HBO Max “can’t play title” error on Apple TV 4K fixed for now

If you’ve unexpectedly encountered the “unable to play title” error when trying to stream HBO Max content on your Apple TV 4K, you’re not alone. I ran into the problem last week and found this others too deal with it.

The issue appears to be specific to Apple TV 4K devices (all generations) running tvOS 16.1 and occurs in the latest version of HBO Max 52.50.1 (released November 16, 2022). For some, the problem is intermittent and can be avoided with simple troubleshooting steps like force exiting, exiting, reinstalling, or restarting the Apple TV.

HBO SVP of Communications Chris Willard says Edge they are “aware and working on a fix.” The company’s dedicated support team forwarded my request to say that the development team is actively investigating the issue and recommends looking for future updates to help resolve it.

Troubleshooting didn’t help for me. HBO Max customer support helped me through these attempts, but in the end it had to be expanded. Shortly after, I received a decision via email helped others fix the situation — and that involves turning off HDR.

A workaround involves disabling HDR

I don’t currently have HDR support on my TV, but that’s only part of the solution. You’ll need to do the following: From the Apple TV home screen, go to Settings, then Video & Audio. In this section, you need to change “Format” to SDR, set “Content Matching” to “Off”, turn off “Dynamic Range Matching” and also turn off “Frame Rate Matching”.

It didn’t work for me right away, but the next day my problem went from constant to intermittent. For others with newer high-end TVs than myself, the loss of Dolby Vision HDR would be a pain.

Another solution suggested by customer support is to change the resolution to 1080p or 720p. Luckily I didn’t have to do that as I’ve only had one bug since Monday. I hope you don’t get stuck trying to watch like I did the Thanksgiving classic in 4K.

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