Appledystopia: Independent Technology News

Apple TV 5.3: Worth Upgrading?

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Apple TV 5.3 update

Apple quietly released the 5.3 update for Apple TV. I applied this update to my Apple TV and feel it is worth upgrading. The new update adds 5 new content channels as well as increased stability for the iTunes Store. This seems to fix the “Cannot Connect to iTunes Store” issue that can occasionally surface. Let’s take a look at the new update and what it offers.

New Content Channels

The 5.3 update places new icons on the home screen. Apple TV now has HBO GO, ESPN, Sky News, Qello, and Crunchyroll. The TV platform, which was once considered just a hobby is now becoming an industry leader. Apple TV may not have as much standalone content as Roku, but with AirPlay, you can access almost everything.


The best premium cable channel is now streaming on your Apple TV. Before you get too excited, you need an HBO cable subscription to use it. You cannot directly subscribe to HBO GO.

If you know someone with cable who doesn’t have HBO, you can offer to pay for their HBO subscription in exchange for access. HBO costs between $15-20, depending on the cable provider. HBO GO for Apple TV has all HBO content, on demand. It’s worth it.

Users who cannot finagle an HBO GO subscription can get some use out of the new service. There are free clips available for non-subscribers. You can purchase many HBO programs on iTunes. HBO also has a YouTube channel providing clips and whole episodes to non-subscribers. It only offers one introductory episode of a show. The channel is meant to entice users into subscribing.

These sweetheart deals with cable providers can’t last forever. Cable is a dying industry and cord-cutters like me are ditching cable every day. The industry is too greedy. They expect people to pay $150/mo for content that is mostly garbage. Support for on-demand content is weak. I expect HBO to eventually transition into online content. Until then, cord cutters will have to buy shows a la carte on iTunes. (continue…)

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