HBO Max Is Now on Roku. Thanks, Wonder Woman!


The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter.

Earlier this week, I typed the following in a moment of new-media pique:

Look, not to sound petty (this sounds petty), but I just want to watch Friends. And The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Hell, maybe even Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League, if that ever comes out. But right now, I can’t. Why? Because both of my televisions use Roku streaming devices, and, as has been the case since its launch, HBO Max—the place where that programming lives—isn’t available on Roku. It’s just … not there. One day HBO Go just Keyser Söze-d out of my life and nothing showed up to replace it. My HBO streaming option was gone, and it took my spontaneous Sex and the City marathons with it. Thank fuck I own Deadwood on DVD.

As often happens in journalism, though, that story stopped being a story before I could smash the Publish button. That’s because on Wednesday, Roku and WarnerMedia announced they’d finally come to an agreement to host HBO Max on Roku devices.

The move comes nearly six months after the streaming service’s launch. That may not seem like very much time in the long arc of history, but during a pandemic that has left people stuck at home craving new content to stream, it’s an eternity. It also comes after WarnerMedia had made deals to put HBO Max on nearly every other device, including the PlayStation 5. Even Amazon and WarnerMedia, which had been without a deal for more than five months, finally made an agreement to put the streaming service on Fire TV devices in November. And while, with all these devices already lined up, it may seem like Roku’s absence isn’t a big deal, please remember that Roku dominates nearly half of the connected TV market.

But now we all have HBO Max. Hooray! You probably have Wonder Woman to thank for that. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. announced it would release Wonder Woman 1984 on the streaming service on December 25, and even though the finer points of the deal weren’t disclosed, reports indicated that WarnerMedia wanted to secure the Roku piece of the HBO Max puzzle before that date. It also seems possible the company wanted to lock in the deal before the start of 2021, during which Warner Bros. will be releasing its entire slate of films—including highly anticipated films like Dune and The Matrix 4—on HBO Max the same day they hit (a limited number of) theaters.



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