Cord cutters are still waiting on Apple TV+, the consumer video subscription service announced by Tim Cook & Co. in March. When it debuts in the fall, Apple’s new service promises original content from entertainment A-listers such as Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.
In the meantime, the newly-designed Apple TV app for your iPhone, iPad and the Apple TV set-top box that was also announced in March shows up today.
It brings a fresh look that’s meant to better surface TV shows and movies you may want to watch, but otherwise not a ton of new features.
The highlight is that you can subscribe to individual Apple TV channels within the app –and consume content on demand from a lineup of launch channels that includes HBO, Starz, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX and Tastemade, with CBS All-Access and MTV Hits coming later.
Think of these as Apple’s answer to the Roku Channel Premium Subscriptions and Amazon Prime Video Channels offered by rivals.
HBO subscribers on Apple TV can download shows and movies for offline viewing, including “Game of Thrones” in time for the series finale. The monthly HBO subscription cost is $14.99, on par with other direct-to-consumer services.
If you separately subscribe to cable or satellite, you can still watch authorized content from premium providers inside Apple TV via third-party apps, which involves going through a few more hoops.
Up to six people can share Apple TV channel subscriptions through Apple’s Family Sharing by entering their Apple IDs and passwords.
As part of the app experience, Apple is promising a combination of curated and personalized recommendations of shows and movies from more than 150 video apps and streaming services, as well as the 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows, including what it says is the largest collection of 4K HDR titles available to browse, buy or rent.
You’ll also find a dedicated kids’ section with handpicked content broken down by age.
Starting today, Apple TV channels and iTunes fare will be available on 2019 Samsung Smart TVs, and on some of last year’s models as well.
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