Understanding the legacy of HBO Max & its highly effective, scalable technical stack | Boot Tech

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Over The High or OTT platforms have modified the foundations of video consumption around the globe. 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), it is a $150 billion trade. One of many largest and quickest rising sections of the Web and leisure economic system.

Because of this, slowly and progressively, conventional TV channels and TV-based media homes are transitioning to OTT, and that features HBO.

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

The legacy of HBO Max

The 49-year-old HBO, which is the oldest and oldest constantly working subscription tv service in the USA, launched its first Web-based video-on-demand service referred to 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 clients by way of web site, cellular app, TV and different units.

After which their new OTT platform referred to as HBO Now launched in 2014-15, with the brand new function of being an impartial platform. Beforehand, each HBO on Broadband and HBO Go had 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 primarily based on their findings, they launched HBO Max in 2020, and this has modified every little 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 planet and is rising at a tremendous fee (over 25,000 downloads, each 24 hours! ). With 50 million paid subscribers within the US (Oct 2022), HBO Max is barely 18-20 million behind Netflix and Prime.

HBO Max has over 10,000 hours of content material and is on the market in 50 international locations 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 listing.

Understanding the HBO Max Tech Stack

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

We are going to 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. Subsequently, each HBO Max and Disney use the identical framework to ship video content material to their customers.

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

Inner person interface

In keeping with Ottball, HBO Max makes use of loads of inside software program and methods, developed by his crew. 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 realize multi-key safety, MPEG-DASH splits its video qualities into multiple AdaptationSet, whereas audio is delivered in several codecs by way of 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)

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

On the similar time, the subtitles are delivered by way of 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 referred to as Comet, which works as their public CMS.

As seen in your utility, a payload is shared with https://comet.api.hbo.com/content material and a JSON response is acquired.

content material supply community

In keeping with some consultants, HBO Max makes use of no 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 take a look at the code for this app, then the consumer pings https://telegraph.api.hbo.com/occasions/v1, to point the adjustments.


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 sophisticated 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 deal with the technical elements of constructing such a strong OTT utility, scalability is essential. The flexibility to deal with such an enormous variety of concurrent customers, with out disrupting their general expertise and habits, is the recipe for fulfillment.

And main video streaming apps and OTT platforms like HBO and Amazon Prime implement some scalability tips, which make streaming easy 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 units and areas, get a constant and satisfying expertise
  • Buffering is decreased, which interprets into an ideal show
  • Latency is low, guaranteeing high-quality streaming
  • Here’s a three-step course of for video transcoding:

    Validation: Through the technique 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 positive that the transcoding course of is ideal.

    parallel coding: Sometimes, movies today are a number of terabytes in measurement and quantity, and it does not make sense to course of such a lot of information. Because of this the video is first cut 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 way of video transcoding. Every gadget has a video format that ensures optimum efficiency, primarily based 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 excellent scalability and efficiency.

    Another processes to enhance scalability embody:

    TrickPlay – When a person scans the content material by way of the sidebar or major 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 by way of a template URL and passing the place of the playhead. (eg https://media.fly.cdn.hbomax.com/movies/PRO42/e1/gov2/turner/function/613088/v1/photos/23.98p/r0/images_2_0:00000000.jpg)

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

    Equally, options like Watch Offline, Proceed Watching, and so forth. are applied, guaranteeing that every 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 identical OTT and video streaming app, contact our system architects and cellular 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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