Apple TV Channels by Cost

Apple TV Channels by Cost

By popular demand, this article presents Apple TV channels ordered by cost.

NOTE: This article covers Apple TV channels for the 2nd and 3rd generation models. The new Apple TV 4 features an App Store with thousands of apps, many of which are content channels.

Interested in Apple TV 4 and tvOS? Check out these articles:

 

Appledystopia Heard You!

I listen to my readers. They often put forth constructive criticism and good advice. The “Apple TV Channels” article offers a more verbose narrative describing each channel. It’s a great read if you want details on each Apple TV channel. Unfortunately, this presentation made it difficult for readers to get a quick glance of Apple TV channel costs.

Some readers contend that most Apple TV channels require a TV provider (cable, satellite, U-verse). This is actually a misconception. Several channels require a TV provider, but most do not. A lot of the TV provider-bound or subscription channels also offer some free content.

As a cord-cutter, I considered how I could elucidate this discrepancy. Readers were getting lost in the narrative and their heuristic tally of channel costs was seemingly inaccurate. Offering this data in a tabular format should make it clear — there’s a lot of free content on Apple TV. The channels are ordered by increasing cost, with free channels first and subscription channels last. Let’s take a look at what the cost categories mean.

Free Apple TV Channels

A free Apple TV channel is just that — gratis. There are no subscription charges. You will not need to activate the channel with a TV provider for access. I watch these free channels all the time, and many of them are excellent. PBS, for example, is a treasure trove of excellent content. I often stay informed with ABC News, Sky News or other free news channels. Both Sky News and CBS News offer 24/7 live, streaming news for free. PBS does require free activation on their website. This provides access to your local PBS affiliate’s content.

Limited Free Content; Requires TV Provider

Some Apple TV channels offer free content, but require activation with a TV provider for full access. These channels typically offer short clips, sports scores and stats. Some offer full episodes of TV shows. Cord-cutters can enjoy some free content on these channels.

Limited Free Content; Requires TV Provider; Extra Content with Subscription

Tennis Channel Everywhere offers three tiers of access. Viewers can enjoy some free content. A TV provider subscription offers more content. A Tennis Channel Plus subscription enables access to even more content. Tennis Channel Everywhere is the only Apple TV Channel in this cost category.

Limited Free Content; Subscription

A subscription service charges a monthly or annual fee for access. Viewers do not need a TV provider to access these channels. They can subscribe to the channel directly. Some of these channels offer free content without a subscription. This is most common with sports channels, which tend to offer clips, highlights and stats for free.

Limited Free Content; iTunes Purchase

iTunes TV shows generally require a purchase. If you browse the iTunes store on your iOS device or computer, you can find free TV episodes. Accessing these free episodes on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or computer will present them as “purchases” on your Apple TV. From there, they can be viewed directly on Apple TV. You can also beam them from your device to Apple TV using AirPlay.

Limited Free Content; Subscription; Pay-Per-View

UFC offers some free content, but requires a subscription for more complete access. Pay-per-view events are not covered by the subscription costs. These pricing tiers are specific to the UFC channel.

Requires TV Provider

Only a few Apple TV channels will stonewall viewers who don’t have a TV provider. These channels offer absolutely no free content. When you access the channel, you are instructed to activate with your TV provider.

iTunes Rental or Purchase

iTunes Movies are available for rent or purchase directly on Apple TV. You can also purchase these on any device that offers the iTunes store and play them on your Apple TV using the same Apple ID.

iTunes Purchase

Apart from the free (and controversial) U2 album, iTunes music must be purchased. Any iTunes song or album you have purchased will be presented on the Music channel in Apple TV.

Subscription

Subscription channels require a monthly or annual fee for access. Netflix is the most popular example of an Apple TV subscription channel.

Apple TV Channels by Cost

The following table presents Apple TV channels ordered by cost. You can click on any channel to view more information.

ChannelCost
ABC Newsfree
ACC Sportsfree
AOL Onfree
Apple Eventsfree
Bloombergfree
CBS Newsfree
CBS Sportsfree
Cracklefree
Computersfree
Dailymotionfree
Flickrfree
Fusionfree
iCloud Photosfree
iMovie Theaterfree
iTunes Festivalfree
iTunes Radiofree
M2Mfree
120 Sportsfree
PBSfree
PBS Kidsfree
Podcastsfree
Radiofree
Red Bull TVfree
Smithsonian Channelfree
Sky Newsfree
Tastemadefree
TEDfree
The Beatlesfree
The Scenefree
Trailersfree
Vevofree
Vimeofree
Weather Channelfree
WSJ Livefree
Yahoo Screenfree
Young Hollywoodfree
YouTubefree
A&Elimited free content; requires TV provider
CNBClimited free content; requires TV provider
CNNgolimited free content; requires TV provider
Crunchyrolllimited free content; requires TV provider
ESPNlimited free content; requires TV provider
FOX NOWlimited free content; requires TV provider
FX NOWlimited free content; requires TV provider
FYIlimited free content; requires TV provider
HBO GOlimited free content; requires TV provider
Historylimited free content; requires TV provider
Lifetimelimited free content; requires TV provider
NatGeo TVlimited free content; requires TV provider
NBClimited free content; requires TV provider
NBC Sports Live Extralimited free content; requires TV provider
Showtime Anytimelimited free content; requires TV provider
USA NOWlimited free content; requires TV provider
Tennis Channel Everywherelimited free content; requires TV provider; extra content with subscription
CBSlimited free content; subscription
MLB.TVlimited free content; subscription
MLSlimited free content; subscription
NBAlimited free content; subscription
NFLlimited free content; subscription
NHLlimited free content; subscription
TV Showslimited free content; iTunes purchase
UFClimited free content; subscription; pay-per-view
ABCrequires TV provider
Disneyrequires TV provider
Disney Juniorrequires TV provider
Disney XDrequires TV provider
MoviesiTunes rental or purchase
MusiciTunes purchase
Feelnsubscription
HBO NOWsubscription
Hulusubscription
KORTVsubscription
Netflixsubscription
Qellosubscription
Showtimesubscription
Willowsubscription
WWE Networksubscription




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53 thoughts on “Apple TV Channels by Cost

  1. Thanks so much for the info. I just got Apple TV and havent been finding a lot that is free. The Netflix does not have even half of what the real Netflix website has and I dont understand that. I also cannot access my Netflix list of movies I wanted to watch. A printable table/chart of this info would be awesome! Then I could use it to do comparison with other services more easily since some people say Apple TV has the least content.

    • I haven’t subscribed to Netflix in some time, but it should offer every streaming program on Apple TV. I’ll look into this. I know that a lot of their DVD and Blu-Ray rentals are not available for streaming, due to licensing costs. Can you give me an example of a program that can stream on their website but not on Apple TV?

      Keep in mind, you can always beam content to your Apple TV using AirPlay screen mirroring. It’s a great way to beam web-based content onto Apple TV. Newer Macs have native support for this, but if you have an older Mac or Windows machine, check out AirParrot 2.

    • I have read that some of the channels on the 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TV are not available on the new model yet. It may take some time for developers to make a tvOS app. They didn’t get a lot of time to do this. In time, I expect the new Apple TV to have more content than the 2nd and 3rd generation models. Of course, with AirPlay, you can get pretty much anything on the older Apple TVs. I use it to beam Spotify to my Apple TV, which is connected to my stereo.

    • TheBlaze is not a built-in channel on the 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs. That’s what I am covering here. There are far too many apps on the 4th gen model to compile such a list. I think a lot of people will still buy a 3rd gen Apple TV. This is also a handy reference for those who already own one.

      I think one can beam TheBlaze on to Apple TV using their iOS app. Again, that’s beyond the scope of this article.

    • It all depends on the developers. They need to create tvOS apps and submit them to the App Store. You can beam just about anything onto Apple TV using AirPlay. AirPlay clients are native to iOS and newer Macs, but third-party apps bring AirPlay support to Windows, ChromeOS and many other operating systems. Older Macs can also use software to enable AirPlay. AirParrot is one of the most popular AirPlay clients, and I like it a lot. I have an older Mac and I use AirParrot to beam video to my Apple TV.

  2. As with all Apple products it is difficult to get product information. I have been looking and have been looking and have only found limited information on Apple TV

    • I am working on an unofficial manual for Apple TV. I agree. There’s not a lot of good information on Apple TV. The booklets that come with the device don’t scratch the surface. They want people to go into the Apple Store, hoping they will walk out with another purchase.

  3. I am considering to “unplug” what does it mean when it Requires TV Provider?
    Basic cable? Can you please explain exactly how to connect to TV provider using Apple TV. Thank You

    • It means that you need a cable, satellite or telecom (AT&T U-verse) subscription in order to activate the channel. If you go to the Apple TV settings screen on any of these channels, they provide activation instructions for each TV provider. A lot of cable, satellite and telecom companies are supported, but not all.

      Basically, you go to your cable company’s website (Apple TV will display specific instructions, based on your TV provider) and create an account. Then you can activate the channel.

      If you are cutting the cord, “unplugging”, or canceling cable, you won’t be able to gain full access to these channels. Don’t worry. I cancelled cable years ago. You can get everything on Apple TV, even without cable. You just have to look at it differently. Instead of going to say, NBC to watch a particular show, you watch it on Hulu or iTunes. Just think in terms of shows and not networks.

      Hulu has a lot of TV shows. Anything else can be purchased a la carte on iTunes. Every sport, except NFL, seems to have some app, although they typically require a subscription. Personally, I just subscribe to HBO NOW and buy a few shows on iTunes. I wasn’t even using Netflix or Hulu that much to justify paying for them. I may subscribe to these if I get bored of HBO. I can watch the newest episode of, say, The Daily Show for free using the Comedy Central tvOS app on the new Apple TV. Of course, they lock the older episodes, which can only be accessed by activating the app with a TV provider. No problem. I just make sure to watch the new episode as soon as possible. Most Comedy Central shows are available on Hulu. I can watch Downton Abbey and Sherlock for free on the PBS app.

      There’s nothing to lose. If you cancel cable and go with Apple TV, and find it doesn’t fulfill your needs, your cable company will likely give you an even better deal to sign up again. If not, a competitor will. TV providers are frightened and bending over backwards to keep customers.

      Personally, I dislike cable. I didn’t like the cable boxes. The UI is horrible. Their on demand offerings were incomplete. Sifting through hundreds of channels of garbage (food and reality shows) was tiresome. I have never regretted cutting the cord and going with Apple TV!

    • If you don’t have any Apple products or content, that may be the case. For someone who has an iPhone or other Apple products, Apple TV is probably a better option. I can’t play my iTunes music, TV shows or movies on Amazon Fire TV. So for me, and millions of others, it’s not as good. It’s actually possible to play Amazon content on Apple TV. In fact, Amazon is working on a tvOS app to natively support Amazon content on Apple TV. For now, it can be done using AirPlay. It’s also possible for me to beam content or mirror the screen of my iPhone, iPad, Mac or even Windows PC onto my Apple TV using AirPlay. That opens up a whole new world of content.

  4. if it requires a provider, does that mean I have to maintain the same package or can I get a smaller package use my account to get access to the channels

  5. For channels that are ‘free with a tv provide,’ do you need to have those channels with your tv provider? For example – Do I need to have ESPN on my cable provider in order to have it on Apple TV, or can I just get the most basic cable package? I know for movie channels (like HBO GO) I need to have a subscription for that.

    • I did some research, and you need ESPN as part of the package in order to activate it on Apple TV.

      Hang in there. This whole industry is transforming, with networks like HBO and Showtime now offering streaming subscriptions without the need for cable. It’s only a matter of time before EPSN and others offer their content independent of TV providers. There is a rumor that Apple will be launching a paid channel lineup of the most popular cable channels, directly on Apple TV. The negotiations are ongoing. It’s a bit frustrating that the industry is lagging so far behind the technology, but they’re in collusion with the cable, satellite and telco industry. I expect the price of Internet service to increase as this transition progresses.

    • Apple TV doesn’t offer FOX News as a built-in channel. There isn’t a FOX News tvOS app for the new Apple TV either. At best, you can download their iOS app from the App Store and it might support AirPlay. If not, AirPlay screen mirroring will probably work, unless they have disabled it. It happens. The iOS app requires a TV provider subscription.

      If you have a computer, there is a workaround that doesn’t require a TV provider subscription. Simply go to the FOX News Video website and click on Watch Live. Next, tap the full screen button on the video player. You can mirror your computer’s screen onto Apple TV using AirPlay (newer Macs) or AirParrot (older Macs, Windows, Linux, ChromeOS). AirParrot 2 costs $14.99, but it is well worth the price.

    • I have seen other people complaining about this online, but I don’t see it. I just watched PBS last night on my new, fourth generation Apple TV. I haven’t donated, but I have all of the content I would expect. I have watched all of Downton Abbey, Sherlock and other programs. I don’t see what’s missing. Can you give me an example?

      The PBS channel has always only offered a few of the newest episodes. It’s about licensing issues. They don’t have every episode of Downton Abbey. After a few weeks, they remove the episodes. I still find it to be tremendously useful for watching PBS shows. I just need to make sure not to wait too long.

  6. Looking for MeTV. Our local cable provider cuts in and out with the programing for that network. Bought an Apple device but can’t find it listed.

    • I checked out MeTV, and it looks like it is only available on cable and over the air. They don’t seem to have an app or even on-demand content on their website. You may be able to watch some of these shows with other providers. Netflix and Hulu have some of these older shows. I know Netflix has Star Trek and MASH.

      If MeTV offered an app or on-demand video on a website, you could use AirPlay to beam it to Apple TV. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

    • Good point. The content does vary based on locale. Some services are only available in the U.S. I checked out the Apple TV website for the Mexican market, but they don’t list which content providers are available. I see Netflix and a few others, but no Hulu.

      There is a workaround. If you subscribe to a VPN service, your Internet connection can use a U.S. IP address. Some content providers are cracking down on this practice, by disallowing IPs originating from VPN services. It seems that a lot of people are having success using VPN overseas.

    • Unfortunately, the new, fourth generation Apple TV does not support 4K resolution. The hardware can theoretically support 4K, however, I am not sure they will support this feature in an upcoming update. If 4K is important to you, check out Roku 4 or Amazon Fire TV. They already support 4K.

  7. It’s hard to believe that still, in 2016, Fox Sports Go is STILL not on Apple TV… I watch the NBC Sports and Watch ESPN ALL the time on it! It’s such a great way to stream sports in HD on your flat-screen without having to use ANOTHER device like your Iphone or Ipad.
    Get with the program FOX… Tell whatever office donkeys you have in the cubicles to stop LOL’ing at cat playing the piano e-mails… Just for like one afternoon.
    #Clowns

    • I agree. It is so frustrating that the technology has been here for over a decade, yet these networks seem to think it is the mid 90s. I think it is the deal making between cable providers and the networks. Indeed, Comcast owns NBC/Universal. They have put their toe in the water, but they still require cable activation for most content. My hunch is that FOX has some deals with the cable providers to stay away from streaming. Either that, or their management hasn’t figured out how to make money from streaming technologies. (Hint: advertising!)

      I cancelled cable a long time ago. I hated it. It was nothing but hassles and the cable box UI was terrible. On demand would stop working for several days. I couldn’t believe I was paying so much for such lousy service.

      One possible workaround — try using AirPlay with the app. Also, a lot of FOX content can be played on a computer-based web browser. If you get an app like AirParrot or have a newer Mac, you can use AirPlay to beam content to your Apple TV. Anything on your PC or Mac can be beamed onto Apple TV.

  8. Hello, I want to be a cord cutter desperately but my favorite channels like the Cooking Channel, FoodNetwork, Galavision and the new Freedom Channel aren’t anywhere on your lists_ not even the subscription or cable activations. 🙁 Any news about these?

  9. A subscription to CBS is a whole lot cheaper than a cable package necessary to get any of the “requires TV provider” options.

    Why do you present those as ‘cheaper’??

  10. So with ESPN, I won’t be able to watch games or the shows without a cable provider? Or would I be able to pay a subscription fee like say Netflix and Hulu to get all the content

    • Right, you need a TV provider subscription in order to watch ESPN. It kind of defeats the purpose of using an Apple TV. It’s a business decision. Networks like ESPN are still colluding with TV providers.

      Apple TV does have a variety of sports channels that don’t require a cable subscription. These are specific to each sport and require a subscription fee. For example, the NBA channel gives you access to basketball games with a paid subscription. The only caveat is that some of these have blackouts. If the game is broadcast on local TV or is “in market”, you might not be able to watch it on Apple TV, even with a subscription. Make sure to read the details about each service before signing up.

      If you have the 4th generation Apple TV, some of the sports apps are much better than cable TV. Some of the sports apps have very advanced, interactive user interfaces. You can look up information on players, watch two games at the same time, and enjoy other interactive features.

      There are solid rumors that Apple will be offering a live TV channel lineup for Apple TV. The negotiations have stalled, but perhaps we may see this introduced at the WWDC next month. Everyone expects some big announcement about Apple TV. ESPN may be part of the bundle. Stay tuned…

  11. I have bought Apple TV 4th generation
    How do i access the free content? All i can see is the standard Movie and iTune logos alomg with App and Computer etc. No content unless i go to the banner at top – how do i access the content?

    • You can launch an app (Movies, TV Shows) by using the Siri Remote’s Touchpad to move to the app, then click on the Touchpad. If it’s not clear which app is selected, rotate your finger over the Touchpad and you’ll see the app’s icon move.

      As for free content, you’ll need to download the apps individually from the App Store. Use the Touchpad to move to the App Store icon and click the Touchpad to launch it. From there, you can browse content apps, games, and everything else.

      This article is specific to the channels included on the 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs. Apple still sells the 3rd generation model, and, at the time of this writing, more people own 2nd and 3rd generation models than Apple TV 4.

      Most of these channels are available for Apple TV 4. They are available in the App Store. In fact, Apple TV 4 has way more content channels than the older models. Apple announced yesterday that there are 1300 content channels on the new Apple TV. I don’t doubt this. That’s why I can’t possibly write an article like this one for Apple TV 4. You’ll have to explore the App Store to find content apps. A few of my favorites free ones are: CBSN, ABC News, Sky News, YouTube and Comedy Central. The latter isn’t completely free, but I’m able to watch a lot of free episodes.

      I do have a very detailed manual for Apple TV 4 — “Apple TV 4: The Unofficial Manual”. It’s a collection of articles that will help you get the most out of Apple TV 4. I don’t plan on writing a channel guide for Apple TV 4, as there are simply way too many apps and channels to cover. I will probably write some articles about the best apps and content channels.

    • Some of the apps, or channels, offer local news sections. ABC News offers local news for some cities. Sometimes your local affiliate will have an app. In the SF Bay Area, KRON offers an app and a U-Stream feed of their local newscasts. NBC 11 offers live broadcasts of their news as well. You can beam these onto Apple TV using AirPlay. If you look beyond Apple TV, AirPlay opens up a lot of possibilities. I used to watch the local news with KRON’s app, but now I prefer CBSN, the 24-hour CBS news station. They have an excellent app for Apple TV 4. They also offer a channel for the older Apple TV models. It’s free and does not require a cable subscription.

      A lot of people who cut the cord will get an antenna so they can watch local programming. That’s always an option.

      For the most part, the news channels on Apple TV aren’t local. LiveStream for Apple TV 4 offers several local channels. They also offer an iOS app that supports AirPlay, so it can be used with older Apple TVs.

      • I believe that for Apple TV to be relevant and successful they have to get to this Single Logon and make this a one time setup then all we want to watch is embedded in the Apple TV menu and we are not having to beam from AirPlay when we find Apple TV doesn’t offer the station .

        • That’s coming with tvOS 10 this fall. I personally would like to see Apple TV operate independently of cable/satellite subscriptions. Hulu will launch a bundle of live TV channels soon. Sling TV already has something like this. The problem is, they are all missing major networks. The technology is here. It has been for a decade. We just have to wait for the business interests to catch up. There’s been a few news stories that Apple execs are very arrogant in negotiations, which is causing delays. They want special treatment. They don’t want to honor industry standard agreements. Eddie Cue shows up late to meetings with network execs, wearing jeans, sneakers and a Hawaiian shirt. The networks don’t play by Silicon Valley rules.

          I also think AirPlay is kind of a hack and that native tvOS apps are a better experience. Apple really hobbled AirPlay on tvOS. It’s not as stable or reliable as it used to be. I’m always getting dropouts when playing music. They seem to have limited the size of the buffer. If I walk in between my WiFi router and Apple TV, I will often get a second of dead air. I don’t use Apple Music because I found it to be too buggy. The dropouts were even worse. But I never had these problems with Apple TV 2!

          I really like Google Play Music. It’s a great service and they have a very good iOS app. I hope they will deliver a tvOS app, but as it stands, they bypass Apple’s in-app purchases. This may cause problems if they launch a tvOS app. Of course, the lack of tvOS users may also make the platform unattractive to Google. It’s hard to justify spending money to develop a tvOS app, when there aren’t enough potential customers.

          I also used Spotify. It’s also better than Apple Music, but not as good as Google Play Music. Google’s service has 35 million songs, so I am finding more of the music I was missing on Apple Music and Spotify. It’s a shame that very few people are writing about Google Play Music.

    • I checked the Apple TV 4 App Store, and there isn’t a Pac 12 Network app for tvOS. There’s one for iOS. I downloaded it on my iPhone and was able to use AirPlay to beam videos to my Apple TV. The app does require cable/satellite provider activation for full access.

      • Thank you for the reply. I guess where I am at is I am a DirecTv subscriber. I want to move completely away from DTV and move to Apple TV. Its very hard to compare pricing unfortunately. I can’t tell if there is a group of subscriptions I can choose from on Apple TV to compare to what I have with DTV. Unfortunately I can AirPlay the PAC 12 Network but I don’t have a subscription to their service as they do not have a contract with DirecTv.

        • It’s a frustrating situation. I cut the cord a few years ago, and I make do by purchasing a la carte content as I need to. That’s actually quite expensive when it comes to sports. I use a few streaming services, but usually stick with one at a time.

          For now, I think you’re better off sticking with DirecTV.

          Time Warner just bought a 10% stake in Hulu. This seems to indicate that they see Internet streaming as the future.

  12. I read about “cutting the cord”, but I don’t understand how I can get our favorite shows using Apple TV exclusively!
    We get FOX, CBS, NBC (our favorite), PBS, Disney (for when grandkids visit), TV Land (for Everybody loves Raymond, King of Queens), FOX Sorts MW (for Cardinals games) and several more.

    We also have a smart tv where we can get on-demand videos and Vudu for on-demand movies.

    Is Internet-TV the right choice for us?

    • You may be better off sticking with cable. For all the technological advances, the business models are still stuck in the 1970s. Cable companies want you to subscribe to cable because it costs money to move to a new business model, especially a more competitive one. In most parts of the nation, you have one or two choices. Networks and the cable industry are in collusion to prevent direct access to their content.

      It is possible to watch everything you want on Apple TV, but it may end up costing more than cable. If you cut the cord, you will no longer have a cable account used to activate some of the network Apple TV channels. That means you would have to pay for some of these channels.

      FOX: You can’t get FOX without a cable subscription for activation. You can get most of FOX News and some FOX programming on Hulu. The remaining shows can be purchased, a la carte, on iTunes.

      CBS: CBS requires a cable subscription for activation. You can subscribe to CBS All Access for $5 a month, which gives you all of their programming without a cable subscription.

      NBC: NBC requires a cable subscription for activation. Since they are part of the Hulu partnership, you can get most of their shows on Hulu.

      PBS: PBS is free, but they recently started requiring an extra $5/mo “donation” for “passport” access. This gives you access to everything. Without it, you can still watch a lot for free. I watch the PBS NewsHour for free.

      Disney: Disney offers multiple channels on Apple TV, but they all require activation with a cable or satellite provider.

      TV Land: No tvOS app available, but they do offer an iOS app (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch). You can download the app and beam shows to Apple TV using AirPlay. It usually looks good, unless the network hobbles the video quality. (You can use AirPlay to beam a lot of content to Apple TV from an iOS device or computer.)

      FOX Sports: There is a FOX Sports Go tvOS app for Apple TV, but it requires a cable or satellite subscription for activation. It also has blackouts. MLB offers their own app, which is quite impressive. It’s interactive and far beyond anything you’d find on a cable box. Unfortunately, it’s also quite expensive. It’s $24.99 in the off season. I believe it’s still about $130 during the regular season.

      Given all the expenses, you may end up paying more with Apple TV than if you just stuck with cable. At this point, the only advantage would be a better user experience and other apps — games and interactive media.

  13. Appledystopia, you seem to know your stuff. I have a quick question for you. I downloaded the DirecTV App to my wife’s iPad Pro. I think it used to be called GenieGo. Anyway, it will let me sign in to our DirecTV account and watch live shows, movies, etc. just as I would on the DirecTV satellite, but on the iPad Pro. Can this also be done on Apple TV? I currently have an older Samsung Plasma Smart TV and was wanting to know if I got the Apple TV box, if I could install the DirecTV App on it and watch the content on my TV, like I can on the iPad Pro? Thank you.

    • DirecTV NOW is coming to Apple TV soon. In fact, AT&T will be giving away free Apple TVs to new subscribers. For now, the DirecTV iOS app does have limited support for AirPlay (the technology that enables one to beam content from an iOS device to Apple TV). Unfortunately, I read that one has to use AirPlay mirroring, which, in this case, doesn’t look great.

      Sometimes AirPlay mirroring looks great. Most video apps support AirPlay without mirroring the screen. AirPlay mirroring basically beams the entire screen of your device onto Apple TV. Standard AirPlay beams just the audio or video content. The latter is usually better quality, but sometimes mirroring can look great. It’s all up to the app developer.

      I would suggest waiting on the Apple TV purchase. There’s going to be great deals. You can probably get the 32GB model for $99 or less soon. Even Apple is going to have black Friday specials. I think 32GB is more than enough, because most content is streamed and the games aren’t that great. I bought a 64GB model at Costco (it was the only one they sold) and I doubt I will ever come close to filling it up even half way with apps.

      Radio Shack had some great deals on Apple TV’s last year, and I expect the same this year. I think Apple TV is overpriced. I think Apple will drop the price on it after Thanksgiving.

    • It all depends on the service you get. It’s very complicated, because unlike cable or satellite, Apple TV is just a device. It can run many different services. DIRECTV NOW is actually one of them, and they offer different packages. I have to warn you that these cable-over-the-Internet packages have limitations. Some of the programs are blacked out. I’m not talking local sports, but just some movie will be blacked out, because they don’t have the rights to broadcast it. Then there are channels that are simply not available. Some services don’t have Comedy Central or CBS. There’s a lot of weird deals going on, as this new technology has inspired a new level of corporate greed. You could end up spending $80/mo on DIRECTV NOW (they have cheaper plans, as low as $30), another $60 for Internet access, and wind up with something inferior to cable. The new technology has resulted in renegotiating everything. I’ve tried PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. None of them are as good as cable or satellite.

      It will change. Hulu will be launching a service that seems promising. I will try it and review it. They actually have CBS on board.

      With Apple TV, your costs depend on your needs. Right now, I have a subscription to Netflix and I rent the occasional movie on iTunes or Google Play. When I get sick of Netflix, I switch to HBO NOW. I get free news from CBSN (there’s a lot of free content). I subscribe to Google Play Music (which I beam onto Apple TV using AirPlay). I spend about $25 a month. But if you’re looking for something similar to cable, right now, the options are a bit disappointing. They seem great, but after evaluating them, I found them all to be inferior to cable — buggy, limited channels, blocked content.

      DIRECTV NOW has a great deal, where you get an Apple TV for free if you sign up for three months of their service. It’s $105 for the deal, which is a great price just for the Apple TV, but you also get three months of DIRECTV NOW. It’s an excellent way to test the waters. If you don’t like it, you could easily sell the Apple TV, maybe for more. Doesn’t seem like there’s much of a downside. If you want to go back to satellite-based DirecTV, I’m sure they’d take you back with an even better deal. If not, cable companies always have great introductory offers.

      One great thing about Apple TV — apps. There are great games and apps. It’s like having an iPhone on the big screen, with a few exceptions. There’s no web browser and there aren’t as many apps as for the iPhone. But I have really enjoyed some of the games. Just make sure not to drop the remote, because it is made out of glass!

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