HBO Max Can’t Play Title? Try These 21 Fixes

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HBO Max Can’t Play Title

HBO Max has been a prominent streaming service since its launch in 2020. And, after gaining more than 3 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, the number of HBO users now stands at about 76.8 million. This is when direct competitors like Netflix are reporting subscriber losses.

The driving forces for this growth are the quality of TV shows and movies available on HBO Max, and the reliability of the HBO Max streaming services in delivering content on demand.

However, HBO Max is not without its troubles. Earlier, we did an article on HBO Max freezing mid streaming as well as one on HBO Max volume being too low.

In this article, we are going to explore the error messages that users encounter when trying to play content on HBO Max including:

  • Can’t Play Title. We’re having trouble playing this video. Please try again later
  • Can’t Play Title. Make sure your browser is not in private browsing mode

These errors are not peculiar to any specific platform: users experience them on the HBO Android and iOS apps, as well as on browsers on their PCs. As a matter of fact, the error also occurs on gaming consoles like Xbox, and on the Oculus Quest 2 browser.

You may notice that this error is a generic error with no reference to the specific cause. Therefore, to resolve it, it is best to try different known solutions one after the other until you find the one that fixes the problem for you.

In this article, we have researched and presented all the known causes of these errors, as well as their respective fixes.

Why Does My HBO Max Say Can’t Play Title

1. Hbo Max is Down

HBO Max is a streaming service. It does not matter if you are watching from your smart TV, phone, PC or virtual reality console: your device has to connect to HBO servers to stream the show or program you are trying to watch.

Streaming allows you to view content over the internet without having to download the content first to your device. In order to render the content to you, streaming services like HBO Max host all of their content on servers across multiple locations.

When you open your HBO Max app or sign in on the browser to stream, you are connecting directly to the HBO Max servers closest to you. For this to complete successfully, two connections have to be in place:

  • You need to have a strong internet connection on your streaming device to connect to the servers.
  • HBO Max servers need to be up and running to transmit the content you are trying to stream on demand.

When HBO servers are down, the content cannot be transmitted to you resulting in errors like Can’t Play This Title. Other errors you may experience include freezing, excessive buffering, and low/no volume.

Therefore, when you encounter the Can’t Play This Title error, first ensure that your internet connection is OKAY. If it is, then you know it’s likely that HBO servers are down. In that case, please refer to the options below:

Fix – Wait For HBO Maxs Server Issue to Resolve

The first thing to do is to wait a little and then try to play the title again.

If the issue persists, try to play another title. If you are still unable to play, then head over to the service monitoring sites below to check if there is downtime on HBO servers:

  • Down Inspector – On Down Inspector, you are able to see feeds from HBO Max social media accounts on current issues and reports on their service
  • Services Down
  • Down Detector – On Down Detector, you are able to see reports, queries, and complaints from other HBO Max users

These websites will give you up-to-date information on the status of HBO servers. If there are no reports on the sites or from the social media feeds embedded, then move on the next fixes below.

2. Bug In App

If you are using the HBO Max on iOS, Android OS, smart TV, or Xbox, then you should know that if the problem is not from HBO servers, it is very likely that the HBO Max app on your device has developed a bug.

Bugs are not uncommon in third-party streaming apps like HBO Max. Your HBO Max has to interact with so many components like your device’s OS, your device’s display drivers, the HBO Max server, security controls on your device and on the HBO servers, Content Delivery Networks, and so much more.

Sometimes, these interactions may become overwhelming for the HBO Max app and integration with any one of the components may malfunction. When this happens, you need to perform some debugging steps in the order below.

Fix – Restart App

The first step to take when fixing a bug is to exit the HBO Max app and then open it again. Restarting the app will allow the HBO Max to disconnect from all the components listed above and attempt a fresh connection with them. This has resolved the issue for many HBO Max users.

To restart the app on iOS and Android:

1. Exit the HBO Max app

2. Swipe it away from recent apps

3. Wait one minute, then reopen the HBO Max app

To restart HBO Max on Xbox:

1. Go to the Home screen on your Xbox

2. Select My Games & Apps

3. Select Apps.

4. Highlight the HBO Max app, then press the Menu button (3 horizontal lines) on the controller.

5. Select Quit from the options

6. Wait one full minute, then go back to My Apps & Games to select HBO Max

To quit the app on Samsung TV:

1. Press and hold the Return/Exit key on the remote control

2. Then go back to your Apps to open HBO Max again

To quit HBO Max on Sony TV:

1. Select Settings

2. Select Apps

3. Scroll and highlight the HBO Max app with the up and down arrow keys

4. Select Enter

5. Then select Force Stop

6. Then, go back to your Apps to open HBO Max again

To quit HBO Max on LG TV:

1. Press and hold the Home button

2. A list of all the background apps will open

3. Click x next to HBO Max to close it

4. Then go back to your Apps and open HBO Max again

Fix – Log Out and Log In

When you first download, install, and log in to your HBO Max app, you have created what is called a Login Session. You may notice that after closing the HBO Max app, you do not need to log in again when next you open the app. That is because, your login credentials were saved on first login and your session is maintained on the servers even when you close the app.

This is the same when you use the HBO Max browser.

Every time you log in, you are granted a session token. This token holds the information that permits you to perform tasks on your account like settings, subscriptions, and streaming. It is just like a key.

Sometimes, a bug on the HBO Max app or on the HBO Max servers may cause you to lose that key that permits you to stream. This would then result in the Can’t Play This Title error. To fix this, you simply need to log out of the HBO Max and log back in. This will grant your new session a new key to continue streaming.

To log out on HBO Max phone app:

1. Open the HBO Max app on your device

2. Select Settings

3. At the bottom of the Settings page, select Sign Out

4. Wait 5 minutes, then sign back in

To log out on HBO Max TV app:

1. On the HBO Max home

2. Click on your HBO Max profile avatar

3. Scroll all the way to the right and select Sign Out

To log out of HBO on Browser:

1. On the HBO Max website, select your profile avatar

2. Then select Sign Out

To sign out on multiple or all devices using Browser:

1. Click on your account name/avatar

2. Select Manage devices

3. You will see the list of devices you have used to sign in to HBO Max

4. Select Sign Out next to the devices that you want to sign out of

To sign out on multiple or all devices using phone app:

1. Click on your account avatar

2. Select Settings

3. Select Manage Devices

4. You will see the list of devices you have used to sign in to HBO Max

5. Select Sign Out next to the devices that you want to sign out of

Fix – Clear Cache

The next possibility to check if logging out and logging back in to HBO Max does not solve the problem, is that the HBO Max cache may be full or corrupt. We explained earlier that the reason you do not have to log in every time you open HBO Max app is that your login details are saved.

These login details as well as other user data such as account permissions, favourite apps and settings are saved in a memory called the Cache. Every time you launch HBO Max, the app loads data from the Cache in order to start properly.

If the cache becomes corrupt, the app will not function well. For example, it may not access your account permissions needed to stream content and thus result in the Can’t Play This Title error.

To fix this problem, you need to clear the HBO Max app cache.

To clear the HBO Max cache on Android:

1. Long-press the HBO Max app

2. Select App Info

3. Select Clear Data

4. Select Clear Cache

5. Confirm to clear cache

On iOS:

1. Navigate to Settings on your device

2. Select General

3. Select iPhone Storage

4. Select HBO Max

5. Select Offload app

6. Confirm the action

7. Select Reinstall app

On Samsung TV:

1. Press the Home button on your remote control.

2. Go to Settings.

3. Select Apps.

4. Go to the System apps.

5. Select HBO Max

6. Select Clear cache

7. Select OK to confirm.

On Sony TV:

1. Press the Home button on your remote

2. Select Apps

3. Highlight HBO Max and then hold down the OK/Enter button

4. Select Info

5. Select Clear Cache

6. Click OK to confirm

On LG TV:

1. Press the Home button on your remote

2. Select System Settings

3. Select Application Manager

4. Select HBO Max

5. Select Clear Cache

On Xbox:

1. Press the Xbox button on your controller

2. Select Settings

3. Select System

4. Select Storage

5. Select any storage

6. Press the Y button on your controller

7. Select Clear System Cache

Fix – Update App

Another major cause of the Can’t Play This Title error is when the HBO Max app does not have the latest updates.

Even though HBO Max is a streaming platform, it is installed as an app on your phone, smart TV or streaming device. And, like any other app, it needs to be constantly updated in order to continue functioning properly.

We have seen cases where users complained about issues on the HBO Max app and then HBO Max subsequently released updates to fix the bug on the app. Therefore, ensuring that your HBO Max app is up to date is vital in order to remove such bugs that may be causing it not to play titles.

To update the HBO Max on your phone:

1. Go to the App Store or Play Store

2. Search for HBO Max and select it from the results

3. Tap on the icon to open the HBO Max app page

4. Tap update to the right of the screen to update the app

On Samsung TV:

1. Press the Smart Hub button

2. Select Featured

3. Navigate to HBO Max, press and hold the Enter button until a menu pops up

4. Select Update apps

5. Click on Select All

6. Select Update

You do not need to do this all the time. Please confirm that apps are set to update automatically on your TV.

1. Press the home button on the remote control

2. Select Apps

3. Select Settings (gear icon at the top right)

4. Select Auto Update and click Enable

On Sony Bravia TV:

1. Press the Home button your remote control

2. Select Apps (red circle with dots inside)

3. Select Google Play Store

4. Select My Apps

5. Select Update All

To ensure auto updates on Sony TV

1. Press the Home button your remote control

2. Select Apps (red circle with dots inside)

3. Select Google Play Store

4. Select Settings

5. Select Auto update app

6. Select Auto update app at any time

To update HBO Max on LG TV

1. Press the Home button on your remote control

2. Select LG Content Store

3. Select Apps

4. Select My Apps

5. Select HBO Max and select Update

After updating the HBO Max app, again check to see if you can now play titles on the app.

Fix – Reinstall App

If updating the HBO Max does not resolve the issue of Can’t Play This Title, the last resort to take is to uninstall the app and install it again. Some bugs cannot be fixed by clearing the cache, logging out, or updating the app.

Such serious bugs are associated with the particular instance of the HBO Max app installed on your device, and can only be removed by completely removing the app and installing a new version from the store.

On Android or iOS:

1. Press and hold the HBO Max app on your phone. On the options that appear, select Uninstall for Android or Remove App for iOS.

2. Go back to your Play Store or App Store to redownload the app

On Smart TV:

1. Press the Home button on your remote control

2. Select Apps

3. Select See All Apps

4. Select HBO Max

5. Select Uninstall or Remove

On Xbox:

1. Press the Xbox button on the controller to go to the dashboard.

2. Navigate to My Games & Apps and select HBO Max

3. Press the Menu button of the controller and select Uninstall.

4. Follow the onscreen instructions to delete the selected item.

After removing HBO Max from these devices, go back to the store to reinstall it.

Fix – Check Android Data Permissions if You Are Using Mobile Data

Most streaming applications and device operating systems are set by default to use only WIFI. This is to save data from using mobile data. When you stream HBO Max on your browser, it is very likely that you use WIFI to stream.

If you decide to stream using mobile data instead, you will get the Can’t Play This Title error. That is because HBO Max is set to stream over WIFI only.

So, if you want to stream using mobile data, use these steps to enable mobile data streaming:

1. Click on your profile in the Android app

2. Select Settings

3. Select Video Options

4. Toggle to turn off Stream Over WIFI Only

3. Bug in Browser

So far, we have addressed issues on HBO servers and on the HBO Max app with respect to the Can’t Play This Title error. If you encountered this error while trying to stream on your phone or PC browser, it may also be that the issue is actually with your device browser.

Compatibility issues, plugins, cache problems, and glitches on the page you’re on can all cause the error when you try to play a title on HBO Max. To address issues on the browser, please try the fixes below in the order provided:

Fix – Use Another Browser

The first thing to do when you encounter the Can’t Play This Title error is to quickly open another browser, log in to your HBO Max account and try playing the exact same title on the different browser.

  • If you still cannot play the title, you have almost certainly eliminated the browser as the cause of the error
  • If you can play the title in the new browser, then you know that the issue is with the former browser. In which case, try the rest of the browser fixes below

Fix – Reset Permissions in Chrome

If you are using Google Chrome to stream HBO Max, you may want to check the HBO Max website permissions on the browser. You need to confirm that HBO Max has permissions to stream on your browser. And, even if it does, reset the permissions anyway because the original settings may be glitching.

To reset HBO Max website permissions on Chrome:

1. Open Chrome and log into your HBO Max account

2. To the left of the address bar, tap the lock icon and select Permissions

3. If you do not see Permissions, select Site Settings

4. A new window will open

5. At Permissions, select Reset Permissions to the right to reset the permissions to default

Then try streaming on the site to see if the error has been fixed.

Fix – Force Restart the Page

Restarting the HBO Max page is the browser equivalent of restarting the HBO Max app on a mobile device or smart TV. What this does it to reload the configurations on the HBO page and clear the glitches that may have caused the page to stop playing titles on HBO Max.

1. To restart the page, simply close the page on your browser and reopen it

2. Or click the refresh button to refresh the page, then try playing the title again

Fix – Restart Browser

If restarting the page does not work, then you should try restarting the whole browser. While restarting the page addresses issues on the HBO Max page that was open, restarting the browser clear bugs that may have developed on your entire browser.

For example, the browser may temporarily lose connection with HBO Max servers, or some plugins on the browser may stop working temporarily causing the Can’t Play This Title error.

To restart the browser on PC:

1. Click the X button at the top right of the browser

2. If you are asked to close the current tab or all tabs, select to close all tabs

3. Wait one minute then open the browser again

To restart the browser on phone:

1. Exit the browser

2. Swipe it away from recent apps

3. Wait one minute then reopen the browser.

To restart the browser on Oculus Quest 2:

1. Press the Menu button on the left controller or Press the Oculus button on your right controller

2. Select Exit or Quit

Fix – Get Out of Private Browsing Mode If You’re In It

Private Browsing allows you to browse without having your browsing data stored on the browser. A lot of other functionalities are also disabled such as cache, cookies, and some plugins. HBO Max requires some of these features to function properly.

Therefore, when you use Private Browsing to stream on HBO Max, you may get the Can’t Play This Title error message.

To fix this, simply exit the Private Browser or Incognito Browser and open a normal browser on your device.

Fix – Clear Browser Cache and Cookies

Just as with the application cache on HBO Max app, the cache on the browser may become corrupt and cause HBO Max to stop functioning properly.

To Clear Cache and Cookies on Chrome and similar browsers:

1. Click the menu button at the top-right of the browser

2. Select History

3. Select Clear Browsing Data

4. On the page that opens, ensure that only the Cookies and Site Data, and Cached Images and Files options are checked. In the time range, select All time

5. Click Clear Data

For Safari:

1. Open Safari

2. From the Menu Bar, click Safari

3. Select Preferences

4. Select Advanced from the top bar

5. Check to Show Develop menu in bar and close

6. Back on the Menu Bar, click Develop

7. Click Empty Caches

For Cookies on Safari:

1. Open Safari

2. From the Menu Bar, click Safari

3. Select Preferences

4. Select Privacy

5. Select Manage Website Data

6. Select the HBO Max website

7. Select Remove All.

Fix – Disable Extensions

We have found that some extensions on the browser may cause HBO Max to stop working. This is as a result of some configuration conflicts between the extensions and the HBO Max page.

It is hard to detect which extension is causing the conflict, so it’s best to disable all. You can re-enable them after streaming on HBO Max. To disable extensions:

1. Open your browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox)

2. Select the Menu button (3 dots or lines at the top right)

3. Select Settings

4. Select Extensions

5. Toggle to disable all the extensions on your browser

4. Issue with the Show

So far, we have worked under the assumption that the issue is general with HBO Max either on the servers, the app, or the browser. However, there is the possibility that the Can’t Play This Title error is peculiar to just the show you are trying to stream.

Sometimes, there may be a technical fault at HBO Max servers that causes a particular show to be unavailable for streaming for a particular period.

Fix – Try Watching Another Show

Simply switch to another show on HBO Max and try streaming it. If the title plays, then you know the issue is with the title you were trying to play originally. In that case, you need to wait for a while and see if HBO Max resolves the issue.

5. Internet Issues

Because HBO Max is an internet-based streaming service, internet plays a key role in how HBO Max functions on your device. There are different ways internet could cause the Can’t Play This Title error, and we have outlined them below.

Fix – Try Using it With VPN, Then Try Using It Without

We mentioned earlier that HBO Max has servers in different locations to host content. They also make use of Content Delivery Networks to ensure that the content are delivered to the various locations at reliable speeds.

There are occasions where the network serving your location goes down. This would cause errors like Can’t Play This Title. And that’s where VPNs come in. VPNs connect your device to other networks and servers outside your real location. Therefore, using a VPN will enable you to bypass the downtime in your location and stream HBO Max.

In the same vein, if you were already using VPN when you encountered this error, then it may be that the server you are connected to is down. In that case, you need to disable VPN and connect normally to see if the issue clears.

When getting a VPN:

  • Go for highly-rated, paid VPNs. They usually have better networks and do not affect internet speeds negatively
  • Go for VPNs that allow you to choose servers to connect to. That way you can switch servers when your current server is down.

Fix – Restart Internet Connection

The next thing to check is your internet connection and speed. Sometimes, the WIFI or mobile data connection on your device may glitch and need a simple restart to function properly again.

1. All you need to do is turn off the WIFI or mobile data on your device

2. Wait 30 seconds

3. Then turn your WIFI or mobile data on again and ensure that your device is connected to the right network.

On devices like some smart TVs, you cannot turn off the WIFI. In that case:

1. Unplug the device from power supply

2. Wait 1 minute

3. Plug the device back into power supply

This will restart the WIFI connection

Fix – Restart Router

If restarting the internet connection does not fix the issue, then you need to restart your router. If your network connection is no longer reliable or delivering the right speeds, restarting the router usually clears the bug and restores good connection.

To restart the router:

1. Unplug the router from power supply

2. Wait 1 minute

3. Plug the router back into power supply

6. Browser Out of Date

An out-of-date browser may not have the necessary features required to integrate properly with HBO Max content.

HBO Max may have added new configurations on their website which your outdated browser does not support. You need to make sure that your web browser is up to date in order to continue streaming on HBO Max.

Fix – Update Browser

To update on PC:

If you are using the browser on a PC, you are normally alerted to available update on the browser. If you do not know how to check for this, please follow the steps below:

1. Press the menu button on the browser (3 dots or lines at the top right of the browser)

2. Click on Help (for some browsers, you will see About straightway)

3. Click on About

4. The browser will check for updates on the next page and display the option to update if updates are available

5. Click on update to update the browser

To update browser on other devices:

If you are using the browser on your phone, Xbox, smart TV or streaming device, then follow the steps provided earlier for updating the HBO Max app to update the browser.

7. Your Subscription Expired

Or, could it be that your HBO Max subscription has expired? It may be hard to keep track of this and you may not have noticed the notification from HBO Max about your account status.

To check your subscription on HBO Max website

1. Click on your profile avatar

2. Select Billing Information

3. Your subscription status and next billing date will be displayed on the screen

On HBO Max app:

1. Select the Account icon

2. Select Settings

3. Select Billing Information

4. Your subscription status and next billing date will be displayed

Fix – Renew Subscription

If your subscription is expired and your account is not set to renew automatically, then select Renew Subscription on the page to renew your HBO Max subscription.

8. Issue with Device

The final step in troubleshooting the Can’t Play This Title error is to check for errors on your streaming device. Even though this scenario rarely occurs, a glitch on your playing device may cause the error on HBO Max.

Fix – Restart Device

1. When restarting your playing device, please do not use the restart function if available.

2. Instead, do a full shut down and then power on again

3. For devices with a power socket, unplug them from power supply and then plug them back in

Fix – Update Device

Finally, you may need to check if your device is up to date. If it is not up to date, it may not have the support needed to play HBO Max app.

To update Android OS (the method may vary across brands)

1. Go to Settings

2. Select About Phone

3. Check for System Updates

To update iOS

1. Select Settings

2. Select General

3. Select Software Update

To update Xbox

1. Press the Xbox button

2. Select Profile & System

3. Select Settings

4. Select System

5. Select Updates and Downloads

6. Select Update Console

For Samsung TV

1. Press the Home button on your TV remote

2. Navigate to Settings

3. Select Support

4. Select Software Update

5. Select Update Now

For Sony Google TV

1. Press the Quick Settings (gear icon) button on your remote control

2. Select Settings

3. Select About

4. Select System Software Update

5. Select Software Update

For Sony Android TV

1. Press the Home button on your remote

2. Select Help

3. Select Status and Diagnostics

4. Select System Software Update

5. Select Check For A System Software Update

For LG TV

1. Press the Home button on your remote

2. Select Settings

3. Select All Settings

4. Select General

5. Select About This TV

6. Select Check for Updates

After updating your device, please check if you can now play content on HBO Max. If you still can’t, then contact HBO Max on their help page

Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced tech writer and marketer who currently writes for Techzillo as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf. At Techzillo, he focuses on consumer technology in general with his interest being Android OS. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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