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AT&T will roll back HBO Max video player on Apple TV

An executive with AT&T’s WarnerMedia said on Tuesday the company will roll back to a prior version of its HBO Max app on the Apple TV platform.

The affirmation came after a large outcry from subscribers who use Apple TV to watch HBO Max, who said a new version of the app broke various features and made the service largely unusable on Apple TV devices.

The issue largely stemmed around WarnerMedia’s decision to offer a new video player that resembled one offered on other platforms that support HBO Max. Previously, WarnerMedia utilized a video player that was native to the Apple TV platform in order to stream HBO Max’s movies and TV shows to subscribers who fork over $15 a month for access to the app.

The new video player broke several features that were previously accessible to HBO Max subscribers on Apple TV, including a new scrubbing feature that allowed users to quickly fast forward and rewind through video streams using the new wheel-based Siri-enabled Apple TV remote.

But that was not the only problem users reported: Some subscribers complain that the HBO Max app offers no way for streamers to fast-forward, rewind or even pause video at all, whether they use the Siri remote or playback controls through other Apple devices.

Those issues do not seem to affect the HBO Max app for other Apple devices, including iPhones and iPads. WarnerMedia has offered its own video player on those devices as well, though user interactions are done largely through touch commands and not via a remote control.

Responding to social media complaints on Tuesday, Andy Forssell, the executive vice president of AT&T’s WarnerMedia division, promised the older video player would return to Apple TV devices in the near future.

“Native player is on its way back, in short order,” Forssell tweeted to a Texas-based radio DJ. “No excuses from us. Good intentions, bad execution. We’ll learn from it.”

Some Apple TV users reported that the older video player was once again available in an updated version of the HBO Max app that started rolling out to users late Tuesday evening.

Forssell said the company would look into why users were having problems with the HBO Max app on Apple TV and how the buggy update was distributed to users without engineers at the company being aware of its potential problems.

First priority is to deliver for users in addressing the issues, but in parallel we will also dive deep into that question,” he said.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).