Aug 22, 2022 - Economy & Business

HBO Max crashes with "The House of the Dragon" release

House of the Dragon' series logo displayed on a phone screen and HBO Max website displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this
Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Feverish interest in the first "Game of Thrones" spinoff "House of the Dragon" crashed the HBO Max app for thousands of people in the U.S. on Sunday night.

Why it matters: Downtime on series release days has become commonplace as people now spend more time streaming TV content than watching it through cable.

  • Netflix crashed when the platform released the last two episodes of "Stranger Things 4" in July.
  • HBO notably has experienced the issue in past years with "Game of Thrones" and "True Detective" on its HBO Go app.

Details: There were more than 3,300 reported outages at around 9 p.m. on the East Coast when "House of the Dragon" debuted, based on Downdetector data.

  • On Twitter and Reddit, streamers mentioned having specific issues on Amazon's Fire TV platform and Fire Stick.

What they're saying: "'House of the Dragon' was successfully viewed by millions of HBO Max subscribers last night. A small portion of users attempting to connect via Fire TV devices had issues and we worked directly with impacted users to get them into the platform," HBO said in a statement.

  • HBO Max also recently rolled out new versions of its apps as part of an upgrade to its tech platform.
  • "There was an issue with the HBO Max app which affected a small number of users attempting to watch 'House of the Dragon' on a subset of Fire TV devices. We’ve worked with HBO to resolve it, and HBO has pushed out a fix resolving the issue," Amazon said in a statement late Monday.

Our thought bubble: There are many layers to the technology infrastructure of streaming services — which means there are many potential points of failure when a platform is strained by heavy demand, Axios technology editors Scott Rosenberg and Peter Allen Clark write.

  • Many different companies — including cloud service providers, content delivery network providers, and smart-TV front-ends like Roku, Chromecast or Apple TV — are responsible for the chain that brings streaming content from its owner to your eyes. That means they can all point fingers at one another when there's a problem.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Amazon stating the issue some users experienced has been resolved.

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