bulletins since then of which four contained patches marked at the highest severity level of critical.


@ballfam wrote:

Android TV is a true multi-process operating system, unlike Roku, which has a number of advantages:

Both Android TV and Roku OS use the Linux kernel which provides true multi-process capabilities. Roku OS limits the number of processes to three: the Roku environment itself, the currently running channel and the screen saver. This design has stability advantages.


@ballfam wrote:

1) You can cast directly to it using either Chromecast or Miracast

Miracast was added to Android at version 4.2 and then removed from being officially part of Android with Android 6.0 released in 2015. Since then it is up to each Android vendor if they want to add Miracast support back to their specific devices or not. Google Sabrina will *NOT* support Miracast. I have also been unable to get Miracast support to work with the Tivo Stream 4k.

There is also an important distinction between Chromecast and Miracast.  In Windows 10, Chromecast is only available for screen mirroring if the Chrome browser is installed and can only mirror the existing active desktop.  With Miracast, Windows 10 can not only use the external display without installing additional software, it can also be treated as a secondary display to further expand the amount of desktop space displayed.


@ballfam wrote:

2) It leaves the apps running in the background (because it can run more than one at once), so when you come back to the app, it will be in the same place you left-off. To the point where, if you hot the home button while something is playing, when you come back to the app, it just keeps on playing where you left off, or if you use YouTube TV, it will come back to the same channel, just like a real cable box.

It is possible for Roku channels to save their state and restore it. You don't need to leave the app running in the background to provide this feature. It was up to Google if they wanted to take advantage of this functionality in Roku OS for YouTube TV or not.


@ballfam wrote:

3) Because apps can run the background, the searching is like 1,000 times better than the cheesy search on Roku, it can actually ask the apps to search for stuff while they are running in the background, rather than having to search on some remote Roku server and deliver results. This means it can find stuff in Plex, for example, which is personalized to me (e.g. if I ask to find "Law and Order", and I have it on Plex, it will show me the Plex results, as well as what it finds on e.g. HBO Max)

I'm guessing you never looked at the logs on your Plex server. The results from Plex on Android require performing the search against the server just the same as it does on Roku.


@ballfam wrote:

4) Android TV does not make money from the apps, so everything is available (like HBO Max) because they don't have to fight with the vendor to get it on the platform.

That is not what Google Play Store Developer Distribution Agreement says. There is revenue sharing if you publish through the Google Play Store to get your app widely available on Android TV. Try distributing your own app that makes money off ads and see if Google really doesn't make money from Android TV apps.


@ballfam wrote:

Android TV has matured to the point where it is very stable, as fast (if not faster) than Roku and has all the common apps , some of which Roku does not have. Once Google put their weight behind a real device (the new Chromecast), it is ready to explode and leave Roku in the dust unless they smarten up their act.

Google has done an impressive job of improving some aspects of Android TV over time.  The degree to which is a very stable or faster remains to be seen.  Google has put their weight behind Android TV twice, once pushing a device made by Logitech and a second time pushing a device made by ASUS.  In both cases the specifications made it look good on paper and the reviews were less than kind.

Areas that Android TV (or as Sabrina now calls it: "Google TV") could use improvement that Roku handles better:

(1) Privacy: Roku does not allow an app to start on boot unless the user specifies they want it to.  Also apps do not run in the background unless the user requests it.  Android TV allows apps to silent start on boot and remaining running without notifying the user which can result in some creepy level data collection.

(2) Accessability/Captions: Accessability seems to be thrown in as an after-thought on Android TV.  In some cases the captions appear half off the bottom of the screen.  The same exact Roku channels are able to display the entire text completely on screen.

(3) Clean Home Launcher/Stability: Roku has a home screen layed in a nice grid of large channel icons.  It is easy to navigate.  The Android TV launcher is a mess.  Tapping the home button presents in a single bar of small icons followed by "recommended" bars of each app below.  In the case of the Tivo Stream 4k, there is a Stream app always running in the background to provide it's own recommend bar on it screen and Tivo makes it un-removable.  If configured to track multiple services for recommendations, a flaw in the Stream app causes it to become unstable.  After 3 or 4 days, going to the Android TV launcher just produces a black screen until it is force-ably rebooted.

(4) Speed of installing/updating channels: As far as I can tell, Android TV apps tend to take up 10x the space the same Roku app takes up.  Roku channels tend to take around 10-20 seconds to install or updated.  The same channel can take 2 or 3 minutes for Android TV to install and seems to be just as slow when updating them.

(5) More consistent in-app navigation: Roku seems to have done a good job reviewing apps to get consistent use of the Roku navigation buttons.  If you want to go to the previous episode in a season, you just hit the back button and select from the more episodes menu available in most apps.  Android TV apps don't seem to go through the same level of review and the devices don't have consistent remote buttons or layouts.  In same cases, the middle of the D-pad is the unlabeled play/pause button.  It remains awkward for a novice to learn and isn't as polished for advanced users either.

(6) Expanding storage: Roku make it easy to automatically remove unused channels while leaving an icon to re-install them as needed.  The Roku Ultra also makes it easy to add a Micro SD card for additional channel storage.  When Android TV runs out of storage, it stops allowing you to install apps.  You need to manually uninstall unused apps and reinstall them when you want them again.  And the Tivo forums has some strange looking photos of users bending over backwards using USB to Go cables to expand storage on the Stream.  There is no indication expanding storage is even supported at all with Sabrina.

Overall, Roku has plenty it still needs to evolve and based on the Roku OS 9.4 release notes it is continuing to do so.  Hopefully Sabrina helps promote Roku to evolve faster.  However, the idea there is a Roku-killer ready to explode?  We got those press releases of something ready to explode with the release of the Google/ASUS Nexus Player.  At the end of the day, it sounded more like a death gasp than an explosion.  I'm not expecting anything amazing from Sabrina until I actually see it.

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ballfam
Level 9

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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All valid points for the Roku, and I really hope that the competition forces them to smarten up and produce a superior product. I have had both platforms since almost the start, and, yes, I did have 2 of those ASUS boxes. Basically, over the years, I switch back and forth between Roku and Android, and a combination of factors push me one way or another, Android was too flakey and didn't have all the apps, so I moved to Roku. This time round, I have been pushed back to Android because of Roku's refusal to allow HBO Max and Peacock, and I'm happy with what I see since the last time I used it.

There are several things that you describe that don't matter to me; I'm technical enough to disable all the Tivo junk and get directly to the more pure Android TV experience, and I just got used to the button positioning within a day or so. In fact I actually really like the Tivo remote, even if it is non-standard.

Switching back to the Roku after running Android TV feels like going back to an old clunky interface, but it's all software, maybe they will fix that. 

 

None of my apps started where they left off on Roku, including Netflix, and Prime. If there is a setting to make that happen, I would be happy to hear about it; and searching Plex just plain doesn't work at all. As far as I can see, Android search does go to the local Plex server, but it does that through the Plex app on the device which is running in the background.....if only Roku could do that.

 

For the things that matter to me, Android is just way better, but maybe I'll switch back to Roku again if they fix up a bunch of stuff like better searching, and support for HBO Max and Peacock.

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ballfam
Level 9

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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The other thing worth noting is that I have both Android TV and Roku devices plugged in to all my TVs, and I just need to switch input to use one or the other, and I have not switched back to the Roku on any of the TVs for a few months.....right there, that says it all. Maybe I'll switch back again after the new OS update to see what it provides.

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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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While this discussion has gone way off topic, I'll throw in my 2 cents. I tried an inexpensive Android box several years ago and sent it right back. Perhaps that's not a fair comparison to the later models, but it was what it was. So I tried the Nvidia Shield and it checked my desired boxes. For me, it's the support for lossless audio, virtually all types of captions, and can play anything without transcoding. I use Kodi as my player app.

However, it's still far more complicated for the family to use, configuring both the Shield and Kodi takes time and patience. It's 50-100% more expensive than the most expensive Roku. I hate that it keeps adding the recommended rows beneath the row of apps after I turn them off. The Roku user interface is much more user friendly. And with online streaming providers, it's the equal of my Shield in every way. If it wasn't for my local media library, I would have no need for the Shield and Roku would be everything I need. 

Yes, Android boxes have tremendous capabilities. And you can get the off-brand devices at very good prices. But for a general use media player, I still think Roku is the best product. Fire TV is far too Amazon-centric, and their user interface is fine as long as you're just using Prime Video. Other than that, it's as complicated as the Android devices, without as good of media support as Android provides. 

Dan

Roku Community Streaming Expert

Help others find this answer and click "Accept as Solution."
If you appreciate my answer, maybe give me a Kudo.

I am not a Roku employee, just another user.
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ballfam
Level 9

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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Sorry, yes way off topic. I'll stop posting.

 

I would agree with you on the Amazon Fire TV (I have one of those too, that I don't use); and you are completely correct about the old Android TV devices (which is why I switched to Roku). Somehow, this time round, Android TV feels different, it has everything I need in one place. Hardware has gotten faster and cheaper, and the more complex and the larger Android operating system is compensated for by better, faster, and cheaper hardware, and they have finally updated the OS to a point where it is stable and works well.

I don't find the Tivo Stream at all complex after going through all the initial setup to change things, get apps, and remove junk I don't want; that part was hard work, but I only had to do it once, and it's me that does that, not the rest of my non-technical family. On a day-to-day basis, I just turn it on and it works as easily and seamlessly as the Roku, and has not crashed in 3 months. There are several other non-tangible things that seem to make the hardware (or software) better, for example, my Roku never gets better than 85 Mbps, but the Tivo Stream runs at 300 Mbps from the same wireless access point; both are way more than I need even for 4k, but it just demonstrates the issue with the Roku OS (or hardware)

I have never managed to run out of memory or storage, but I use my devices only for a few streaming apps, not playing games or other things.

I just get the feeling that this time Google has it right, and the hardware has advanced enough to make it cheap and practical to run a complex OS on a streaming device, and they are ready to take on Roku for the #1 streaming device; if only they don't decide to screw it up on purpose like they usually do Smiley Happy

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pgrey2
Level 9

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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Yeah, I'm considering it, but I have the same privacy-concerns, mentioned here, that aren't a part of Roku (I already feel like we have an inordinate amount of this, data-collection-wise, without our streaming-devices in the mix...).

It's mind-boggling, that Roku chose to use a fast-ethernet adapter (10/100), and limit their WiFi to the same (artificial, unless it's going through the same chipset, which is unlikely) limit, even IF 100 is plenty for pretty much all current streaming-formats (I don't know of a current format that even uses half of the 100) ;-].  How much could they have saved, even given the economy-of-scale, on buying some old fire-sale chipsets and such, for their "top end" streaming devices?

I'm still holding out (on a Roku/HBO agreement), using our XBox for streaming HBOMax for now (I re-enabled my account, on the recent sale), but it's a HUGE downside, having to use multiple streaming sources, even just looking at cross-source search, alone...

I've almost bought a TiVo Stream, several times, but I just can't get past the Google-privacy deal (if you really look into their data-gathering, it's fairly frightening, on the whole), on yet another device...

Make no mistake, too, of thinking that Android will "stay neutral", indefinitely.  As soon as Google and other contributors to the platform think they can "take a slice of content use", they'll certainly make an attempt, an look at market-response, I have 100% confidence in this.

-pete
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fluke
Level 13

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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@ballfam wrote:

None of my apps started where they left off on Roku, including Netflix, and Prime. If there is a setting to make that happen, I would be happy to hear about it; and searching Plex just plain doesn't work at all. As far as I can see, Android search does go to the local Plex server, but it does that through the Plex app on the device which is running in the background.....if only Roku could do that.


This will hopefully improve with a future release of Roku OS. Nothing in the Roku OS 9.4 release notes indicates anything to address this specific issue for you. If you want to try to get a short term solution, I recommend playing with the functionality of the Roku ECP from their SDK/developer documentation. It might be possible to build an external application to track the state of active Roku apps and to use ECP "deep linking" to restore the state.


@atc98092 wrote:

While this discussion has gone way off topic, I'll throw in my 2 cents. I tried an inexpensive Android box several years ago and sent it right back. Perhaps that's not a fair comparison to the later models, but it was what it was. So I tried the Nvidia Shield and it checked my desired boxes. For me, it's the support for lossless audio, virtually all types of captions, and can play anything without transcoding. I use Kodi as my player app.

However, it's still far more complicated for the family to use, configuring both the Shield and Kodi takes time and patience. It's 50-100% more expensive than the most expensive Roku. I hate that it keeps adding the recommended rows beneath the row of apps after I turn them off. The Roku user interface is much more user friendly. And with online streaming providers, it's the equal of my Shield in every way. If it wasn't for my local media library, I would have no need for the Shield and Roku would be everything I need. 

Yes, Android boxes have tremendous capabilities. And you can get the off-brand devices at very good prices. But for a general use media player, I still think Roku is the best product. Fire TV is far too Amazon-centric, and their user interface is fine as long as you're just using Prime Video. Other than that, it's as complicated as the Android devices, without as good of media support as Android provides. 


What exactly are we saying is the topic?  To me, the topic has been could HBO Max change Roku dominance in market share and is competing on the loss leader business model sustainable.  An interview with Jason Kilar put more gas on the fire with the claim HBO will get more leverage by waiting til gift giving season when somehow HBO Max would so greatly impact Roku sales.  That perspective assumes the person giving the gift will treat HBO Max as a critical decision on which device to get.  The claims by other posters to the thread seems to indicate there will be some sort of mass exodus of users from Roku that will try something else so much better than Roku that they will never come back.  I think given how often this claim has been thrown out it is worth discussing what exactly the alternatives are and why they can't accomplish what is being claimed.

Most importantly, I think it is possible there are members of AT&T management may have promoted a sock puppet compaign to promote their own delusions of grandeur as to what HBO Max mean to the success or failure of Roku.

Bottom line for me, none of the other products are polished for broad market novice user appeal to the same extent as Roku.  Android TV has it's niche features but it still isn't a Roku at the end of the day.  Apple TV also has it's own fan base but it is at a very different price point and user experierence than a Roku.  People are more than welcome to try either product but I doubt any reasonable unbias poll could prove HBO Max could reasonably shift Roku's market share in the long term.

As to lossless audio, I am confused when you keep bringing that up.  If you want to claim a specific type of lossless audio is important to you, like DTS-HD MA and that pass-through hasn't worked for you then I can understand that.  But to say Roku doesn't support lossless audio in general is simply not true.  PCM is supported by Roku and is lossless.  FLAC is supported by Roku and is lossless.  ALAC is supported by Roku and is lossless.  Maybe the HBO Max issue might get someone to try something else resulting in the  discover they get better DTS-HD MA support and decide not to come back to Roku.  But I still am unable to see that being a major issue to Roku's numbers.  This is just a nickle and dime issue in terms of overall marketshare.  I would still like to see Roku improve but I don't think we will be seeing a 10%+ dip in number of Roku users over it.

What I see more likely happening is the same trend for HBO Max as DirecTV Now which nearly doubled in price over a 3 year period.  I believe that is the point the mass exodus will happen much like DirecTV Now lost subscribers.  Only this won't be Roku losing numbers, it will be HBO.  Today DirecTV Now has no impact on the success or failure of Roku, Amazon, Google or Apple.  Once the price gouging for HBO Max begins, the same can be said for that service as well.

Oh dear American Telephone And Telegraph company, no one is interested in your telegraph services anymore.  Time to provide something of value in the year 2020 like Roku support and UltraHD/4k.  Smiley Tongue

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pgrey2
Level 9

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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@fluke wrote:


...

What exactly are we saying is the topic?  To me, the topic has been could HBO Max change Roku dominance in market share and is competing on the loss leader business model sustainable.  An interview with Jason Kilar put more gas on the fire with the claim HBO will get more leverage by waiting til gift giving season when somehow HBO Max would so greatly impact Roku sales.  That perspective assumes the person giving the gift will treat HBO Max as a critical decision on which device to get.  The claims by other posters to the thread seems to indicate there will be some sort of mass exodus of users from Roku that will try something else so much better than Roku that they will never come back.  I think given how often this claim has been thrown out it is worth discussing what exactly the alternatives are and why they can't accomplish what is being claimed.

Most importantly, I think it is possible there are members of AT&T management may have promoted a sock puppet compaign to promote their own delusions of grandeur as to what HBO Max mean to the success or failure of Roku.

Bottom line for me, none of the other products are polished for broad market novice user appeal to the same extent as Roku.  Android TV has it's niche features but it still isn't a Roku at the end of the day.  Apple TV also has it's own fan base but it is at a very different price point and user experierence than a Roku.  People are more than welcome to try either product but I doubt any reasonable unbias poll could prove HBO Max could reasonably shift Roku's market share in the long term.

As to lossless audio, I am confused when you keep bringing that up.  If you want to claim a specific type of lossless audio is important to you, like DTS-HD MA and that pass-through hasn't worked for you then I can understand that.  But to say Roku doesn't support lossless audio in general is simply not true.  PCM is supported by Roku and is lossless.  FLAC is supported by Roku and is lossless.  ALAC is supported by Roku and is lossless.  Maybe the HBO Max issue might get someone to try something else resulting in the  discover they get better DTS-HD MA support and decide not to come back to Roku.  But I still am unable to see that being a major issue to Roku's numbers.  This is just a nickle and dime issue in terms of overall marketshare.  I would still like to see Roku improve but I don't think we will be seeing a 10%+ dip in number of Roku users over it.

What I see more likely happening is the same trend for HBO Max as DirecTV Now which nearly doubled in price over a 3 year period.  I believe that is the point the mass exodus will happen much like DirecTV Now lost subscribers.  Only this won't be Roku losing numbers, it will be HBO.  Today DirecTV Now has no impact on the success or failure of Roku, Amazon, Google or Apple.  One the price gouging for HBO Max begins, the same can be said for that service as well.

Oh dear American Telephone And Telegraph company, no one is interested in your telegraph services anymore.  Time to provide something of value in the year 2020 like Roku support and UltraHD/4k.  Smiley Tongue


Yeah, this is spot-on.  

Thinking that consumers, gift-givers, whatever, are going to do due-diligence, on HBOMax integration is a fools-errand.

Sure, there are a few (my guess is < 5%) customers who will take note here, and make a different purchasing decision, based on this, but I just don't see this impacting Roku sales, significantly.  

Most people want to know if Netflix and Prime streaming works, and after that you get into the "long tail" providers, such as Hulu, Vudu, HBOMax, Peacock, etc.  Some of these might eventually become primary contenders, but they're not, currently, and no amount of pressure from ATT/HBO is going to make that part change, in the near-term.

-pete
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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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The topic of this discussion is HBO Max on Roku devices. It is not supposed to be a discussion of other brands of streaming players, their pros and cons. 

Dan

Roku Community Streaming Expert

Help others find this answer and click "Accept as Solution."
If you appreciate my answer, maybe give me a Kudo.

I am not a Roku employee, just another user.
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fluke
Level 13

Re: HBO Max App is available everywhere else today, why not on Roku?

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@atc98092 wrote:

The topic of this discussion is HBO Max on Roku devices. It is not supposed to be a discussion of other brands of streaming players, their pros and cons. 


Well, then hopefully this discussion is over.  HBO Max will be available on Roku via either Miracast or Airplay 2.  That is the full extent to which Roku can legally provide control over the situation.

AT&T will have to release HBO Max directly on Roku by the end of the year.  Otherwise they need to admit in their end of year SEC filing that the predicted number of expected new HBO Max subscribers may be negatively impacted by not supporting Roku (the streaming device with the largest market share).