HBO Max Not Working for You? Here’s How to Fix It

Some HBO Max users are reporting that no matter what they try, they are no longer able to stream content from HBO Max. This issue is reported to occur with PC, macOS, iOS, Android, and Smart TV operating systems.

HBO Max Not Working

After investigating the issue and attempting to replicate the issue on our devices, here’s a list of potential culprits that might be responsible for this issue when attempting to use HBO Max:

  • Ongoing server issue – As it turns out, persisting server issues affecting the video playback on HBO Max are more common than paying members might want. If you’re experiencing problems with HBO Max in the middle of a server issue, there’s nothing you can do other than confirming the issue and waiting for the developers to fix the issue.
  • Smart TV Glitch – According to a lot of affected users, there’s a weird glitch affecting Android and Apple smart TVs that are trying to stream content from the native HBO Max app. Fortunately, you should be able to bypass this issue by casting the HBO Max content from a mobile Android or iOS device using Chromecast or AirPlay.
  • VideoPlaybackQuality is disabled in Brave – If you’re experiencing this issue while attempting to stream HBO Max content from your Brave browser, it’s very likely due to the way the browser is designed to handle adaptive video playback quality. In this case, you can resolve the problem by modifying the shortcut you use to launch the browser so that VideoPlaybackQuality is enabled by default.
  • Browser is not equipped with flash sub-protocol – As it turns out, Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Internet Explorer are two browsers experiencing lots of issues when having to stream content from HBO Max. There is no fix in this case other than migrating to a 3rd party browser that doesn’t have these kinds of issues.

Now that you are aware of every potential reason that might make HBO Max unusable, here’s a list of troubleshooting guides and fixes that other affected users have successfully used to restore playback on HBO Max:

Check for a Server Issue

It’s been more than a year now since HBO Max originally launched and platform users are losing their patients seeing how the stability of the streaming platform doesn’t improve with each iteration.

If you’re currently experiencing streaming issues with HBO Max and you’ve already tried different devices, chances are WarnerMedia is currently dealing with another widespread issue fueled by a technical problem.

This has happened a few dozen times since the platform has launched and it usually takes from a few hours to a couple of days to get resolved.

To make sure that the problem is indeed caused by a server issue and not something that you can fix locally, you can use services like Down Detector or Is It Down Right Now to see if other HBO Max users in your area are currently reporting the same kind of issues.

Check the status of HBO Max

If both websites are currently reporting a possible server issue with HBO Max, you should also take the time to check the official Twitter account of HBO Max and see if there’s an official announcement of a possible server issue.

If the investigation above has not revealed any evidence of a server issue with HBO Max, move down to the next fix below for some steps on bypassing the issue locally.

Cast HBO Max from an Android or iOS device (if applicable)

In case you are only experiencing this issue while you attempt to stream content natively from an Android TV or Apple TV, chances are you’re dealing with a glitch that breaks the streaming platform on TV platforms – This issue has been coming around since the platform inception.

If you are unlucky enough to experience this problem, the only viable workaround is to bypass the TV application and stream the content from a different device.

Several users that we’re also dealing with this problem have managed to bypass the streaming issue with HBO Max by using an iOS or Android device to cast the HBO Max content to your smart TV.

UPDATE: Since 2020, the vast majority of paid streaming services including HBO Max have severely restricted the ability to directly cast copyrighted material to a TV. As of now, the only way to cast HBO Max is to use a Chromecast dongle or Airplay to successfully beam the content to your Smart TV (unless you have a smart TV with native casting capabilities).

Depending on your preferred casting device, follow one of the sub-guides below to cast HBO Max content from your Android or iOS device via Chromecast or AirPlay.

Cast HBO Max via Chromecast

  1. First things first, ensure that both your Chromecast device and your Android device are connected to the same Wi-Fi Network.
  2. Next, follow the documentation to configure your Chromecast device on your home network via the Google Home app.
  3. Once Chromecast is successfully configured, open the HBO Max app on your phone and switch your TV to the input channel that the Chromecast is on.
  4. On the HBO Max app, select a show or movie that you want to cast on your Smart TV.
  5. Next, tap the cast button at the top of the screen (bottom-right corner), then select the Chromecast device from the list of available options.
    Casting the HBO Max content from ChromeCast

Cast HBO Max via Airplay

  1. First things first, make sure that AirPlay is enabled on your device and you’re using an AirpPlay 2-compatible device.
  2. Go ahead and open HBO Max on your iOS device and start playing a TV show or movie.
  3. Next, tap the AirPlay button in the upper right section of the screen.
  4. Choose the device that you want to AirPlay to and wait until the connection is established with your Smart TV.
    Airplay content to Smart TV

Enable HBO Max Video playback in Brave browser (if applicable)

If you’re using Brave and this is the only browser that refuses to allow you to stream content from HBO Max, you’re probably dealing with an unresolved video playback issue that’s specific to this browser.

According to some affected users, this issue occurs due to the way the browser is designed to handle adaptive video playback quality (the method is different than any other browser which might end up causing issues with HBO Max).

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix that will allow you to fix this HBO Max problem with Brave and allow video playback to take place without issues – It involves creating a dedicated shortcut and modifying the Target field so that VideoPlaybackQuality is enabled by default.

Follow the instructions below for step by step instructions on fixing the HBO Max playback issues inside the Brave browser:

  1. Right-click on your Brave browser shortcut and choose to Create Shortcut from the context menu.
    Creating an additional shortcut for Brave

    Note: It’s important to create a different shortcut than the one you’re actively using because the modifications will affect other components of Brave. You can name this second shortcut Brave HBO Max Shortcut so you remember that is specifically for HBO Max usage.

  2. Right-click on the newly created shortcut and choose Properties from the context menu that just appeared.
    Accessing the Properties screen of Brave’s shortcut
  3. Once you’re inside the Properties screen, access the Shortcut tab and add the following line of code at the end of the Target field:
    --enable-features=VideoPlaybackQuality

    Note: In my example, the final target field was: “C:\Program Files\BraveSoftware\Brave-Browser\Application\brave.exe” –enable-features=VideoPlaybackQuality

  4. Click Apply, then accept the permission modifications when prompted by the UAC prompt.
  5. Now launch Brave via the shortcut that you’ve just created and see if the HBO Max streaming issue has been resolved.

If this problem is still not resolved, move down to the next potential fix below.

Use a different browser (if applicable)

If you’re using Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer when attempting to stream content from HBO Max, there’s a big chance you’ll have to migrate to a 3rd party browser before you’ll get it to work.

As it turns out, HBO Max uses a new Flash sub-protocol that Microsoft is actively blocking with both Edge and Internet Explorer.

At the time of writing this article, the issue is not fixed, so your only choice really is to migrate to a different 3rd party browser that is equipped to support HBO Max Playback.

Here are a few viable browser alternatives:

Kamil Anwar
Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.

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