For Roku users that have not been paying close attention to the ins and outs of the streaming world they may have been surprised to see that HBO Go does not work on their Roku’s anymore. This happed on August 1. The move coincided with HBO changing the branding on HBO Now and renaming it HBO. Unfortunately for HBO customers who have a subscription to HBO via their TV provider they will no long be able to access a dedicated Roku app for TV subscribers. But that does not mean that they can no longer access HBO On their Roku. This pileup in the streaming world is annoying for customers. But we don’t recommend running out and buying a new device at the moment because you might find as soon as you do, that the whole problem between Roku and HBO gets worked out. So before you throw your hands in the air and give up take a look around at what you have on hand.
Here is a list of ways to access HBO on a Roku
Cable Company Apps
Look into the cable apps Roku offers. There are tons of small cable providers across the country that do not have Roku apps. But for xfinity and Spectrum customers the fix might be very easy. Both services offer Roku apps that give customers access to their main interface of cable channels as well as on-demand content. If you are a customer with either service and have never looked into these apps take a look and see if they will solve your HBO problem. See our video on the Spectrum app here.
Sign up for HBO Through The Roku Channel
Roku users can actually sign up for HBO and get it through Roku via The Roku Channel. This might take some getting used to but it will not require more equipment or much support to get started. Users can do so by opening up The Roku Channel and toggling to the premium row. In fact you can even subscribe to HBO and Cinemax for $20.00 if you choose. But be careful. If you choose to do this you will have to cancel HBO on your cable provider or you will end up being charged for two different subscriptions. Once you sign up for HBO via Roku you can watch it via the live channels option in The Roku Channel.
Get HBO Max Via PlayOn
PlayOn is a channel on the Roku that requires users to download a program to a Windows computer and sign up for a subscription to its service which includes the ability to record shows and movies from streaming providers. The company typically offers lifetime subscriptions to its service for a little as $40.00 or less. With PlayOn you can get access to HBO Max, which is where HBO will be funneling all HBO TV cable subscribers in order to watch on-demand content. Eventually you should expect to see HBO Max on your Roku as an official channel. The two companies just have to learn to play nice. See instructions here.
Sign Up For the HBO App
If you prefer to change the channel to HBO and watch what ever happens to be on at the time on a schedule then you are obviously already watching it on TV when it comes on. But if you primarily watch HBO via HBO Now so you can do so at your convenience then sign up for the HBO channel on Roku. As stated earlier the HBO channel replaces HBO Max on the platform and gives you all of HBO’s content on-demand. This is a monthly service and will charge you $14.99 per month. But it provides the same style of interface you are used to with HBO Go. Again like signing up for HBO via The Roku Channel this would be a separate subscription not a free program like HBO Go. So if you go this rout cancel you Subscription through the cable service first.
Mirror from a computer or phone
People in your favorite Facebook group might talk about it all the time but probably the most tricky way to use a Roku and and watch HBO content would be to mirror the content from a windows computer or Android phone or tablet. Roku has a built in mirroring function but it can be tricky to use. It would require the user to first connect the device to their Roku via which ever screen sharing app is built in to their Android app, and its called something different on seemingly every brand of phone and tablet, or use a windows computer to share the screen. If that all sounds mind numbingly confusing don’t worry about it because even those of us who do this full time have struggled with in from time to time. If you want to give it a shot this is a good guide to set this up on a Windows computer.
Ways Not Involving A Roku
Your Cable Box
Yes. To many of you this one may seem obvious. But sometimes we just get used to doing things one way all the time. So you might not have noticed that your cable companies offers on-demand content for all of their channels through their actual cable boxes. Many times there is even a button on the remote for on-demand somewhere in that mess of options. We don’t know what the options look like on every companies box but we highly encourage you to take a look at what your cable company offers by exploring those options. Maybe even your providers customer support will be able to walk you through it. If you pay for cable you may as well take advantage of what it has to offer.
Hooking a computer to your TV
If you are willing or able to watch without a Roku there is another option. While it may seem odd in this day and age, you can hook a computer to your TV provided that you have an HDMI cord and go to the HBOGO.com website or even the HBO Max website to sign in and watch what you want. For people who use a mini PC it might seem very much the same. If you have a laptop turn it around as not to have two screen with the same thing on. This is how a lot of us streamed in the early 2000s. This is part of the reason some people use HTPC’s. Mac mini users may find that they make a snazzy streaming box replacement. They are small, use no screen and sort of fit right in on a TV table.
Use Another Smart Device
You may already have another device with a way to stream HBO Max and have just never thought of it. For instance you may have a smart TV that supports the HBO Max App. 2016 Samsung TV models or newer have an HBO Max App built in. You may well have a streaming device that you tried out and put aside in favor of Roku that you forgot all about. For instance any Apple TV device from the past 3 years has an HBO Max App. Amazon Fire TV devices and Amazon Fire OS powered TV’s can be side loaded to run HBO Max see how here. Your TV may even have the Android TV system built in. Sony TV’s for instance are built for Android TV. Finally a number of major TV brands support Chrome cast technology. If you have an Android phone or tablet you could just open the app on the device and push it to the TV. TV’s that support this include some Vizio TV’s. Unfortunately if you decided to keep it simple and get a TV with Roku built in as the operating system you will probably not have this option.
If you have an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 in the home you can use the HBO Max apps on both devices.