First take: Is Apple TV+ good?
Top. Tier. Television. That’s Apple’s goal with Apple TV+, its brand-new entry into the digital streaming market that debuted November 1.
Apple’s coming in late to the streaming world, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming prepared. Its app-based TV service is available on multiple devices and features original content from award-winning actors, directors, and producers.
Apple TV+ deals and promotions
Don’t want to pay $4.99 a month? You can always get a free year when you buy a new Apple device like a tablet or computer. Paying $60 doesn’t seem so bad now, huh?
Apple TV+ also offers a 7-day free trial if you’re not ready to commit.
Apple TV+ prices and packages
How much is Apple TV+?
It’s important to understand the difference between the Apple TV device, Apple TV app, and the Apple TV+ channel.
The device is just that: the physical Apple TV that connect to your TV. The Apple TV app, meanwhile, is free to download and provides dozens of different channels like HBO® or STARZ® within it. Apple TV+, the service, is one of those channels with its own original shows and movies.
Apple TV+ rolled out on November 1 to all of its regular Apple and even competitor devices. Want to watch Apple TV+ on your Kindle Fire? No problem. How about your Roku TV stick? You’re set. While there are only 14 shows for now, the low price of $4.99 per month gives you plenty of bang for your buck.
Keep in mind that Apple TV+ is not a livestreaming service. If you subscribe, you’ll be able to see the on-demand, star-studded shows that Apple has been cooking up over the last two years, but you won’t get to watch the Super Bowl.
Apple TV+ channels
What’s on Apple TV+?
Because Apple TV+ is mainly a platform for Apple’s new original shows, you won’t find any other channels on it like SyFy or Comedy Central. Apple may eventually add channel bundles, similar to its competitor Amazon.
The Apple TV app has additional premium channels and channel bundles. If you want HBO or STARZ, you can subscribe to them as well as Apple TV+.
Apple TV+ doesn’t offer sports channels, and there’s not dedicated sports streaming options on the Apple TV app. The Apple TV app does have CBS All Access though, which will let you tune in to their sports programming.
Apple TV+ is an Apple TV app channel dedicated to Apple’s original content, meaning you won’t find local stations on it. You can, however, pick up a digital antenna for your TV to receive local stations.
While Apple has given the impression that you can watch local channels with services like Hulu or fuboTV through the Apple TV app, this isn’t true. You’ll need to access them through your streaming device’s app instead.
Want more local channels?
Check out those prices, yo
Apple TV+ is a premium channel available under the Apple TV app.
You won’t access premium channels through Apple TV+, but you can subscribe to them in the Apple TV app. As it stands, the Apple TV app catalogue includes subscription options for premium add-ons like HBO, CINEMAX, and STARZ.
If it sounds confusing, it is. By incorporating these add-ons to the Apple TV app (but not the Apple TV+ service), Apple is asking you to download and create an account for an entire new software environment within a device that already gives you access to premium channel services.
It’s probably easier to just watch CINEMAX through your Roku without another app layer to sort through.
Apple TV+ original shows and movies
|Popular original shows||Popular original movies|
Apple TV+ is focused on original content, which means they stand out from the competition by producing a handful of high-quality, new productions instead of reselling what we’ve all seen before. Their original shows and movies are specifically designed to challenge Netflix and Amazon’s original content.
Apple TV+ will debut with a number of different genre shows and movies from many talented directors. Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell will collaborate on The Morning Show, a drama focusing on the politics of broadcast newsrooms.
Jason Momoa stars alongside Alfre Woodard in See, a post-apocalyptic drama. Hailee Steinfeld portrays Emily Dickinson in the eponymous Dickinson, which explores gender, social, and family norms in the 1800s.
While Apple’s starting with 14 shows on launch, they’re going to add new series and shows each month. Their future lineup includes Steven Spielberg’s reboot of his 1985 series Amazing Stories and Servant, a psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan.
Finally, Apple is rounding out its movie offerings with The Banker, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie, and Hala, a 2019 Sundance Film Festival Selection.
All of this means that at worst Apple TV+ has some average shows with a few diamonds, but it’s hard to go wrong with names like Witherspoon, Jackson, Anniston, and Carrell on your roster. It’s definitely worth checking out if it piques your curiosity.
Apple TV+ specs and features
Apple TV+ will support multiple streams as well as 4K UHD, but one of its best features is offline viewing. You’ll be able to download any of its upcoming shows or movies and watch them on the go.
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From the Henry Ford school of marketing
|Package||Simultaneous streams||Offline viewing||Price|
|Apple TV+||1||Yes||$4.99/mo.||Free Trial|
You’ll be able to let multiple people use your Apple TV+ account by setting up viewer profiles, not unlike Netflix’s model. This is great for families or roommates sharing an account, as it will tailor suggestions based on previous viewings to each user, meaning you’ll never have to see your roommates awkward chick-flick selections.
Android and Windows users need not apply
|Amazon Fire TV||✓|
|Amazon Fire tablet||✓|
|Android mobile devices||✗|
|iOS mobile devices||✓|
|LG TV Smart TVs (select models)||✗|
|Roku TV Stick||✓|
|Samsung Smart TVs (select models)||✓|
|Vizio SmartCast TV (select models)||✗|
|Windows 10 phones||✗|
Apple’s move into the streaming space means that maximizing device compatibility is a must. You’ll be able to watch Apple TV+ on a wide variety of different home devices as long as they can download the Apple TV app. While some devices aren’t supported now—looking at you, Vizio—Apple has plans to roll them out in the future.
The Apple TV app’s presence is notably lacking on Android devices and the Windows ecosystem, so no luck for those users. At least for now.
Best streaming devices
Is Apple TV+ good? Honestly, we’ll still need to wait and see. What’s important to understand is that you’re not paying for a streaming service or conventional channel. You’re getting a unique, premium channel with some of the best names in cinema.
Apple’s put a lot of money into the new service, and it wants to see a return on that risk. It’s released a smorgasbord of marketing and promotional material pushing all of the big names behind their original content. And that content, at least from first glance, looks sharp and well done. It would be worth it to get the seven-day trial alone just to see what all the hype is about.
But it’s important not to buy solely based on the hype. There are a lot of big names behind bad projects (yes, we’re talking about Ridley Scott and Prometheus). While chances are pretty good that what Apple TV+ provides will be outstanding, we have no guarantees until the service hits and reviews come in.
At the same time, the price is right. If anything, it’s worth checking out Apple TV+, especially since you can cancel the subscription (you’ll still have to pay for the rest of the month) if you don’t like it. So for the time being, we’re giving Apple TV+ a tentative recommendation. Grab the Apple TV app and check out one of its new shows on Apple TV+.
Who knows, you might just find your next binge before your friends can spoil it on Facebook.
Apple TV+ FAQ
What video quality can I expect on Apple TV+?
While streaming quality is limited by the quality of the program and your own TV, all shows and movies on Apple TV+ will be available in 4k.
I’m confused about Apple TV+ and Apple TV.
You’re not alone. Here’s the short and sweet: The Apple TV device runs Apple TV, the app, which provides access to Apple TV+ and premium channels. You can install the Apple TV app on any supported third party device, such as your Roku Stick or Kindle Fire.
Does Apple TV have commercials?
Short answer is yes, but it’s based on what app you’re using. The Apple TV+ service won’t have commercials for its programs.