Advanced Television

HBO Max Orbit unveiling at SXSW

March 12, 2021

HBO Max will launch HBO Max Orbit at SXSW Online, the brand’s interactive digital experience to introduce audiences to the US streaming service’s content using cutting-edge emerging technology.

The HBO Max Orbit experience at SXSW Online will respond to facial movements and voice prompts to allow audiences to explore and interact with thousands of iconic moments, characters and stories from the catalogue in a personalised, intuitive way.

In the experience, users will be able to explore HBO Max’s library—titles from HBO, Warner Bros, DC, Cartoon Network and more. over 150,000 scenes clipped from HBO Max series and films including Game of Thrones, Love Life, Big Bang Theory, The Looney Tunes Show, Tom and Jerry, Godzilla vs King Kong and Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be integrated into the online experience and accessible with a nod of the head or a few spoken words.

The HBO Max Orbit technology will respond to how a user is moving their face and will surface clips of HBO Max characters matching their movements in real time. Specific clips in the SXSW Online experience will trigger “challenge mode,” which prompts users to move their face to find clips that match a certain title on screen or use their voice to speak a phrase from a specific show within a timed window. Successful completion of these challenges unlocks frames from the exclusive clip.

“The pandemic has forced brands from all sectors to reimagine experiential marketing and devise new ways to engage and delight users with content,” said Jason Mulderig, SVP Brand Marketing, HBO Max. “HBO Max Orbit is an impressive technical feat, and we’re so pleased to use this technology to create fun, meaningful connections with people from the comfort of their homes. Given our history of partnership with SXSW and its impact amongst audiences at the intersection of entertainment and technology, we can’t wait to bring this compelling experience to the festival and to share all that HBO Max has to offer.”

Experience design firm HUSH developed the digital/physical experience and the HBO Max Orbit technology for both the web and retail flagships, which leveraged a bespoke content ingestion pipeline that uses machine learning to process hundreds of terabytes of content to power the user experience.

“This was an incredible creative and technical opportunity for our firm and one that was supported with energy and enthusiasm by the HBO Max team,” said David Schwarz, HUSH Partner. “Strategically, we were able to lean into the fact that HBO Max’s library is unparalleled in quality and scale. We latched onto an intriguing but simple question: how can we leverage design and creative technology to give audiences a magical experience of navigating the seemingly infinite world of HBO Max? It needed to be functionally intuitive and fast, but also dreamlike, extemporaneous and unexpected. The best explorers in history didn’t change their world, they just found beautiful ways through it.”

Following its SXSW Online debut, an in-person version of HBO Max Orbit will open in select AT&T flagship stores in the US starting in April.

SXSW Online 2021 will take place March 16th – March 20th.

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