Amid user complaints about app performance and stability issues, Warner Media is rolling out a new version of the HBO Max app for Apple TV and Apple TV 4K boxes, which will roll out slowly this week and next, according to the company.
Visually, the new tvOS app isn’t all that different from HBO Max’s previous iteration on the platform. But WarnerMedia promises that the app, rebuilt on its next-gen platform, is more stable than the previous version. Also, it adds a number of improvements, such as easier login and registration; the ability to skip credits (aka “frenzy mode”); and a new homepage view with a drop-down “hero” banner.
Additionally, the HBO Max upgrade for Apple TV provides more user curation features with a full “My Stuff” experience that allows users to edit and sort their My List and Keep Watching lists. Eventually, the new HBO Max app for Apple TV will be able to leverage the devices’ processing power to deliver more dynamic interface animations — “cooler, whiz-bang stuff,” said Sarah Lyons, EVP of WarnerMedia. , direct-to-consumer global product management.
According to Lyons, more than two years ago, when WarnerMedia was preparing to launch HBO Max, “we deliberately decided to use the [existing] HBO Go and HBO Now apps.
By using this codebase, originally developed by BAMTech (now part of Disney Streaming Services), WarnerMedia was able to speed up the rollout of HBO Max to market. “But we knew the original platform wasn’t built for a big catalog of content or international distribution,” Lyons said. “We knew we had to reformat it later.”
Amid HBO Max’s replatforming project, WarnerMedia is nearing the finish line in the process of splitting off AT&T and merging with Discovery.
The news fell this week that Andy Forssell, General Manager of HBO Max and Richard Tom, CTO of WarnerMedia, among other executives, are not coming to the new Warner Bros. Discovery. Led by WBD CEO David Zaslav, JB Perrette, Discovery’s former CEO for streaming and international, will oversee all streaming business operations, including HBO/HBO Max, as well as international channels. WBD’s new streaming strategy and priorities have yet to be fully fleshed out, but Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels recently said the medium-term goal is to unify HBO Max and Discovery Plus into a single service.
For now, the WarnerMedia team is continuing the process of improving support across the matrix of devices and platforms HBO Max runs on. The new HBO Max app uses the cross-platform app engine built by You.i, which WarnerMedia acquired in December 2020. “We’re building a suite of apps that can handle low to high power devices, allowing us to meet partners where they are and scale effectively as we continuously deploy around the world,” Lyons said.
To date, WarnerMedia has rolled out the new HBO Max technology stack based on You.i’s engine to the following device platforms: Roku, PlayStation, Android, Samsung, LG, Vizio, Vodafone, Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex, and Cox Outline.
Once the upgrade rolls out to Apple TV, WarnerMedia plans to release a new version for Amazon’s Fire TV, which will be followed by improvements to the streamer’s web version.
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