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HBO Max to stream on Amazon Fire TV, 'Firestick' and Fire tablets starting Tuesday

HBO Max finally has Amazon Fire TV support, but Roku still doesn't.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
3 min read

Amazon's Fire TV Stick, sometimes referred to by customers as a "Firestick," is one of its most popular streaming devices. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

HBO Max will launch its dedicated app on Amazon's Fire TV devices, including its popular dongle often referred to as the "Firestick," and Fire tablets on Tuesday. The change gives HBO Max's customers an easier way to stream the service on Amazon products, and it's the latest development that fills in some gaps in app support on the most popular streaming devices

The deal, announced Monday, puts to rest a major standoff that's likely crimped HBO Max since its launch in May. This leaves Roku as the last major streaming device platform lacking support for HBO's new app, which offers extra movies, shows and originals that don't run on its regular network. 

Roku declined to comment. 

The "goal is to make HBO Max and its unparalleled content available to customers across all the devices they love," according to Tony Goncalves, head of sales and distribution for WarnerMedia, which is the AT&T unit that runs HBO. "Fire TV is a favorite among customers and we look forward to working with the Amazon team." 

HBO Max, the streaming service from AT&T's WarnerMedia, launched in late May as another splashy new service in the so-called streaming wars, a period from late 2019 to mid-2020 when several media and tech giants rolled out their own big-budget takes on streaming TV. Those include the launch of Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and NBCUniversal's Peacock. Simultaneously, streaming has grown more popular than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, amplifying the long trend of people watching more of their video online. 

But now, the most powerful TV app distributors and deep-pocketed media companies have drawn a battle line for control of the data and money generated by your streaming activity. That led to standoffs pitting device makers Roku and Amazon against HBO Max and Peacock, as they all try to entrench positions of power for the next era of TV. Those face-offs have manifested in "blackouts" of apps on some of the most popular streaming platforms. 

That puts people like you in the middle of a power grab: Until the companies reconcile, you can't watch all the biggest services on the most popular streaming devices. 

Both HBO Max and Peacock launched without apps on Roku's or Amazon's Fire TV devices, even though their products are the most popular ones to stream on televisions in the US. Together, the two companies' streaming devices and smart TVs made up 70% of all the streaming devices installed in the US last year, and they reach more than 80 million active users between them globally. 

The device makers and streaming services are finally stitching together patchwork support. HBO Max now has a deal with Amazon's Fire line of devices, but HBO Max's app is still missing from Roku. Peacock and Roku reached a deal in September to support Peacock app on that platform, leaving Amazon's Fire TV as the only major platform without Peacock.

Alexa support

HBO Max will begin rolling out on Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, Fire TV Edition smart TVs and Fire tablets starting Tuesday, but their deal also includes Amazon's Alexa voice-assistant system too. 

For example, customers can find the HBO Max app by saying the voice command, "Alexa, find HBO Max," using Fire TV's Alexa Voice Remote or a paired Echo device. HBO Max content is also integrated into universal search on Fire TV, so Max programming will be returned in searches such as "Alexa, find dramas" or "Alexa, find Game of Thrones." 

Once the HBO Max app is downloaded and opened, current subscribers of HBO through Amazon's Prime Video Channels will be able to log in to the HBO Max app with their Amazon credentials immediately at no additional cost. The HBO app on Fire TV and Fire tablets will automatically update to become the HBO Max app; customers will be able to log in using their existing HBO credentials. 

New customers can also subscribe to HBO Max directly from the app. 

Watch this: HBO Max: How to get it