Just in time for the Christmas debut of Wonder Woman 1984, WarnerMedia and Roku have cut a deal to get HBO back on the streaming platform. You can add the channel via Roku’s store here, and according to their blog post the HBO Max app will be live as of December 17th. There’s no details mentioned on what the two negotiated for the return of HBO, but it solves a major missing item for each side in terms of streaming support.
— Roku (@Roku) December 16, 2020
In a joint statement, execs proclaimed how happy they are to put their differences aside without mentioning what those differences were. Roku senior VP Scott Rosenberg said “Reaching mutually beneficial agreements where Roku grows together with our partners is how we deliver an exceptional user experience at an incredible value for consumers and we are excited by the opportunity to deepen our longstanding relationship with the team at WarnerMedia.” WarnerMedia chief revenue officer Tony Goncalves similarly stated “...we can’t wait to work with our longtime partners at Roku to build on our past successes and bring HBO Max’s best-in-class quality entertainment to Roku’s large and highly engaged audience.”
You will be able to pay for an HBO Max subscription using the Roku Pay setup, however it’s unclear what will happen to people who subscribe to HBO via Roku’s premium subscriptions. The blog post points to an FAQ that will explain it, but that page isn’t live yet.
We also haven’t heard anything about technical specs yet, but I’d expect that the channel will include support for the 4K, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision HDR streams HBO Max plans to launch with the debut of Wonder Woman 1984. The news comes just hours after HBO Max launched on the PS5, and a month after WarnerMedia similarly squashed things with Amazon and published the HBO Max app for Fire TV.
Update (12/17): The HBO Max FAQ for Roku is live, and it appears their negotiations axed any access via The Roku Channel. If you previously subscribed to HBO that way, the page explains that you’ll need to cancel your subscription, then sign up again from within the new app.