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HBO Max lands on Cox boxes

HBO Max, WarnerMedia's new supersized premium streaming service, will gather up a bit more exposure now that its app has been integrated with certain IP-capable video devices from Cox Communications.

The HBO Max app is now available on Cox's Contour 2 set-tops as well as the Contour Stream Player. Both devices hook into Cox's X1 syndication deal with Comcast. Contour 2 boxes are akin to Comcast's X1 pay-TV set-tops and client devices, and the Contour Stream Player is a product that closely mirrors Comcast's Flex device/platform targeted to broadband-only customers.

A mirror image to Comcast's Flex product, Cox's Contour Stream Player uses the same 4K/HDR-capable wireless IP client hardware (the Comcast Xi6 box) and voice remote. While Comcast offers Flex for no added cost to broadband-only subs, Cox currently charges an additional $5/month for the Contour Stream Player.  
(Image source: Cox Communications)
A mirror image to Comcast's Flex product, Cox's Contour Stream Player uses the same 4K/HDR-capable wireless IP client hardware (the Comcast Xi6 box) and voice remote. While Comcast offers Flex for no added cost to broadband-only subs, Cox currently charges an additional $5/month for the Contour Stream Player.
(Image source: Cox Communications)

The launch on Cox devices comes ahead of the March 18 release of Zack Snyder's Justice League. WarnerMedia will release its full 2021 movie slate simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters.

In addition to accessing HBO Max content via search results (including results generated from voice remotes), Cox customers with supported devices will also be able to subscribe to HBO Max directly with their remote control.

The app integration will give HBO Max further exposure to Cox's pay-TV and broadband customer base and will likely lead to more activations of the new supersized subscription VoD service. The tie-in will also build on WarnerMedia's plan to convert existing HBO customers to the new HBO Max service.

HBO Max and HBO ended 2020 with about 41.5 million combined subs (a gain of 7 million subs for the year). HBO Max ended 2020 with 17.2 million activations. By comparison, Disney+ just crossed 100 million subscribers worldwide.

HBO Max, which currently costs $14.99 per month, will add a less expensive, ad-supported version of the service later this year.

HBO Max's early gains have largely been fueled by HBO subscriber conversions among WarnerMedia's pay-TV service partners. However, WarnerMedia appears eager to start ramping up HBO Max as a standalone, premium streaming service.

The key to HBO Max's success around the globe will center on the direct-to-consumer (DTC) model, Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia's CEO, said last week at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. "By any measure, we have to start with that," he said.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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