HBO Max was launched in the middle of the pandemic with a great library and the benefit of cinema releases the same day for a while, but it was notorious for slow performance and mistakes. Now that its renewed app has been made available on Android TV, Apple TV and elsewhere, HBO Max owns the tough start.
In a conversation with the people over at ProtocolHBO Max’s head of Product Experience, Sarah Lyons, said HBO Max knew its apps were not ready for the scope of the service, but they were still pushed due to the incoming competition from Disney + and others.
When HBO Max was launched, it was built on top of the technology that drives HBO Go, which executives know could never “handle what HBO Max would do.” That has changed in the time since HBO Max switched to a brand new platform built on the back of the acquisition of You.i.TV, an Ottawa-based startup. Lyons said that “we changed the engine on the plane while flying the plane. I think it was the right decision to try to balance both.”
The move from the old frame to this new one also seems to have succeeded. HBO Max has rolled out renewed apps across various platforms including Roku, smart TVs from LG and Vizio, Apple TV and also Android TV. This resulted in far fewer crashes on the Roku app, and on the Android TV site, HBO Max says the app loads content 50% faster than it did before. And it’s on top of the visual upgrades that the new app has quietly introduced.
Going forward, HBO Max said that this new underlying platform will allow for major upgrades, including better discovery features and more branded hubs similar to the existing ones from, among others, TCM and Cartoon Network.
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