Channel Issues & Questions

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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Nsputnik1
Level 8

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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It seems Roku and HBOMax are just going to point fingers at each other until? I am looking at one of the two parties to step up and take responsibility for the problem before they get into trouble.

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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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I don't agree. It is not the responsibility of the OS developers to ensure applications work properly on new releases. That's why they make beta versions available in advance for application testing. Microsoft and Apple to not test their OS updates against any applications other than the ones they themselves offer. Microsoft will ensure Office works, Apple ensures all of their various applications work. Roku is responsible for The Roku Channel and Roku Media Player, so they test those internally. Any significant changes to the OS are made known through their developer's network. Because I once attempted to create a channel for Roku, I am registered as a developer, and I receive messages often about OS changes that might require code changes. 

Dan

Roku Community Streaming Expert

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Nsputnik1
Level 8

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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Roku OS 10.0 was pushed out on April 13, 2021 but as you can see form the start of their thread that it goes back at least moths to December 2020. So on one hand you could say that HBO Max must have know this was coming and could have just fixed the issue for the Roku OS 10.0 but on the other hand the app/channel has had issues going back half a year. Clearly the blame lies on HBO Max to not prioritize their channel software compatibility with Roku OS.

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phytotech
Level 8

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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Been dealing with this issue for a while now. Back and forth with HBOMax support. Finally elevated support. Got an email today that they have an update that should fix it. The update is HBOMax 50.10 Build 13, dated May 10, 2021. 

IT DOES NOT FIX THIS ISSUE. 

The issue for me is that any premium movie with a preview startup will not transition to the actual movie and crashes back to the home screen.

Today I tried:

Went to HBO and tried Mortal Kombat. No preview. I thought "That's how they chose to fix it. Just remove the previews." It started up.

Went to WW84. Now this movie I started watching when it originally came out but stopped about 15 minutes into it. (Yes, it is that bad.) It started right up at the point I left off. My point is there was no preview.

Went to Those Who Wish Me Dead. Started...Preview...no movie, back to start page.

  I let HBOMax support know the above. Waiting to see their reply.

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DimeTVView
Level 9

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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Roku forc d the update back to 10. It works now so someone must have done a fix.

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Nsputnik1
Level 8

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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I got a reply from HBO Today.  They said they can't reproduce the issue but that "2700 level devices are older, and as it turns out, that makes it difficult to circle in on the root cause."  And their proposed solutions I am finding are ridiculous, unreasonable (reset your router and modem, sign out of all other HBO Max accounts) and don't work when other channels like Netflix just work. 

If you take a look at iOS, MacOS, Windows hardware and software there is a standard referred to as "System Requirements," "Minimum Requirements," "OS Requirements."

Here is an example from Microsoft for Windows 7:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

iOS apps that do not meet the minimum requirements are not even allows to install.  Here is an example on the Apple App store for an app under the Information section:
iPhone: Requires iOS 13.0 or later.
iPod touch: Requires iOS 13.0 or later.

And Apple also makes public the maximum version of iOS that each model of iPhone and iPad will run. AND they will not let you install incompatible versions of iOS. For example, here is a list of the latest iOS that will run on legacy devices:

  • iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPhone 5s: iOS12
  • iPhone 5c, iPhone 5: iOS 10
  • iPhone 4s: iOS 9
  • iPhone 4: iOS 7

Roku, on the other hand, does not have such strict testing, requirements, publications, or restrictions on installing specific apps on specific Roku models/chipsets/OSes when they might not work.  Given this, you would hope that Roku channel developers would 1) Know and publicize their minimum hardware requirements  or 2) Confirm that the app would work with the widest range of Roku devices as possible to prevent the most users as possible from having a bad experience.

This leads me to three conclusions.  First, compared to the industry leader, Apple, Roku has poor quality control when it comes to what they allow into their channel store.  They don't require that their apps match specific Roku OS or Roku hardware minimum requirements.  Anything goes.  Secondly, HBO does not have the best engineers compared to industry leaders Netflix, Apple and Amazon. They might have even outsourced the app development to a third party so every fix and tweak costs a lot more for them.  Lastly, they care more about who shouldn't be able to use their channel compared to who should by implementing regional restrictions.  Some supposed "solutions" to the fix include not using a VPN, which means they are spending efforts to actively restrict content from regions they do not have deals in instead of making sure statements like "HBO Max is available on Roku" is as true of a statement as possible. The practical matters is that they are in bigger legal jeopardy if they violate regional agreements for content availability compared to getting in trouble for false advertising from consumers for the statement "HBO Max is available on Roku." They calculated the risk and decided making the app work as claimed is not that important.

Roku, please don't be this lazy.  Please establish minimum requirements OS and hardware labeling restrictions for each channel so that consumers know if they need to buy a newer Roku instead of just being frustrated.  We see they track this https://developer.roku.com/docs/specs/hardware.md showing a list of models, the chipsets, and Latest Roku OS version for each model. If you or your channel developers can set a minimum chipset and OS requirement for each channel and restrict downloads of incompatible channels, and list the minimum requirements on a page like this https://channelstore.roku.com/details/0529e360dc0e338a1ccad45a874a7dc6/hbo-max such as "*Requires a Roku with ARM Cortex A53 or newer and Roku OS 10 or newer" you could engender a lot of good will to your current and potential customers.  Otherwise, I would not recommend Roku to any friends or family because channels might just stop working one day and you will not know if it's a hardware failed, a software bug in a channel or OS (which auto update), or an undocumented incompatibility because Roku is too lazy.  I would say, go with Apple TV because they make all of this clear and they care about customer experience.

atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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You are asking Roku to do something they can't do. It would be next to impossible to test every proposed channel on every version of hardware, even ignoring the OS level. They place that requirement on the developers, and it's the developer's responsibility to make a determination of the hardware level required for their channel. Some do their job, such as Disney which has a long list of supported and unsupported devices. It's HBO that is being lazy. And when you read forums other than here, you'll see that the HBO Max app has problems on almost every platform. It's not specific to Roku. HBO simply isn't doing their job as a channel developer. 

Dan

Roku Community Streaming Expert

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Nsputnik1
Level 8

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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Apple does it for iOS and they have far more apps to review.  And apple is more aggressive with their TOS with developers and that goes toward a better user experience.  Apples sees their reputation on the line (one of the few areas that they do) when they try to deliver app experiences.  Roku does not to the same degree.  Ultimately the buck stops with Roku to keep HBO Max from delivering a poorly authored channel/app to the platform or to incompatible devices.  Roku should not be letting HBO Max make them both look bad.

Nsputnik1
Level 8

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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A quick search on job listings at HBO Max in the last 7 days lists dozens of openings for product managers and software engineers openings in LA, NYC and Seattle. I guess they can't fix it because they don't have the right people?  Somebody go work for them to get this fixed!

  • Sr Manager, Product Insights & Experimentation
  • Product Manager, CMS Automation - HBO Max
  • Sr. Product Manager, Product Planning & Strategy - HBO Max
  • Product Manager II -- Product Performance & Insights (HBO Max)
  • Sr. Product Manager, App Store Analytics - HBO Max
  • Sr. Manager, Data & ML Technical Product Management - HBO Max
  • Sr. Product Manager - Data Driven Experiences (HBO Max)
  • Product Manager II - HBO Max
  • Sr. Product Manager, App Store Analytics - HBO Max
  • Principal Software Engineer, Video Processing - HBO Max
  • Software Engineer I, Video Processing - HBO Max
  • Sr Technical Program Manager, Clients & Platforms - HBO Max
  • Software Engineer I - Authentication - HBO Max
  • Sr Software Engineer Authentication - HBO MAX
  • Software Engineer I, Data Pipeline - HBO Max
  • Software Engineer II, Data Reliability - HBO Max
  • Software Engineer II, Service Frameworks - HBO Max
  • Software Engineer II - Authentication - HBO Max
  • Software Engineer II Dotcom - HBO Max
  • Software Engineer I Strategic Infrastructure - HBO Max
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atc98092
Community Streaming Expert

Re: HBO Max keeps freezes - then crashes back to home screen

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And if Roku attempts to do so and pulls the channel from the store until HBO does their job, they will get buried by users complaining the channel is gone. It's a no-win situation for them.

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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