Warner Bros. has reconfirmed Wonder Woman’s December 25 release date, while also announcing the long-awaited sequel will debut simultaneously on HBO Max. That’s certainly good news for fans who are eager to finally watch the movie but unable to safely see it in theaters. There is one catch to be aware of, however. You won’t be able to stream the movie in 4K.
Why such a major omission with the biggest superhero movie release of 2020? Here’s a quick breakdown of why 4K is a no-go, and why Roku users will have their own hurdles to deal with.
Why Wonder Woman 1984 Won’t Stream in 4K
WW84 won’t stream in 4K because HBO Max has yet to add an option for streaming 4K content at all. That was one of several complaints directed against the streamer in our initial HBO Max review from July 2020, and it’s a shortcoming WarnerMedia has yet to address. Whereas most competitors like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix offer a selection of 4K content (either standard or as part of a higher pricing tier), HBO Max’s library tops out at 1080p, a resolution almost as dated as Steve Trevor’s parachute pants.
This is despite the fact that WarnerMedia’s other major streaming service, DC Universe, has been offering 4K video and even 4K comic books since launch. Unfortunately, there’s been no indication Wonder Woman 1984 will be appearing on DC Universe in addition to HBO Max. That service is being relaunched as the comics-focused DC Universe Infinite in January 2021, meaning what 4K DC video content there is available will vanish quicker than Batman ending a conversation with Commissioner Gordon.
IGN reached out to Warners for comment, but they would only confirm that no 4K content is currently available on the streaming service.
Wonder Woman’s Home Video Release
This isn’t to say Wonder Woman will never be available to stream in 4K. As previously revealed, the film is only being added to HBO Max for 30 days, after which it’ll run exclusively in theaters. Presumably, Warners will release WW84 on home video in early 2021 (probably February or March depending how successful the theatrical release proves to be), at which point 4K will finally enter the picture.
Warners has always been one of the biggest proponents of the 4K Ultra HD format, so there’s no reason to assume Wonder Woman 1984 won’t be sold in that format and as a 4K digital purchase. That requires making a separate purchase rather than simply streaming the movie via HBO Max, but for now, this may be the only option for watching Wonder Woman 1984 in full 4K.
There’s No HBO Max on Roku
It’s also worth pointing out that customers who use a Roku as their main streaming device will probably face extra problems with Wonder Woman 1984. As of the time of publish, there still isn’t a dedicated HBO Max app available for Roku. That’s a result of ongoing negotiation problems between WarnerMedia and Roku.
There are two pieces of good news on this front, however. First, WarnerMedia recently struck a deal with Amazon to finally make HBO Max available on Fire TV devices. A deal with Roku could be reached just as suddenly. And given the amount of new subscribers Wonder Woman 1984 is likely to attract, WarnerMedia has every incentive to cut a deal before December 25.
Second, there is a way of streaming HBO Max on a Roku without relying on a dedicated app. Hulu gives the subscribers the option to add HBO Max content for an additional fee, just as it does for premium cable networks like Starz, Showtime and Cinemax. The price is the same as a normal HBO Max subscription ($15 per month) and this has the added benefit of consolidating two streaming services under one app.
Will you be streaming Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max. Are you holding out for a theatrical screening or a 4K option? Let us know in the comments below.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.