The problem starts when a hardware company like Roku or a content delivery service (like netflix) tries to branch out to much and ends up competing against the companies that made them successful ( Content Providers) in the first place. It all comes down to a very common problem we have in this country. Corporations are too greedy for there own good.
Roku has clearly lost their way, spectacularly. My two devices are going in the garbage, where they belong, and I'm canceling my subscription. Pretty much ANYTHING is better than Roku at this point. Not to mention that their customer service is abysmal - they didn't even bother to answer my questions about HBO.
I was an early adopter to cord cutting and currently have a Roku 4200x, so it's safe to say that I'm long overdue for an upgrade. For the most part I've really enjoyed my Roku and I've liked the fact that they were staying in their lane, hardware, but when I saw them starting to branch out I knew trouble was on the horizon.
I currently use HBO GO to access HBO content and have an HBO MAX account. I am a big Warner fan and Warner films dominate my film collection. I have checked out the HBO MAX app and there is a lot of great content that I want to watch. They have Criterion Films available like Hulu used to have and a great selection of classics, that is very appealing to me.
After seeing the message on top of my HBO GO app this morning my decision has become final. I am not an Apple fan boy and am not a big fan of their product, I think it's overpriced and too much emphasis is placed on form, not function, but Apple for the most part has stayed in their lane and it's hard to deny that they make great hardware, so if this HBO/Roku thing is not resolved in 2 weeks, I will be purchasing an Apple TV, because at the moment they seem to be the best game in town and with the threat of google purchasing Roku it makes the decision that much easier. I value my privacy.
Apple TV also comes with a year of their content, which looks pretty good, so if you do the math the price of Apple TV isn't all that bad.
Hi. Like you, I definitely want access to the extra content now offered by HBO, including three of the TV series' and many of the nearly 2,000 movie titles. (On the Warner side, for me it's not just the movie collection, but also the Looney Tunes library.) If you're considering a new TV, I have a recommendation: Samsung.
I had been considering replacing my dumb TV for months, but hadn't pursued the idea because my Roku Ultra performed just fine. But after this fiasco (no matter who is at fault) and a previous scare with possibly no longer accessing content on Roku, I made the decision to find another device brand.
At first, I looked into other streaming boxes/sticks, and most were not up to my expectations. Then I looked into replacing the TV, which is the route I took. I bought a Samsung TV that runs their Tizen OS, and every streaming service to which I subscribe is available. I already have both a Samsung phone and a Samsung tablet, and both have served me very well. I'm not as concerned as you about Google, but you don't have to use a Google account with Samsung TVs.
As for Apple, I'm also not a big fan overall, but they do make a great product. I did buy an iPod Touch back in December to replace my old 2nd Gen unit (that still works after more than a decade), and it came with the free subscription to Apple TV+. I'm not very impressed with the content. I have watched one movie, and I just started a series that I am enjoying. But nothing else has piqued my interest. I'm sure others will find more content in the service that they like, but I won't be renewing the subscription when the free year expires.
Sorry, but I disagree that HBO Max not coming will be more painful for Roku than HBO. For me, I was already planning to ditch HBO: after Game of Thrones ended, I was thinking about leaving, but kept my HBO Now subscription partly out of laziness and partly due to some of the shows. Their catalog of movies and shows has not been great lately and I thought maybe the HBO Max additions might make it worthwhile. After finding they don't support Roku, I'm done. I just canceled my HBO Now subscription and can use the saved money somewhere else.
Actually evidence out there is that HBO is holding out for more money, and that is why we do not have it.
No, the evidence is that HBO is trying to keep more of its own money that it generates from subscribers to content HBO makes and delivers and that Roku wants a bigger cut of that than what makes good business sense. Roku is not a cable company, which actually built and maintained the substantial and costly infrastructure that delivered traditional HBO to your home, but it sure seems it is trying to be. We know how that ends.
Kind of, but not really either of those. Before I get into the details, I should note I still think the best value replacement/supplement for your Roku at the moment remains the $50 TiVo Stream 4k, on which HBO MAX has now been fully integrated:
AppleTV, which I keep seeing mentioned, is just not a rational choice for anyone but Apple loyalists when a functional alternative is available for well under 1/3 of the price. True, as an AndroidTV device TiVo's S4k doesn't have AppleTV+, but that's what your Roku's for, right?
Anyway, the biggest mistake in this analysis is comparing Roku unfavorably with cable companies because CableCos went out and built all this awesome coax infrastructure (from which they've been milking monopoly profits ever since, including continuing to deliver all your content, only now through your embarrassingly overpriced broadband service - but I digress...) and Roku just sells you cheap little BIC lighters that play TV.
Well, Rokus might not cost you much, but they aren't really that cheap to develop, manufacture, and update - so those prices are subsidized. That only works because Roku derives revenue from sources other than you, unlike everybody else, e.g., while AmzFires are competitively priced, they're also a portal for you to buy stuff from AMZ's media retail empire, next to which Roku Channels, etc. look like a lemonade stand. And unless you've been naive enough to subscribe to content services through Roku (a bad idea for reasons that are now obvious), you can replace their little stick any time you like if they abuse their market position enough that a different stick becomes a better deal (good luck doing THAT with your cable or broadband in 90% of the country). So no, Roku's not even remotely trying to mimic the behavior of your unaccountable monopolistic price-gouging abusive CableCo - different universe. And before you continue wailing against the horrible injustice of asking content providers to kick a little into the kitty, go do a little price shopping for non-subsidized 4k HDR streamers that are as stable and low-hassle as your Roku.
As for all the ongoing HBO angst, the reality is that Roku just wants things to continue exactly as they are, with HBO MAX replacing HBO[NOW] like-for-like (which AT&T could do this afternoon if they chose to, no new agreement w/Roku and no "bigger cut" required), while HBO wants to a) withdraw HBO from Roku Channels so that viewers must subscribe directly from HBO (a good idea anyway as noted above), and b) share less ad revenue w/Roku if/when they launch HBO SUX, the discounted service for people willing to sit through fiber supplement ads in the middle of Westworld.
For some reason, AT&T decided to raise the "what gigantic jerks we are" ante late last month by announcing that while the "HBO NOW" app would continue as "HBO" on Roku and AmzFire, "HBO GO" (the app you access using your cable credentials) was going away, and the "HBO" app will not be updated to accept cable credentials - that feature will be exclusive to "HBO MAX". So while people subscribing directly to HBO[MAX] will still continue to have access to "Ye Olde HBO" content on their Rokus and AmzFires, CableCo subscribers will be cut off altogether (an HBO app will still be there, but their CableCo sub credentials won't work on it). This was completely unnecessary, and cannot be blamed on Roku, regardless of what you think about the MAX conflict in general.
This also seems a pretty high risk move in terms of relations with the CableCos. Some CCs may have mixed feelings about this, although they shouldn't - it's an absolute slap in the face to their subscribers, who might want access to HBO on TVs where they don't want to pay for another overpriced cable connection. For some (e.g., Comcast Xfinity), a CableCo app on Roku will provide access to HBO content for subscribers without too much bother (which some CableCos might prefer, hence the mixed feelings), but that's likely not true for everybody. Those left app-less, and some customers of every CableCo, will prefer to drop HBO cable subs and watch all their HBO via streaming (which CableCos would definitely NOT prefer).
It just seems to me that AT&T keeps digging deeper holes in every direction. I hope this is resolved soon, but this latest move may tip sentiment even more solidly against them.
TL;DR: It bears repeating - Roku is not blocking the HBO MAX app from their devices; AT&T can release it any time they want under existing agreements. AT&T is withholding the HBO MAX app from Roku customers to pressure Roku into new concessions beyond the scope of those existing agreements. That may not be as simple a story as everyone would like - but it's true.
I have HBO a AT&T company. DirecTV a AT&T company. The only week link in that chain is they are both connected to a 65" TCL 4K TV that uses Roku. When I purchased that TV I had no idea that down the road there would be major content that wouldn't be available on that platform. AT&T might very well be trying to squeeze more out of Roku but since every other smart TV platform on earth except Roku and Amazon have made the deal there seems to be something else going on here.
Of course there is. Roku and Amazon are the big players in the streaming device field. All the other devices have relatively small numbers of users so have no leverage at all with AT&T/HBO.
But by your logic I can note that every other content provider on earth except AT&T/HBO has reached an amicable deal with Roku and Amazon, so there must be something else going on.