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Snippet: Max is Worse Than HBO Max ☇

Shared on May 24, 2023

John Gruber:

I told you these Warner “Bros” Discovery executives are morons. On all the good platforms, you have to install an altogether new app. Why not just update the existing HBO Max app with (yet another) a new name and icon? Because they’re morons. (Even better: when I launch the old HBO Max app on my Apple TV, it doesn’t tell me anything about the new app — it just shows an error screen saying “Something went wrong.”)

This much moronity I expected. But it gets worse. As Judge documents, with the new app they’ve once again dropped tvOS’s excellent native video player for a custom video player that utterly sucks: “up next” support in the TV app is now broken or missing, HDR and frame-rate match are gone, the new video player doesn’t support the Siri remote’s jog support, no picture-in-picture, and no support for the wonderful “What did they just say?” feature (speak that to your Siri remote and the video jumps back 10 seconds or so and temporarily enables subtitles).

I get the WarnerMedia merger with Discovery made some sense—complementary content to build a massive library (although much different audiences) and well-known brands, plus it allowed AT&T to mostly get out of its failed media experiment. On the other hand, my knee-jerk reaction was the same as Gruber’s—they could’ve simply changed the app icon and things would’ve been fine. Instead, there’s a new app that is much worse and the whole migration process just seems really stupid. It’s also broken branded remotes.

It still irks me that they strayed away from the HBO brand because they were afraid that it would turn off new subscribers. Then again, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav came from the world of stupid reality shows and basically pushing networks like Discovery, TLC, Food Network, and others away from their original format in favor of disposable nonsense. That doesn’t seem to mesh well with a brand that invented prestige television.

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