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

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Over The Prime or OTT platforms have modified the principles of video consumption around the globe. By 2027, round 4 billion customers will entry OTT platforms corresponding to 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 business. One of many largest and quickest rising sections of the Web and leisure financial system.

This is the reason, slowly and regularly, 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 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 america, 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 supplied video on demand to its paying clients by way of 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 unbiased platform. Beforehand, each HBO on Broadband and HBO Go had been accessible 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 tendencies and person conduct 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 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 barely 18-20 million behind Netflix and Prime.

HBO Max has over 10,000 hours of content material and is accessible 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 prime 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 expertise stack and perceive the backend of the HBO Max app:

main body

The framework carried out 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 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 lots of inside software program and techniques, developed by his workforce. And this additionally features a proprietary cheat system and an inside video participant.

HBO Max additionally used in-house, business, 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 a couple of AdaptationSet, whereas audio is delivered in numerous 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)

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 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 known as Comet, which works as their public CMS.

As seen in your software, 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: Degree 3 and Akamai.

Degree 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.

Observe 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 software, scalability is vital. The flexibility to deal with such an enormous variety of concurrent customers, with out disrupting their total expertise and conduct, 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 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 areas, get a constant and gratifying expertise
  • Buffering is lowered, 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: In the course of the technique of changing video codecs, some components might change or be altered, corresponding to 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 today are a number of terabytes in dimension and quantity, and it would not make sense to course of such a lot of knowledge. This is the reason 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 carried out by way of video transcoding. Every machine has a video format that ensures optimum efficiency, primarily based on totally different community speeds and connectivity. An app like HBO Max transcodes and processes the movies, relying on the video format supported by that machine. 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 essential menu, a thumbnail is generated that gives a small snapshot of the video content material. That is Trickplay, which HBO Max accomplishes by requesting photographs 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/characteristic/613088/v1/photographs/23.98p/r0/images_2_0:00000000.jpg)

    Though HBO Max may 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 carried out, 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 identical 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