Apple has started rolling out its new 'TV' app that brings together content from multiple streaming services, including iTunes. The app is available now in over 100 countries.
Apple's 'TV' app
Today, each streaming service must be accessed via an app. With the 'TV' app, Apple is trying to bring order to the chaos. The app features content from multiple streaming services in a unified user interface with recommendations and universal search.
The initiative was introduced more than two years ago but until now the 'TV' app has been available only in a handful of countries. With iOS and tvOS 12.3, Apple is rolling out an upgraded app with a revamped user interface in over 100 counties. The app is available now on Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and select Samsung TVs. Later this year, it will come to TVs from LG, Sony and Vizio as well as Apple Mac.
- "The all-new Apple TV app, which brings together all the ways to watch TV into one app, is available starting today in over 100 countries across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and select Samsung smart TVs.," the company said. "With the free iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 software update, customers around the world can now subscribe to Apple TV channels within the Apple TV app — paying for only the ones they want — and watch on demand directly in the app. In the US, Apple TV channels include popular services such as HBO, Starz, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade and new services like MTV Hits, with more to be added over time around the world."
Apple says that the app includes content from over 150 video apps, including iTunes, HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Epix. Most of the partners are US-based and in many of the new 100+ regions only iTunes content is available at launch. Local partners will follow in the coming months. Later this year, Apple will launch its TV+ streaming service that will be accessible from the 'TV' app. Netflix has chosen not to participate.
- "Also starting today, users worldwide can enjoy personalized recommendations of shows and movies from more than 150 video apps and streaming services and over 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows, including the largest collection of 4K HDR titles available to browse, buy or rent — all within the new Apple TV app. The Watch Now section features Up Next, where users can quickly find and watch their favorites with activity synced across devices, as well as explore expertly curated collections based on a secure and comprehensive understanding of users’ viewing interests."
In some regions, Apple is also introducing a dedicated kids section that is "highlighting editorially handpicked shows and movies for kids of all ages" as well as a sports section that can also give users notifications about their favorite teams and leagues.
As part of the new 'TV' app, Apple is introducing its "channels" initiative that lets you subscribe to participating streaming services directly inside the app via your Apple ID account. Subscriptions can be shared with up to six family members. In addition, it will be possibly to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing, including HBO's Game of Thrones, says Apple.
With the launch of the TV app and the new channels initiative, Apple will assume the role of a modern TV distributor and compete more directly with distributors of cable and satellite TV packages. Apple needs to get many more partners on board if it wants to make an impact but the easy of use and user experience should help attract users around the globe.