HBO Max 'missed the mark' with update, restores native tvOS player

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 9
The HBO Max app on Apple TV 4K has been updated to revert to using Apple's tvOS API, accompanied with an apology to users.

HBO Max


When HBO Max replaced Apple's tvOS API with its own video playback system, users reported bugs, and Screentime described it as "horrifically bad." Now the company has reverted to using Apple's system, and also issued an apology.

We just released an update to our Apple TV app, restoring the native tvOS video playback experience you know and love, with more improvements to come. Ensuring HBO Max viewers have a quality experience is our top priority and we missed the mark here. Thank you for your patience.

-- HBOMaxHelp (@HBOMaxHelp)


HBO Max is not the only Apple TV app to use its own playback system instead of entirely relying on Apple's. Disney+ has also developed a system, and while more successful than HBO Max, it is why the app can't yet support the scrolling of the new Siri Remote.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 342member
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    magman1979Beatskillroydysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 28
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,191administrator
    jimh2 said:
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.
    williamlondonsdw2001pscooter63jahblademagman1979DogpersonBeatskillroychasmdysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 28
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,195member
    jimh2 said:
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.
    Right on time with the release of their add supported tier. Guess they wanted to be able to track what folks watch so they could send them the most appropriate ads on the cheaper service tier?

    supadav03magman1979killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 28
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,583member
    jimh2 said:
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.

    Yes, and going a step further, it seems to lend credence to the theory that this was simply a....well.....royal f*** up on their part.  Kudos to them for realizing it, taking responsibility, then at least temporarily fixing it.  
    supadav03jahbladeBeatskillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 28
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,140member
    jimh2 said:
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.
    And combine that with a general lack of understanding or appreciation by management of how difficult it is to design a good interface. A well designed interface seems obvious by its simplicity. But it’s only obvious because it was designed well. Apple has decades of experience in this. HBO does not.

    digitolwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,388member
    jimh2 said:
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.
    I’m sure this is why they want an custom app vs a general channel, but any idea how replacing the video play UX assist in this goal once within the app? 
    magman1979killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 28
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,399member
    Does HBO max have an app client for macOS? Disney+ doesn’t. Perhaps this is another reason for using their own app for tvOS, consistency of experience. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 28
    bakerzdosenbakerzdosen Posts: 111member
    I used the "new" one last night for the first time. If I hadn't read that it was REALLY messed up before using it, I would have been troubleshooting it a LOT. It seemed fine for basic play/pause sort of stuff, but if you did ANYTHING else (ffwd, rewind especially) it was utterly unusable. I would have assumed the issue was mine because there's no way a developer would have released something that bad (as an update for a product that generally worked well) to the public. But here we are...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 28
    jcs2305 said:
    jimh2 said:
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.
    Right on time with the release of their add supported tier. Guess they wanted to be able to track what folks watch so they could send them the most appropriate ads on the cheaper service tier?
    You’d have to take a pretty deep dive into the documentation for developers to confirm this (assuming it’s documented), but I’ll bet it’s more that they wanted to track how the ads affect viewership, like when viewers stop watching altogether during an ad. So they can learn to place the ads more effectively, without losing viewers. That might mean doing things like reducing the number and frequency of ads in early episodes, when you’re trying to engage the viewer, and increasing it later on, when they’re invested in the story/outcome. No doubt there’s a sophisticated science for that.

    If Apple’s viewer doesn’t handle ads in a way that produces the type of data needed for that science, then that would certainly explain HBO wanting to design their own viewer. 
    9secondkox2watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 28
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 969member
    Scrubbing a video back or forward brought you all the way back to beginning or end of the movie. It just wouldn't stop scrolling on its own. Was watching The Conjuring while this happened, so added to the creepiness.

    LEAVE. APPLE'S API. ALOOOOOOOOONE!!!! 😭 
    9secondkox2Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 28
    iadlibiadlib Posts: 72member
    Apple should mandate that video on demand apps like these only use their player to ensure consistent user experience and operational performance across the ecosystem. I’m sick and tired of third party companies screwing up my experience in an effort to “spy” on me. I pay a subscription. I bought the Apple device. Let me bing watch star trek in peace and quiet. Asshats
    9secondkox2Dogpersonhcrefugeetyler82Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 28
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,832member
    Sling TV is in there, too. Scrubbing with the new ATV4K controller is a horrible experience.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 28
    jcs2305 said:
    jimh2 said:
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.
    Right on time with the release of their add supported tier. Guess they wanted to be able to track what folks watch so they could send them the most appropriate ads on the cheaper service tier?

    I think it was because of the ad supported tier, but the reason was because the Apple built in player doesn't block ad skipping. Most (but not all!) of the custom players on Apple TV are for services with ads.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 28
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 832member
    I lead a small team. We ALWAYS use native tools for our major platforms. 

    And it is always the best experience for the end user as it not only works great, but plays nice with the platform that the end user is familiar with. Don’t make people have to relearn you thing just because you think you’re cool. Lol

    people who consume content on a device want a seem less experience. 

    And companies large as Disney and hbo can’t afford to take a little time and get it right per platform? 

    More than likely though, a hotshot with influence conned their way to push this. Glad that wiser folks prevailed. Lesson to learn there. 


    williamlondonhcrefugeetyler82watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 28
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,822member
    jcs2305 said:
    jimh2 said:
    Why do companies think they can out do a provided API? The developers must be generating billable hours. 
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.
    Right on time with the release of their add supported tier. Guess they wanted to be able to track what folks watch so they could send them the most appropriate ads on the cheaper service tier?

    I think it was because of the ad supported tier, but the reason was because the Apple built in player doesn't block ad skipping. 
    That was my first guess. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 28
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,423member
    iadlib said:
    Apple should mandate that video on demand apps like these only use their player to ensure consistent user experience and operational performance across the ecosystem. I’m sick and tired of third party companies screwing up my experience in an effort to “spy” on me. I pay a subscription. I bought the Apple device. Let me bing watch star trek in peace and quiet. Asshats

    I suggested this and people cried “anti-competitive” and other crap.

    I think Apple should give services incentives to support their APIs and the Apple TV App which has hold-outs. 
  • Reply 17 of 28
    glennhglennh Posts: 43member
    In the interested ensuring compliance with Apple’s various operating systems’ Accessibility Features and Functions, Apple should kick out any App in their store that does not use or comply with Apple’s API’s which have Accessibility Features and Functions built into them.

    It’s been over three decades since ADA (American with Disabilities Acts) became the law in the U.S.A. Apple has been one of the best companies in the world when it has comes to building in ADA access to its products. This built in access has not only benefited those in the U.S.A., but the entire planet because not every country on the planet has laws or mandates similar to ADA.

    After this HBO debacle, Apple should forced every App in Apple’s various stores to use Apple’s API’s to avoid the bad user experience on an Apple device that HBO got into ordered to snoop, avoid user privacy controls or out of just plain greed!
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 28
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,402member
    Until enough people walk away with their dollars they won’t change.  We may moan and complain but we still pay the monthly bill and that is all they care about. 

    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 28
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,371member
    In the case of HBO, it looks like they wanted data about user behavior that the Apple player does not provide.
    Ding ding ding! Correct!

    This is also (almost) certainly why Disney+ made their own playback engine, and why anyone else who makes their own playback engine for Apple TV will do so in the future. Your data is so much more valuable that you know -- it's like if you could poop Bitcoins!
    Beatswilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 28
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 608member
    Does HBO max have an app client for macOS? Disney+ doesn’t. Perhaps this is another reason for using their own app for tvOS, consistency of experience. 
    No.

    "Perhaps this is another reason for using their own app for tvOS, consistency of a shitty experience."

    Fixed that for you.
    watto_cobra
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