Note: This is an exercise I assign to students in my Digital Media Literacy course at Arizona State University. I ask them to keep a record of how they use media in a 24-hour stretch.
So an AT&T subsidiary that owns HBO is laying off “hundreds” of people there, and will focus on the new HBO Max streaming service. I want to send them money to use that service. But due to a gratuitously stupid decision someone made there recently, I just canceled my one-month-old HBO Max account.
They could not care less.
I use Ubuntu Linux on my laptop computer. I can use every other major streaming service with no problem, running in a Firefox browser.
I got a trial account for HBO Max a month ago, and all was well until three days ago, when films and shows just stopped streaming. The error message said “Can’t play title. We’re having trouble playing this video. Please try again later.” A quick check of online message boards showed that this is a universal new policy affecting most or all Linux distributions.
This happened on all browsers I tried. But streaming did work when I used an app on my phone, which has a screen far too small for watching movies in any serious way.
Here’s what “customer support” told me in an email: “We do not support usage under this operating system.”
Remember, however, they did support it. It worked fine until someone made a decision to make it fail.
This is all some kind of corporate copyright control-freakery at work, no doubt. DRM is involved, and HBO/AT&T have made a choice. I’ve made mine.
Looks like I’ll never watch “Game of Thrones” after all…