What is it?
Think of the TV app as an Apple-designed take on the ubiquitous TV guide. You can view TV shows and movies from multiple apps in a unified experience. While also available on iOS devices, the app helps transforms the fourth-generation Apple TV into a much more capable device.
The app itself ties in with another major addition – single sign-on. Recently going live, that feature allows users can sign in once and then receive instant access to all supported video apps included in a cable or satellite subscription.
Currently only available in the United States, these pay TV providers support the feature:
- CenturyLink Prism
- Hawaiian Telcom
And here’s the list of apps that also support the feature:
- ABC (iOS and tvOS)
- A&E (iOS only)
- Bravo Now (tvOS only)
- Disney Channel (iOS and tvOS)
- Disney Junior (iOS and tvOS)
- Disney XD (iOS and tvOS)
- E! Now (tvOS only)
- Freeform (iOS)
- FXNOW (tvOS)
- Hallmark Channel Everywhere (iOS and tvOS)
- History (iOS only)
- Lifetime (iOS only)
- NBC (tvOS only)
- Syfy Now (tvOS only)
- Telemundo Now (tvOS only)
- USA NOW (tvOS only)
- Watch HGTV (iOS and tvOS)
- Watch Food Network (iOS and tvOS)
- Watch Cooking Channel (iOS and tvOS)
- Watch DIY (iOS and tvOS)
- Watch Travel Channel (iOS and tvOS)
The first, and most important part of the app on the Apple TV, is the Watch Now section. Along with being able to view personalized content recommendations, you can pick up watching a show exactly where you left off. Users can also manually add a TV show or movie to the section to pull up later.
As you could probably guess by the name, the Library section is the one-stop place to access all of your iTunes content including purchased TV shows and movies. It will also show any available rentals to view.
The Store section showcases curated app recommendations to view video and some of the newest TV shows and movies available. Some apps just require a subscription while with others you’ll need to provide pay TV credentials.
Last, but not least, the Search section offers a quick and easy way to find specific content. Along with using the keyboard, you can also dictate through the Siri Remote.
The tab also shows trending TV shows and movies.
Apple will need to add content and pay TV providers in the future to make the app truly successful.
I’ve been using the TV app since it was first available to beta testers and have been impressed with Apple’s vision, but there’s a significant catch.
If you happen to have a cable or satellite with one of the companies that currently support single sign-on, the TV app is a must-have and can truly act as content hub on the streaming device. But as you noticed, that list is currently very small and doesn’t cover many major providers in the United States.
For anyone else, there’s not enough content or features to make it worthwhile – yet.
Apple will need to spend time getting pay TV subscribers and content outlets to jump on board. There are currently more than a few holes, most notably Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. And we’ll see if those big names are willing to give up some control to make it easier for Apple users to find the content they are looking for.