Despite, AT&T (owner of WarnerMedia and HBO Max) with Roku bringing the HBO Max app to millions of Roku devices. Fortunately, there are a few workarounds that allow Roku owners to watch HBO Max anyway. They’re not quite as useful as a dedicated HBO Max app – something that’s available on tons of other devices from to to , game consoles and and Apple phones and tablets – but they’re better than nothing.
The easiest is to use AirPlay, which requires a. You can also use Roku’s built-in screen mirroring, which works with most Android phones and Windows PCs. Here’s how.
Stream HBO Max via AirPlay on Roku
According to Roku’s support page, the following devices are required for AirPlay:
If you don’t have an Apple device and / or a compatible Roku, you can try Roku’s screen mirroring feature (see below).
To use AirPlay with Roku, the first step is to make sure that your Roku is updated to the latest software and that your Apple device is on the same Wi-Fi network as your Roku.
After that, it’s pretty easy.
1. Open the HBO Max app on your device.
2. Open Control Center on iOS, which can be done by swiping up on older iPhones or iPod Touches with a physical home button or swiping down from the right corner on newer iPhones (iPhone X or later) and on iPads.
3. Tap on Screen Mirroring and select your Roku. You should see your iPhone mirrored on the Roku.
4. In the HBO Max app, tap what you want to watch and it should play.
For a Mac you may have to go to System preferences, than Displays to get the AirPlay option.
In my experience, there have been times when the stream gets buggy so it’s not a perfect solution. But it often works fine even on my older TCL Roku TV.
A few things to note: WarnerMedia tells CNET that AirPlay streaming from the HBO Max app should work even when watching 4K HDR content –. While notifications won’t show up because it’s mirroring from your phone, HBO Max will stop playing if you quit the app to do anything else. A phone call will also disrupt the stream, so make sure do not disturb is turned on.
While my CNET colleague David Katzmaier was able to stream HBO Max from his Mac to a Roku Ultra via AirPlay and a Chrome browser, I had problems using another Mac to stream via Safari. While the Mac appeared on the Roku, including the browser window with HBO Max in it, I couldn’t get a photo on HBO Max.
In a statement, a WarnerMedia spokesperson told CNET, “We don’t support AirPlay from MacBooks, but have no comment or reasoning to share today.”
Stream from an Android device
If you have an Android phone, you can cast from this phone using screen mirroring. This feature has been available on Rokus for years and has been found on most Android phones for a while (except for Google Pixels, which don’t support it), bringing your phone’s screen to the TV. Roku says most of its TVs and streamers support the feature.
However, enabling this feature is a bit complicated as different phone manufacturers have given it different names. Samsung calls it Smart View on its latest Galaxy phones, for example, and can often be accessed by pulling down the notification shade.
Other names for the position include:
- Smart display
- Connect quickly
- Smart sharing
- AllShare Cast
- Wireless display
- Mirror view
- HTC Connect
- Screen casting
Once you’ve found the name, it’s pretty easy to set up. To get it to work on a Galaxy S20 Ultra, I had to make sure my device was on the same Wi-Fi network as the Roku, opened Smart View from the notification screen, and tapped my Roku TV from the list of devices. I then saw a prompt on my Roku, clicked Allow and I was good to go.
If you don’t see the Roku in the screen mirroring list and you are on the same Wi-Fi network, make sure screen mirroring is turned on. You can check this by going to Settings, System and then Screen Mirroring. Make sure “Screen mirroring mode” is set to “prompt” (the default) or always.
Read more: Three easy steps to cast or mirror the screen of your Android phone on a TV
Note: Like with AirPlay, this is not the same as Chromecasting sending something to your TV. Mirroring reveals everything on your phone, which means that notifications and texts can appear and a call can disrupt the stream. This was the case when I tested it with a TCL 10 5G UW (which has screen mirroring under the name “cast” in the notification shade).
Make sure do not disturb is turned on and be prepared not to look at your phone while watching.
Watch with a Windows PC
You can also use Windows to mirror to your Roku. To open this on a PC, open the action center, the little chat bubble icon at the bottom right. From there, tap on Connect, which should display the available screens. Choose your Roku and your Windows PC should now be visible on your Roku.
Another option is to tap the Windows button and search for “project to a wireless display” in the bottom left search. From there, just open HBO Max in a browser and you should be good to go.
I couldn’t test this method myself, but Katzmaier made it work on both a Roku Ultra and Roku TV. He reported some breakup and stuttering at times, as well as a slightly softer image, but the video was still generally viewable.
Until HBO Max and Roku bury the hatchet, one of the above methods should allow you to look at your Roku. And if AirPlay and screen mirroring seem too annoying, it might be time for a new streamer with an HBO Max app, something like the excellent.