Crash-prone HBO Max Apple TV app will be overhauled by end of 2021

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited August 15
The Apple TV app for HBO Max will be updated with a new version by the end of 2021, according to a report, with a WarnerMedia executive confirming the service's smart TV apps will be overhauled.




Since the launch of HBO Max, the app has struggled to work properly, with many users complaining about a variety of issues with the Apple TV app, and others. It seems that the parent company WarnerMedia heard the complaints.

The service dismissed its existing use of Apple's tvOS API as a backbone in favor of its own software in June. Since that release, there have been occasional issues ranging from an inability to use some Siri prompts, to closed captioning problems, and even the inability to fast forward or rewind programs, though gradual fixes have occurred since then.

A company executive told Vulture that a new and completely rebuilt HBO Max app will be rolling out across all of the smart TV and set-top box platforms it uses. "We're going to replace every single connected TV app in the next four or five months," according to the unnamed source.

The releases will start with Roku and PlayStation, while Apple TV users will have to wait until later in 2021. Mobile and web-based app changes are expected in early 2022.

"It will be wildly better than what's out there," the exec insists. "It will just work better across the board." While there is a chance of new issues arising with the rebuilt apps, the executive believes it will quickly become a more stable experience.

It is likely that the app won't look that much different than it currently does to users, but new features are still being planned to make the apps more "sophisticated and cool and sexier" to use.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,656member
    Can someone tell me why companies like this require a standalone app instead of using the built-in Apple TV app? I really don't know the reason, but I presume it's to spy on and track their users better than Apple allows.
    mcdavemontrosemacsbyronlStrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 10
    mfrydmfryd Posts: 133member
    Can someone tell me why companies like this require a standalone app instead of using the built-in Apple TV app? I really don't know the reason, but I presume it's to spy on and track their users better than Apple allows.
    Here are a few possible reasons:
    1. Integration with the Apple TV app only works on Apple TV.  They still would need to maintain apps for other streaming boxes.  An independent app reduces development time, and reduces maintenance costs as they can maintain a common code base across all platforms
    2. Having the same app across all platforms makes it easier to provide customer service,  Your agents only need to be trained for one app.
    3. Having a separate app allows them to provide features not available on the Apple TV app.  That can set them apart from competing services.
    4. The Apple TV app includes content from competing services.  This can lead to views preferring those services and canceling this service.
    TheObannonFilebyronl
  • Reply 3 of 10
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,656member
    mfryd said:
    Can someone tell me why companies like this require a standalone app instead of using the built-in Apple TV app? I really don't know the reason, but I presume it's to spy on and track their users better than Apple allows.
    Here are a few possible reasons:
    1. Integration with the Apple TV app only works on Apple TV.  They still would need to maintain apps for other streaming boxes.  An independent app reduces development time, and reduces maintenance costs as they can maintain a common code base across all platforms
    2. Having the same app across all platforms makes it easier to provide customer service,  Your agents only need to be trained for one app.
    3. Having a separate app allows them to provide features not available on the Apple TV app.  That can set them apart from competing services.
    4. The Apple TV app includes content from competing services.  This can lead to views preferring those services and canceling this service.
    Your points are somewhat fair, but I wish to make a couple of rejoinders.

    For point 1, integration with the Apple TV app works across all Apple device (eg, Macs, iPhones, iPads) not just on the Apple TV hardware. That's a pretty big community. Probably 1,000,000,000 users, all of whom have the Apple TV app. By comparison Roku has a tiny 50,000,000 user base.

    For point 2, while true, it's not the agents that the media company should be worried about - it's the users who pay them. I come to the Apple system for simplicity, and I don't buy from companies that tell me to learn a new way of business to use their service. Every moment that I used the Disney+ app I was frustrated. I kept saying to myself "How does this work and why did they do this?"

    Point 4 doesn't seem to be a problem, it seems to be a solution. When I drive through a city, all restaurants tend to be next to each other. That's not bad for business, that's good for business. If it's offered through the Apple TV app I will know about it. If it isn't offered through the Apple TV app they have to reach me through ads, and I don't see many ads by virtue of the reason that I like to stream my media.

    Are you denying that a standalone apps makes it easier to track users? You didn't refute that. I still suspect that that's the main reason. We may never know the true reason.
    applguymac_dogmcdavemontrosemacsbyronl
  • Reply 4 of 10
    mfryd said:
    Can someone tell me why companies like this require a standalone app instead of using the built-in Apple TV app? I really don't know the reason, but I presume it's to spy on and track their users better than Apple allows.
    Here are a few possible reasons:
    1. Integration with the Apple TV app only works on Apple TV.  They still would need to maintain apps for other streaming boxes.  An independent app reduces development time, and reduces maintenance costs as they can maintain a common code base across all platforms
    2. Having the same app across all platforms makes it easier to provide customer service,  Your agents only need to be trained for one app.
    3. Having a separate app allows them to provide features not available on the Apple TV app.  That can set them apart from competing services.
    4. The Apple TV app includes content from competing services.  This can lead to views preferring those services and canceling this service.
    Your points are somewhat fair, but I wish to make a couple of rejoinders.

    For point 1, integration with the Apple TV app works across all Apple device (eg, Macs, iPhones, iPads) not just on the Apple TV hardware. That's a pretty big community. Probably 1,000,000,000 users, all of whom have the Apple TV app. By comparison Roku has a tiny 50,000,000 user base.

    For point 2, while true, it's not the agents that the media company should be worried about - it's the users who pay them. I come to the Apple system for simplicity, and I don't buy from companies that tell me to learn a new way of business to use their service. Every moment that I used the Disney+ app I was frustrated. I kept saying to myself "How does this work and why did they do this?"

    Point 4 doesn't seem to be a problem, it seems to be a solution. When I drive through a city, all restaurants tend to be next to each other. That's not bad for business, that's good for business. If it's offered through the Apple TV app I will know about it. If it isn't offered through the Apple TV app they have to reach me through ads, and I don't see many ads by virtue of the reason that I like to stream my media.

    Are you denying that a standalone apps makes it easier to track users? You didn't refute that. I still suspect that that's the main reason. We may never know the true reason.

    "Are you denying that a standalone apps makes it easier to track users? You didn't refute that. I still suspect that that's the main reason. We may never know the true reason."

    Well said. And to your point I pasted above, there's very little chance this isn't about user information, at least one of the main reasons. Monetizing user information is a big revenue stream add on with virtually no added op costs. Every added piece of information they can get on a user makes a more effective monetization.

    Streaming is not a high margin business. Unless a streaming company can push paying subscriber numbers to big levels, profits are likely to be scant.
    Netflix subscriber numbers are massively bigger than anyone else, over 200 million, and their pricing tends to be most premium. Until very recently they were single digit net profit margin. They've been able to get it just above 10% recently. Forecast suggests they will drop back to single digits (discounting to try to continue subscriber growth, growth in areas where pricing has to be lesser). Be sure that HBO is having to, like so many, squeeze revenue everywhere they can. The Apple platform tends to semi rain on that user info monetization parade.
    byronl
  • Reply 5 of 10
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 921member
    One of the reasons I dropped Hulu with live TV was after Disney took over the company they changed the app and it became a dumpster fire. This is more of the same.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,740member
    I’ve had some issues with it, as have family.  It runs OK on my ATV 4K.  Some screen loading delays, etc. There are more frequent issues on my Dad’s ATV HD (bought new last year as his TV is only 1080p).  About the same on my Roku TVs.  
  • Reply 7 of 10
    HBO currently plays nice with the Apple TV app. They withdrew from tv channels when they launched HBO Max, but nothing else changed. If you search in the tv app, you'll discover HBO content, and it still readily appears in the suggestions, even in macOS.

    I don't know if that will change with the new, cross-platform HBO Max player. But it's a mistake to assume that it will.

    Without being in tv channels, HBO Max is limited, but that limitation is mostly about macOS. It's not really true for tvOS or iOS or iPadOS. This is similar to the Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, and Prime Video streaming apps. They are all automatically "connected" to the tv app across all of your Apple devices, except macOS. I don't expect that to change. I guess they could pull a Netflix and stop playing nice, but there's no indication of that.

    I don't know what to say about 22July's presumption that this change is about collecting more personal data to sell. But I don't really see how anything changes in that regard. They won't be getting much more data from me than they already are. Maybe they will have a slightly more detailed record of my family's HBO viewing habits, but that's all.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,827member
    Get rid of these media apps. We don’t need another random design just to play movies/tv shows.
    All of these Apps should be pulled, the category closed & replaced with Channels. 

    Sports Apps are worthwhile but where was the amazing Olympics app which should have aggregated events by category/date/country and allowed users to create their own Olympics channel. The one year this could have showcased modern media access but…crickets.
    edited August 15 montrosemacsStrangeDays
  • Reply 9 of 10
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,759member
    Yeah this app sucks. As does the tvOS version with its awful UI. But the iPadOS version doesn't even let you disable auto-play videos! If you fall asleep watching an episode it just burns thru the next couple. Laaaame. Total amateur hour.

    My other favorite (that Netflix is guilty of too) -- asking me to select the user profile when it's the *only profile there is*! It's one line of code to check profiles count before presenting me the UI to select which profile...there's only one, guys!
    edited August 16 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 10
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,759member
    mfryd said:
    Can someone tell me why companies like this require a standalone app instead of using the built-in Apple TV app? I really don't know the reason, but I presume it's to spy on and track their users better than Apple allows.
    Here are a few possible reasons:
    1. Integration with the Apple TV app only works on Apple TV.  They still would need to maintain apps for other streaming boxes.  An independent app reduces development time, and reduces maintenance costs as they can maintain a common code base across all platforms
    2. Having the same app across all platforms makes it easier to provide customer service,  Your agents only need to be trained for one app.
    3. Having a separate app allows them to provide features not available on the Apple TV app.  That can set them apart from competing services.
    4. The Apple TV app includes content from competing services.  This can lead to views preferring those services and canceling this service.
    #2 - You know how many times I've had to call Starz or others for support watching their content in the native tvOS TV app? Zero. It just works. It's much better tested, tried & true code than whatever new UI inventions they dream up on their own dev teams. HBO Max's team broke the simple feature of rewind/forward w/ their non-native app! I mean come on... Why re-invent the wheel? 

    #3 - I can't think of any features they can provide that add value. All we need: efficient way to browse, rock-solid reliable way to view, and history logging. That's it. 

    Currently in HBO Max on tvOS, I can't even auto-advance to the next episode after finishing an episode -- I have to either 1) let credits complete and it will go to next, or 2) navigate back in the app, and back to the episodes, and then select the next episode. This is nuts -- an auto-advance popup is years-old functionality in TV app, Netflix, and Prime.

    There is nothing HBO's dev team can do that is better than what the TV app and native player already does. This has been proven numerous times. They make things worse, not better.

    #4 - I don't follow you here. Huh?
    edited August 16
Sign In or Register to comment.