Apple TV 4 offers live news in addition to on demand shows and clips. This article explains how to watch news on Apple TV 4.
We live in an age where so much is happening around the world. It seems that every day we awake to breaking news. These days, it seems much of the news is catastrophic. It’s all the more reason to stay informed. After all, you want to make sure it’s safe before you head out the door. Fortunately, Apple TV 4 provides several options for staying informed.
I turn on my Apple TV 4 every morning and watch live news. Most tvOS news apps are interactive. If the live feed isn’t interesting, I can browse other videos. This user experience is far superior to anything that cable or satellite have to offer.
This article is intended for the cord-cutter. None of the apps or services mentioned in this article require a cable or satellite subscription for activation. All of the apps and services covered in this article are absolutely free. First we’ll take a look at native tvOS news apps, in addition to video apps that offer news, such as YouTube and Livestream. We’ll also take a look at using AirPlay to beam virtually anything to your Apple TV, including local news.
Apple TV 4 News Apps
tvOS, the operating system for Apple TV 4, features an App Store, just like on the iPhone. Installing tvOS apps is quick and easy. Simply launch the App Store, search or browse for an app, and click on “Get” to install. The app is added to your home screen. You can also launch the app directly from the App Store after it’s installed. Launching apps with Siri is also convenient.
Apple TV 4, being a TV appliance, offers several news apps. The App Store features an entire category of news apps. It’s simply not possible to cover every news app. This article focuses on major news apps offering original, high quality content. Established networks have news bureaus virtually everywhere in the world. They’ve been investigating and reporting news for decades. Their corresponding tvOS apps tend to offer the best news programming.
CBS News is my go-to news app. It’s one of the few news providers offering a 24/7 live news broadcast. The new CBSN live news service starts playing when the app is launched. Swiping down on the Siri Remote’s Touchpad displays a menu with news clips from the past hour. Simply click on a clip to leave the live feed and watch the on-demand video. Browsing this timeline is a quick and easy way to get a summary of top stories.
The CBS News app also offers an extensive library of on-demand clips and news shows. Pressing the Menu button minimizes the CBSN live broadcast into a small picture-in-picture window while displaying a grid of on-demand options. Popular CBS News shows, such as CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning and 60 Minutes are also available.
The CBS News app is, by far, the best news app available on Apple TV. The user interface is bold, intuitive and easy to use. The live CBSN 24/7 news broadcast is a great way to stay informed any time of the day. I prefer it to CNN. CBSN is focused on news, where CNN has strayed into news-related programming. If I have a few minutes and I want to find out what’s happening in the world, nothing beats the CBS News app.
My preference for CBSN isn’t just an opinion. CBSN won a Webby award for best news and information channel. They’re also attracting more viewers than any other online streaming news service, setting new records for viewership this year.
CNN (via YouTube)
Although CNN offers the CNNgo app for tvOS, it requires a cable or satellite subscription for activation. These schemes may make sense for mobile devices, but your Apple TV is most likely in your home. If you have cable, why would you watch CNN on Apple TV? The user interface is better, but most cable boxes offer on-demand options and interactive capabilities. This move is all about business, but seems short-sighted. CNN is missing out on ad revenues and losing ground to competitors. Who cares about CNNgo, when you can watch a better 24/7 live news broadcast on the CBS News app?
Some people really love CNN and can’t do without it. Fortunately, you can still get CNN on Apple TV, even if you don’t subscribe to cable or satellite. There are two live CNN streams on YouTube. They aren’t operated by CNN, and the video quality is slightly below standard definition.
Finding the live CNN streams on YouTube is easy. First, launch the YouTube app on Apple TV. Next, search for CNN. You’ll see at least one CNN live stream in the search results. Simply launch the stream, and you’re watching CNN on Apple TV, without a cable or satellite subscription!
If you’re a stickler for facts and detail, without the drama, spin or frivolity of major network news, PBS is an excellent option. The PBS app for Apple TV offers a few news programs, including the PBS NewsHour. This long-running news program offers in-depth, intellectually stimulating, impartial and objective news coverage. In addition to top stories, they cover news from around the globe, often missed by major networks. The PBS NewsHour offers in-depth analysis from top government officials, credible academics and other quality sources. It’s the most intelligent news program and an oasis in the desert of frivolous, biased and simplistic corporate network news.
The PBS app offers the PBS NewsHour on demand, usually a few hours after it airs on TV. You can find it using the Shows or Search screen. Add it to your favorites for quick access.
The ABC News app for tvOS is one of the better news apps available on Apple TV. The app displays multiple, live streaming videos on its home screen. Unfortunately, unlike CBSN or CNN, ABC does not offer a 24/7 live news broadcast. They offer live streams of current events, such as speeches and press conferences. If ABC News is showing a scheduled news program, it is also available on the main screen. The main screen is impressive, with its display of multiple, live streaming videos. The actual content isn’t as compelling. For example, a live stream of the Old Faithful geyser isn’t breaking news, yet is one of the live streams on the ABC News app’s main screen.
ABC News’ on-demand offerings make up for the lack of compelling live content. Pressing the menu button displays a scrollable list of video playlists. The Top Stories playlist is an excellent way to stay informed, offering current news clips from Good Morning America, This Week and World News Tonight.
The ABC News app is one of the few offering local news from select affiliates. Locations include Abilene, Albuquerque, Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Columbia, El Paso, Fresno, Greenville/New Bern, Houston, Idaho Falls, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh, Redding/Chico/Red Bluff, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Syracuse. More local news affiliates are added periodically. We’ll take a look at other options for local news later in this article.
The NBC News app offers a no-frills collection of on-demand news clips from Nightly News, TODAY and Meet the Press. Although tvOS offers new capabilities for user interfaces, the NBC News app follows the same channel format as on older Apple TV models. The home screen offers a grid of video icons organized by topic. The top menu provides access to content organized by show.
Compared to other news apps, NBC’s offering is weak. It doesn’t even offer a search feature.
The FOX News app for Apple TV offers a comprehensive selection of clips from every FOX News program.
Although the app doesn’t offer a live feed of the FOX News broadcast, users can tune into live streams of current events and FOX News Talk radio. Launching the app for the first time presents the user with personalization options. These can be changed in the Settings menu. Users can browse clips from the personalized main screen or by news topics and shows. The app doesn’t offer any search functionality, however, the personalization feature makes it easy to find what you looking for.
The Auto Play feature is turned off by default. This feature will play the next
clip automatically, making it seem more like live TV. You can turn this feature on from the Settings menu.
USA Today is the Cliff Notes of news. They offer simplified news coverage for those who just want the gist of the news. Although they are known for their newspaper, the company has expanded into the digital realm, with a website, and now, a tvOS app.
As one would expect, their app is very simple. Upon launching the app, I was presented with movie trailers, not news. Scrolling down displays a collection of short video clips. The videos are generally low quality and often comprised of still images with narration. There are no settings or menu options. The app is very simple in all respects. This app is great for those who just want a quick, simple overview of current events.
Sky News was the first media outlet to offer 24/7 live news coverage on Apple TV. I was watching Sky News years ago on my Apple TV 2, when it was the only option for live news. Although based in the UK, the network offers an international news cast, with a focus on the UK. If you’re interested in world affairs, Sky News is an excellent option. Sky News is a major international news broadcaster with bureaus and reporters all over the world. Their 24/7 news broadcast offers high quality, comprehensive news coverage.
The Sky News app hasn’t changed much from its origins on older Apple TV models. It offers a grid of video clips and an icon to launch the live news broadcast. The top menu offers another way to launch the live broadcast, browse categories and search content. The app is simple and easy to use, but nothing special. The Sky News app is all about the content.
The Livestream app offers a multitude of live broadcasts from around the world. The streams include nature cameras and pet cameras, but many local and international news networks also use the service. Livestream offers local news and news broadcasts from far off lands. Browsing the news streams, I was able to find live broadcasts from CNBC Arabia, Cayman 27 News, Taradek (Thailand), Myanmar International TV and many other international networks. Local news is also abundant on Livestream. If you’re watching at the right time, the news category is full of broadcasts from local affiliates. Unfortunately, Livestream didn’t have any local news in San Francisco. Search for the city or call letters of your local affiliate to check if they offer Livestream broadcasts.
Podcasts have been around for over a decade, and continue to grow in popularity. Some podcasts, such as Serial, are even more popular than most cable TV shows. Podcasts are an excellent way to get news. Apple TV 4 features a built-in Podcasts app. Users can subscribe to both audio and video podcasts. NPR’s hourly, five-minute audio news broadcast is released as a podcast every hour. It’s one of the best ways to get a quick overview of recent news. BBC, FOX News, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, PBS and many other networks offer at least one program as a podcast. Simply go to the Top Charts and filter for News & Politics to browse news podcasts.
The stock Podcasts app for Apple TV 4 is mediocre. It actually regresses from the older Apple TV Podcasts “channel”, as it no longer provides the ability to filter audio and video podcasts. If you bought an Apple TV, you may prefer video podcasts. Finding video podcasts is a chore with the built-in Podcasts app. It’s just one of many mediocre apps from Apple. They make great devices and excellent operating systems, but most of their stock apps are mediocre at best. The App Store offers a few alternatives, however, most are poorly rated. They’re not free either. If you’re really into podcasts, I recommend using a quality podcast app on your iOS device or computer. You can use AirPlay to beam it to your Apple TV.
Use AirPlay to Beam News onto Apple TV 4
AirPlay is Apple’s technology for wirelessly beaming content across devices. It can be used to transmit audio and video from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac to an Apple TV. Third-party AirPlay software, such as AirParrot, provides the same features to older Macs, Windows PCs and Chromebooks. There’s even third-party AirPlay support for Android. Keep in mind, older, slower computers or devices might not have enough power to support AirPlay.
Not every content provider has created a tvOS app. Furthermore, some broadcasters limit the functionality of their tvOS apps. For example, FOX News doesn’t provide their live broadcast on Apple TV 4. They do offer a live broadcast on their website. A lot of local affiliates simply don’t have the resources to develop a tvOS app. They may have a website that offers live or on-demand broadcasts of local news. If you can play these videos on your computer, you can beam them onto Apple TV using AirPlay.
The video app U-Stream offers a lot of local news broadcasts. I sometimes use it to watch KRON’s local news programs. Using the U-Stream iOS app, I can beam content onto my Apple TV. Your local affiliate may also offer an iOS app with news videos. You can probably beam these onto Apple TV using AirPlay.
It’s important to realize that Apple TV can go beyond the tvOS apps available in the App Store. If you can’t find it on the tvOS App Store, try looking in the iOS App Store or on the web. You’ll be amazed at how much more content is available to your Apple TV with AirPlay.