Apple is refreshing it’s TV application with iOS 12.3 and is adding a fresh new feature known as Apple TV channels. With channels, you can subscribe to any third-party streaming services such as HBO or CBS All Access right from your TV app.
You can watch the content you want in your TV app directly from Apple without needing to install any app.
If you have been looking for a place to find information on the services currently available as channels on Apple TV, what the services cost, and how they work, then you have reached the right place.
How do I get Apple TV Channels?
The Apple TV app is also available in Mac OS Catalina on Roku on some new Smart TVs and of course, on some fire TV devices.
How do I subscribe to a Channel?
This part is almost the easiest. In the TV application on your iOS device or on your Apple TV, scroll down to the Watch Now tab— you should see a list of channels prominently displayed in that area.
Most of the apps will have a button that reads, “Try it Free.” Picking this option brings up an in-app-purchase screen for approval showing the trial period (usually one week) and Alsop showing the recurring subscription price that must be paid after the trial period is over.
When you are browsing the content of a channel, you will be presented with a “Try it Free button” on movies and shows, as well.
How does playback work?
Once you have successfully subscribed to a channel, you will see shows and movies recommended directly in your Watch Now tab.
As you scroll down to the Watch Now tab, you will also find a horizontal list of channels displayed as circular icons. Pick any of the ones on display, and you will see all that is available on that Channel (whether you have subscribed to it or not).
Choose a show, and you will see an information card showing the seasons, episodes, the cast and crew, and so much more, along with a bold “Play” button. On Apple TV, you might notice a different format, such as “Play first episode” and a separate button for “Add to Up Next.”
If you subscribe have already subscribed to the Channel, you can play the content you want right here, directly, without needing to install any new apps.
What Channels are available, and what do they cost?
During the Apple TVs “Showtime” event on the 25th of March, the company promised channels from several other partners. Here is the list of Channels we presently know of, together with their subscription fee.
All the subscriptions are month-to-month with a one-week free trial. There are no yearly plans for subscription options for Channels.
- Acorn TV ($5.99)
- Arrow Video Channel ($4.99)
- Britbox (unknown)
- CBS All Access ($9.99)
- Cinemax ($9.99)
- CollegeHumor Dropout (unknown)
- Comedy Central Now ($3.99)
- CuriosityStream ($2.99)
- Epix ($5.99)
- Eros Now (unknown)
- HBO ($14.99)
- History Vault ($4.99)
- IFC Films Unlimited ($5.99)
- Lifetime Movie Club ($3.99)
- MTV Hits ($5.99)
- Mubi ($10.99)
- NickHits (unknown)
- Noggin (unknown)
- 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 (unknown)
- Urban Movie Channel ($4.99)
While the new TV app is expected to expand to more than 100 countries, the list of Channels available may differ from one region to the next, as will the cost.
You may be wondering how the prices of these channels compare to subscribing within the service’s native app, or even on the web. We will prepare a comparison guide.
What if I already subscribed to one of these services?
If you have subscribed already to any of the services, you will be unable to use your existing subscription as a Channel in the TV application.
The good thing about most of the native apps is that they integrate nicely with the TV app, so you will see the content you need in the Watch Now tab, and your movies and shows will show up in Up Next.
But you’ll have to get the right app installed, and it will be automatically kicked over to play the content of your choice. If you subscribe to the content via an in-app purchase, you will be billed by Apple.
However, if you sign up via web your billing with be from the content provider. Whichever you choose, you may either or not be able to use Family Sharing.
To enjoy playback directly within the Apple TV app, billing, and Family Sharing from Apple, you will be required to cancel the subscription you already have running, and re-subscribe via the Apple TV app’s Channels section. After that, you will need to use the TV app when you want to playback content.
What about Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu?
Netflix may be every person’s popular streaming service, but sadly, it does not work with the Apple TV app at all. Netflix content does not show up in the TV app
at all — all you need to do is to install the Netflix app and use it on your device.
Sadly, Hulu isn’t a Channel— you can not subscribe to it and watch directly within the Apple TV app. However, the service supports the TV app’s features.
Meaning that Hulu content will show up in the TV app’s tabs and in search, and Hulu shows will be displayed all over the Up Next section.
You will have to install the Hulu app in order for you to play shows or movies, and you have to do a subscription via the Hulu app or site.
Amazon Prime Video functions similarly to how Hulu does: Amazon prime video is not a channel, however, if you install the app and have a subscription, all of the content integrates within the Amazon TV app.
Can I buy bundles of services?
Since the launch of Apple TV to date, the company has not mentioned the availability of any channel bundles. It would only make sense to offer a thing like that as the library of Channels begin to grows.
Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section provided below.