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Apple iOS Update Includes Apple TV App for Subscribing to Streaming Services

Phillip Dampier May 13, 2019 Apple TV, Competition, Consumer News, Online Video No Comments

Apple today released a software update for iOS device owners and some smart televisions that includes a new Apple TV streaming app designed to simplify the online streaming experience.

The Apple TV app works similarly to Roku’s collection of subscription services. Through the app, viewers in 100 countries can subscribe to individual networks and access them without launching multiple separate apps to watch. Apple TV app also manages billing and collects viewing interests to provide recommended new shows and movies.

At present, most premium channels are available through the app for subscription, but you will pay a non-discounted price for each service, often at a premium. HBO, for example, can be had for as little as $5 a month through some platforms, but costs $14.99 through Apple TV. Other services often run their own discounted specials, but Apple TV customers will not get that pricing. Cord Cutters News reports these networks were available for purchase as of this morning (others are being beta tested):

  • HBO
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Cinemax
  • Epix
  • Smithsonian Plus
  • PBS Living
  • Acorn TV
  • Sundance Now
  • Lifetime Movie Club
  • Urban Movie Channel
  • Tastemade
  • Curiosity Stream
  • MTV Hits
  • Comedy Central Now

Apple TV is a precursor to the company’s more elaborate streaming and original content platform — Apple TV+ — expected to launch this fall. For now, Apple is taking a cut from reselling other companies’ content and wrapping it around its own interface. Some early subscribers report Apple TV subscribers get more generous multiple viewer allowances, and a large selection of live streams of certain networks like HBO that are not even available from HBO’s own app. Because finding content across a wide array of subscription services is becoming more complicated, users can also access a search utility to find favorite shows.

By developing its own ecosystem, Apple hopes to build an audience and subscriber loyalty by getting customers accustomed to visiting Apple TV to access their subscription content, which gives Apple an audience to sell other programming and content. In return, customers will not have to install multiple apps, or keep track of usernames and passwords for each of them.

Owners of recent Apple devices, as well as those with 2019 Samsung smart TVs (and some 2018 models) will find software updates including Apple TV starting today. Later this year, customers with certain Vizio, LG and Sony TVs will be able to use the TV app using AirPlay 2.

There are some caveats. Netflix is missing. The largest streaming provider in the world has made it clear it will not be a part of the Apple TV app. Also, only a handful of cable and streaming providers have signed on to allow customers to authenticate their TV subscriptions through the Apple TV app so far: Charter Spectrum, DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue.

Those looking for convenience might find the Roku or Apple TV platforms a good place to bring content from multiple services together, but those looking for the best price will save money shopping around for subscription deals not available from Apple TV.

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