The Advanced Guide to Apple TV – Apple’s updated TV app is a direct destination for shows

Apple TV Channels
Apple TV Channels

Apple TV – Apple’s updated TV app is a direct destination for shows

Apple has an updated version of its TV app with a prominent new feature called Apple TV Channels which will house original content and shows from Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Starz, and Showtime. It’s an enormous deal that Apple was ready to get Amazon and Hulu on board with its new TV app, considering Apple’s new streaming service will showcase its own original content. Amazon and Hulu could have easily declined, as both have their own apps available on many TV devices.

which channels are free on apple tv
which channels are free on apple tv

“We designed a replacement TV experience where you’ll buy only the channels you would like beat one app,” said Apple executive Peter Stern. The redesigned Apple TV app looks a touch like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. You can click twice to feature a replacement channel and buy shows and films on demand.

Previously, the TV app could only send you to other third-party providers and recommend what to observe. But now, Apple is attempting to form its TV app a final destination for watching shows. You’ll be able to catch Apple’s new video streaming service inside the app, and you won’t need to be redirected to other apps — as long as those companies have made deals with Apple. “No more bouncing around from app to app,” Stern said. Apple will still continue to recommend shows for you, in a section titled “For You.”

Apple is making these cable bundles a la carte, so you’ll buy what you would like, choosing from shows offered on PlayStation Vue, Spectrum, DirecTV, and sports channels. Missing from this list is Netflix, which declined to join Apple’s bundle of subscriptions earlier this month. The new Apple TV app is launching in May through a software update to the Apple TV. Apple is additionally bringing the app to Mac devices for the primary time this fall.


When will Apple released iOS 12.3, it refreshed the TV app and added a feature called Apple TV Channels. Channels allow you to subscribe to third-party streaming services like CBS All Access or HBO, right from within the TV app. You can watch that content within the TV app, served directly from Apple, without the necessity to put in other apps.

Here’s everything you would like to understand which services are available as Apple TV Channels, what they cost, and the way they work.

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How do I get Apple TV Channels?

To get Channels, your iPhone or iPad must run iOS 12.3 or later, and your Apple TV HD or Apple TV 4K must run tvOS 12.3 or later. The TV app is additionally available in macOS Catalina, some new smart TVs, and on Roku and certain Fire TV devices.

How do I subscribe to a Channel?

This part is easy. In the TV app on your iOS device or Apple TV, just scroll down within the main Watch Now tab—a list of channels should be prominently displayed. Most will have a button that says “Try it Free.” Selecting this brings up an in-app-purchase approval screen showing the length of the trial (usually one week) and therefore the recurring subscription price after the trial is over.

When you’re browsing a Channel’s content (see below), you’ll be presented with Try it Free buttons on shows and films, too.

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How does playback work?

Once you’re subscribed to Channel, you’ll see shows and films recommended directly in your Watch Now tab.

As you scroll down within the Watch Now tab, you’ll also see a horizontal list of Channels represented as circular icons. Select one and you’ll see everything available thereon Channel (whether you subscribe it or not).
Select a show, and you’ll see an info card showing seasons, episodes, cast and crew, and more, alongside a prominent “Play” button. On Apple TV, you would possibly see a special format, something like “Play first episode” and another button for “Add to Up Next.”

If you subscribe to the channel, you’ll play content right here, directly, without having to put in the other apps.

What Channels are available, and what do they cost?

Here’s the list of current Channels we all know of, alongside their subscription price. All subscriptions are month-to-month with a 7-day free trial. There are no yearly subscription options for Channels.

Acorn TV ($5.99)
A&E Crime Central ($4.99)
Apple TV+ ($4.99)
Arrow Video Channel ($4.99)
BET+ ($9.99)
Britbox ($6.99)
CBS All Access ($9.99)
Cinemax ($9.99)
CollegeHumor Dropout (unknown)
Comedy Central Now ($3.99)
CuriosityStream ($2.99)
Epix ($5.99)
Eros Now Select ($3.49)
HBO ($14.99)
History Vault ($4.99)
IFC Films Unlimited ($5.99)
Lifetime Movie Club ($3.99)
Moonbug Kids ($1.99)
MTV Hits ($5.99)
Mubi ($10.99)
Nick Hits ($7.99)
Noggin ($7.99)
Pantaya (unknown)
PBS Living ($2.99)
Showtime ($10.99)
Shudder ($5.99)
Smithsonian Channel Plus ($4.99)
Starz ($8.99)
Sundance Now ($6.99)
Tastemade ($4.99)
Up Faith & Family ($4.99)
Urban Movie Channel ($4.99)
While the new TV app will expand to over 100 countries, the list of obtainable Channels may vary from one region to subsequent, as will pricing.

Are you wondering how the Channels prices compare to subscribing within each service’s native app, or on the web? We have a comparison guide.

What if I already subscribe to one of these services?

If you subscribe to any of those services, you won’t be ready to use your current subscription as a Channel within the TV app. Most of the native apps integrate with the TV app, so you’ll see content within the Watch Now tab, and your shows and films will appear in Up Next. But you’ll need to have the acceptable app installed, and can be automatically kicked over thereto to play content. If you subscribe through an in-app purchase, you’ll be billed by Apple, but if you sign up on the web you’ll be billed by that content provider. In either case, you may or may not be able to make use of Family Sharing.

To get playback directly within the TV app, Family Sharing, and billing from Apple, you’ll get to cancel your existing subscription and re-subscribe through the TV app’s Channels section. You will then got to use the TV app to replay content.

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What about Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu?

Netflix doesn’t work with Apple on the TV app in the least. Its content doesn’t appear within the TV app in any way—you just need to install the Netflix app and use that.

Hulu isn’t a channel—you can’t subscribe and watch directly within the TV app—but the service does support the TV app’s features. So Hulu content will appear within the TV app’s tabs and search, and its shows will populate the Up Next section. You’ll need to have the Hulu app installed so as to play shows or movies, though, and you’ve got to subscribe through the Hulu app or site.

Amazon Prime Video works a bit like Hulu does: it isn’t a Channel, but if you put in the app and have a subscription, all the content integrates within the TV app.

Can I buy bundles of services?

So far, Apple hasn’t mentioned any Channels bundles. It would make sense to offer such a thing as the library of Channels grows, but for the time being, they are all à la carte.

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See More on Apple TV’s Official Website


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