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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  1. Well….I live in Okinawa, Japan, associated with the U. S. Military, I have a Hulu Plus account with the Japan Hulu. Everything was working like a charm until this new update (5.3) came out of left field. Now I cannot access Hulu Plus. I put my email and password in, Region Error!!!! Half the reason I purchased an Apple TV while stationed overseas, was to was to watch movies and TV shows from my iTunes account and the other half to watch HULU Plus. I’m pretty savvy at researching problems online and figuring things out on my own so I’m not on a telephone for 3 hours with someone from India trying to tell me what my problem is when I clearly know what it is, Apple mucked it up!!! So, if anyone knows how to fix this error, I’ll be happy to listen.

    1. Give this a try — create an iTunes account with the Japanese iTunes store and login with that account. From what I read, Apple TV gets the region from your iTunes account login. You may need to restart your Apple TV or even reset it (restore it to factory configuration and then set it up with your Japanese iTunes account). It might also be possible to change your iTunes account to use Japan as a region. It may be simpler than creating a new one. If all else fails, you may have to deal with customer support, but I think this will work. Good luck!

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