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Over The High or OTT platforms have modified the principles of video consumption world wide. By 2027, round 4 billion customers will entry OTT platforms reminiscent of HBO Max, YouTube, Netflix, Disney and extra, producing billions of {dollars} in promoting income and unleashing a brand new period in video content material and consumption.

With over 200 million OTT customers and subscribers worldwide (2021), this can be a $150 billion trade. One of many largest and quickest rising sections of the Web and leisure financial system.

For this reason, slowly and steadily, conventional TV channels and TV-based media homes are transitioning to OTT, and that features HBO.

On this weblog, we are going to attempt to perceive and dissect the world-class scalability and highly effective efficiency of the HBO Max app and share attention-grabbing details about its legacy.

The legacy of HBO Max

The 49-year-old HBO, which is the oldest and oldest repeatedly working subscription tv service in the USA, launched its first Web-based video-on-demand service known as HBO on Broadband in 2008.

Later in 2010, HBO Go was launched, which was a greater and improved model of HBO on broadband and offered video on demand to its paying prospects through web site, cell app, TV and different gadgets.

After which their new OTT platform known as HBO Now launched in 2014-15, with the brand new characteristic of being an impartial platform. Beforehand, each HBO on Broadband and HBO Go have been obtainable solely to your tv subscribers. So, for the primary time, HBO acknowledged that the period of digital video content material on demand is lastly right here.

They checked out developments and person habits and studied the numbers, after which based mostly on their findings, they launched HBO Max in 2020, and this has modified every thing for them.

With a person base of roughly 90 million customers, HBO Max (together with HBO subscription) is the sixth largest OTT platform on the earth and is rising at a tremendous price (over 25,000 downloads, each 24 hours! ). With 50 million paid subscribers within the US (Oct 2022), HBO Max is simply 18-20 million behind Netflix and Prime.

HBO Max has over 10,000 hours of content material and is offered in 50 nations and on browsers, Android (TV), iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Samsung TV.

It continues to be among the many high 10 most downloaded apps within the US and the one OTT or video streaming app on that record.

Understanding the HBO Max Tech Stack

HBO has invested and researched so much to make the backend stronger and user-friendly and seamless UI to make sure the best engagement and most subscribers.

We’ll break down the know-how stack and perceive the backend of the HBO Max app:

major body

The framework applied by HBO Max is created by BAMTech, which was beforehand acquired by Disney. Due to this fact, each HBO Max and Disney use the identical framework to ship video content material to their customers.

Curiously, this identical BAMTech platform is utilized by WWE and the Nationwide Hockey League to ship reside streaming content material to greater than 8 million customers worldwide.

Inside person interface

In keeping with Ottball, HBO Max makes use of loads of inside software program and techniques, developed by his group. And this additionally features a proprietary cheat system and an inside video participant.

HBO Max additionally used in-house, industrial, multi-DRM video analytics options.

transmission protocols

As with many of the massive OTT platforms, HBO Max makes use of MPEG-DASH and HLS with DRM for streaming.

To attain multi-key safety, MPEG-DASH splits its video qualities into a couple of AdaptationSet, whereas audio is delivered in numerous codecs through TTML.

A broadcast lists the next adaptation units for video:

416×234 with avc1.4D400D

640×360 with avc1.4D401E

768×432 with avc1.4D401E

960×540 with avc1.4D401F


1280×720 with avc1.4D401F

1280×720 with avc1.4D401F

1920×1080 with avc1.640028

1920×1080 with avc1.640028

For audio, the next AdaptationSets are used:

AdaptationSet 1 ac-3 with bandwidth 387000 (Encompass)

AdaptationSet 2 ec-3 with bandwidth 259000 (Encompass)

AdaptationSet 3 mp4a.40.2 with bandwidth 133000 (Stereo)

Curiously, HBO Max used HLS v4 and v5 with 6 second chunks for video and audio profiles, that are similar to MPEG-DASH.

On the identical time, the subtitles are delivered through WebVTT, which ensures that each Android and iPhone customers can seamlessly entry the subtitles.

CMS utilized by HBO

HBO Max makes use of a CMS known as Comet, which works as their public CMS.

As seen in your utility, a payload is shared with material and a JSON response is obtained.

content material supply community

In keeping with some consultants, HBO Max makes use of not less than two CDNs: Stage 3 and Akamai.

Stage 3 has been in use with HBO since 2011.

video analytics

HBO Max is utilizing Conviva v2.151.0.36981 for Video Analytics.

If we have a look at the code for this app, then the consumer pings, to point the modifications.


HBO Max makes use of Unified Streaming Platform v1.9.5, which produces HLS manifests. With their newest app replace in 2021, they’re now utilizing a complicated model, as a result of Unified Streaming Platform v1.9.5 has been in use since 2018.


HBO Max (pre-2021 model), used Widevine, PlayReady, and PlayReady (with a number of keys). As of now (after 2021), HBO Max has been utilizing its personal inside DRM.

Video participant

For earlier variations, HBO Max used the ever-reliable Shaka Participant for internet browsers, Exoplayer for Android, and AV Participant for iOS.

Be aware right here that HBO has been utilizing Google’s open supply participant for a very long time for Android customers.

HBO Max’s scalability is the sport changer

If we give attention to the technical points of constructing such a robust OTT utility, scalability is vital. The flexibility to deal with such a large variety of concurrent customers, with out disrupting their general expertise and habits, is the recipe for achievement.

And main video streaming apps and OTT platforms like HBO and Amazon Prime implement some scalability methods, which make streaming clean and high-quality, to a big viewers, with none main hiccups.

One such technique is video transcoding, through which the video format is transformed to a different format in order that:

  • All customers, throughout all gadgets and places, get a constant and gratifying expertise
  • Buffering is decreased, which interprets into an ideal show
  • Latency is low, making certain high-quality streaming
  • Here’s a three-step course of for video transcoding:

    Validation: Throughout the strategy of changing video codecs, some components could change or be altered, reminiscent of frames, colours, and so forth. With the validation course of, the system makes certain that the transcoding course of is ideal.

    parallel coding: Usually, movies as of late are a number of terabytes in measurement and quantity, and it does not make sense to course of such a lot of information. For this reason the video is first break up into smaller chunks after which encoded in parallel. A number of servers are required to make sure this parallel processing and encoding of the chunks. After validations, these fragments are merged again collectively.

    encoding profile: That is the key to scalability, as applied by video transcoding. Every gadget has a video format that ensures optimum efficiency, based mostly on completely different community speeds and connectivity. An app like HBO Max transcodes and processes the movies, relying on the video format supported by that gadget. And this ensures good scalability and efficiency.

    Another processes to enhance scalability embrace:

    TrickPlay – When a person scans the content material through the sidebar or principal menu, a thumbnail is generated that gives a small snapshot of the video content material. That is Trickplay, which HBO Max accomplishes by requesting photos through a template URL and passing the place of the playhead. (eg

    Though HBO Max might have achieved this by MPEG-DASH, they selected to develop their very own system for Trickplay.

    Equally, options like Watch Offline, Proceed Watching, and so forth. are applied, making certain that each one customers can get good and uniform entry to video content material.

    If you wish to know extra about HBO Max and discover out how one can develop and launch an analogous OTT and video streaming app, contact our system architects and cell app engineers and discover the probabilities.

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Understanding the legacy of HBO Max & its powerful, scalable technical stack

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