Some Comcast boxes incompatible with HBO Max, CBS apps

Comcast is offering some of its X1 and Flex platform users the opportunity to upgrade to a newer box in order to access the HBO Max and CBS All Access streaming TV apps.

Both services were announced earlier this month for Comcast’s pay TV and Internet-only customers who use the X1 platform, which is found in X1 and Flex boxes made by different manufacturers.

Comcast has offered different variants of X1 and Flex boxes for years, and some customers with older boxes aren’t able to access HBO Max and CBS All Access streaming TV apps.

Devices that are incompatible with CBS All Access include:

  • Xi5 (wireless Flex box)
  • Pace/CommScope Xi3 X1 box
  • Samsung XG2V2 X1 box
  • Arris/Pace/CommScope XG1V1 X1 DVR box
  • RNG150 cable box with limited X1 functions

Devices that are incompatible with HBO Max include:

  • RNG150 cable box with limited X1 functions

It wasn’t clear why more boxes lack support for CBS All Access compared to the single box that isn’t compatible with HBO Max, but the older boxes have also caused issues for Comcast customers who have tried accessing other apps, including Comcast’s own Peacock streaming service.

Customers with older boxes who are trying to access incompatible streaming apps are being offered the option to upgrade to a newer X1 or Flex device at no cost to them. Comcast is reportedly displaying a message to affected users when they try to launch incompatible apps with information on how to upgrade to a newer device.

Comcast’s X1 platform is closed-source and requires developers to create a version of their app that is separate from similar apps designed for other streaming hardware, including those offered by Apple, Roku and Google’s Android (which also powers Amazon’s line of Fire TV devices).

According to the website Light Reading, Comcast tests each streaming app against its different X1 and Flex boxes for compatibility, but some older hardware requires additional app development and support. That development has been somewhat complicated by the ongoing coronavirus health pandemic, which has caused some development delays.