HBO's Max Rebrand Launch Didn't Go as Planned
HBO Max, now rebranded as Max, had a less-than-ideal launch on Tuesday, with many subscribers reporting ongoing issues with the app. The problems may have stemmed from Max creating an entirely new app, rather than simply renaming its existing one, and many subscribers were displeased, saying they couldn't log in or that the app had completely crashed.OffEnglish
The outages were reported in the early morning on Downdetector with complaints ranging from a lag in video streaming to subtitles not matching the scene. Others reported they could watch trailers but not the TV show or movie, have new 60-second commercials when they try to stream, and screen blackouts that allowed them to hear the audio but have no picture.
Max did not immediately respond to Gizmodo's request for comment, but a spokesperson told ABC News, "You must always anticipate issues on a tech rollout of this scale. We can share that only minor ones have emerged and were quickly remedied." The outlet, which published the story in the morning, said the spokesperson responded 15 minutes later, saying Max was not down. But that didn't stop some subscribers from still experiencing various issues throughout the day. Some users also reported receiving an error message in the late evening telling them Max isn't available in their region.
Subscribers took to Twitter to complain about the error message, with one person tweeting: "Let me get this straight. We pay for HBO Max, but now that it is just @StreamOnMax our house is suddenly no longer in a region that streams Max? (Last time I looked our condo is still in the US of A.)"
The streaming service has not provided instructions on how to fix the problem, nor has it posted a finite resolution on its site, if anything, it makes the swap more complicated, not less. On its site, Max says if subscribers receive a message saying the app isn't available in their region, they should follow four steps including unblocking the IP address, restarting the network device, contacting their internet service provider, and as a last-ditch effort, contact Max.
Max's introduction of a completely different app left no direction for subscribers, saying in a press release that a "large portion" of subscribers' apps will be automatically updated to Max, while others will receive a prompt to download the app. Speaking from firsthand experience, no such prompt consistently exists.
The question remains whether subscribers will bear with Max as it works to debug its system, while the company simultaneously says there aren't any bugs to fix. Echoing the disdain for the rebrand, one person tweeted: "I clicked on the app and it said "We're sorry, HBO Max is not available in your region," and instead of downloading a new app I'm gonna watch something else, thanks Warner brothers."