Apple TV tvOS Apps

Apple TV tvOS Apps

The new Apple TV brings apps to your living room with the tvOS operating system. This article lists the top tvOS apps and contains a video with every Apple TV app available in the App Store.

TV devices, such as Apple TV, are steadily gaining a presence in homes across the world. The latest Apple TV runs the tvOS operating system, which is similar iOS for the iPhone and iPad. In fact, tvOS is based on core iOS code. This means that Apple TV is fully capable of running apps, just like your iPhone and iPad.

Previous models of Apple TV only offered “channels” and not apps. There was no App Store. Instead, Apple worked with developers and pushed new channels as they were made available. This kept the number of channels down, as developers just didn’t have the technology to develop apps or the market to deploy them. Furthermore, the technology only allowed for simple apps. At best, they could play video and retrieve data such as weather forecasts. The 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs were quite limited.

Apple launched the new and improved Apple TV 4 running the tvOS operating system. Along with tvOS, Apple created the App Store for Apple TV, providing a market for developers. Although the number of apps pales in comparison to the iOS App Store, they offer much more functionality than previous Apple TV channels. In addition to video content apps, the tvOS App Store offers games and other utilities. In fact, some tvOS games rival those found on game consoles.

There’s a lot of tvOS apps in the App Store — too many to list in an article. New ones are added every day. It’s a moving target. Potential Apple TV owners are often curious about apps available to Apple TV. Unfortunately, they can’t browse the tvOS App Store without an Apple TV. A quick overview of the top 10 free and paid apps can assist potential Apple TV owners. Make sure to watch the video (below) showing every Apple TV app in the App Store.

Top 10 Free Apple TV tvOS Apps

Updated November 1, 2018

Netflix1. Netflix: Watch TV shows, movies and Netflix original programming. Requires a paid monthly subscription.

 

2. Amazon Prime Video: Enjoy thousands of TV shows and movies using your Amazon Prime membership. Requires a paid subscription.

 

YouTube3. YouTube: Watch videos posted by creators from around the world. YouTube Red subscription (ad free experience and access to YouTube original programming) is optional.

 

Hulu4. Hulu: Watch recent and past episodes of popular TV shows and movies. Requires a paid monthly subscription.

 

ABC5. ABC: Watch popular shows such as Dancing with the Stars, Modern Family and Quantico. Requires a TV provider subscription for activation.

 

Watch ESPN6. ESPN: Watch live and on demand sporting events. Requires activation with a participating TV provider.

 

NBC7. NBC: Watch free episodes of popular NBC shows such as This is Us, Will and Grace and The Voice. Activation with a TV provider allows access to even more shows.

 

Pandora8. Pandora: Stream your favorite music. Create up to 100 personalized radio stations for free.

 

9. The CW: Watch your favorite CW shows on demand, for free, without subscribing to cable or satellite TV.

 

HBO GO10. HBO GO: Watch every HBO show and movie on demand. Requires a TV provider and HBO subscription for activation.

 

Top 10 Paid Apple TV tvOS Apps

Updated November 1, 2018

RadarScope1. RadarScope: View real-time NEXRAD Level 3 and Super-resolution weather radar feeds. Price $9.99.

 

2. Alto’s Odyssey: This sequel to Alto’s Adventure features an endless sandboarding adventure. A game controller is optional. Price: $4.99

 

Badland3. BADLAND: Award winning action adventure platform game with amazing graphics and physics. A game controller is optional. Price: $0.99

 

Leo's Fortune4. Leo’s Fortune: Adventure game where the player hunts down a thief. A game controller is optional. Price: $4.99

 

Alto's Adventure5. Alto’s Adventure: Embark on an endless snowboarding journey in this sophisticated scrolling platform game. A game controller is optional. Price: $4.99

 

iPlay TV6. iPlayTV: Play IPTV playlists on your Apple TV. Price: $2.99

 

 

Machinarium7. Machinarium: Assist Josef the robot in a mission to save his girlfriend in this highly rated, award-winning game. A game controller is optional. Price: $4.99

 

Pixel Cup Soccer 168. Pixel Cup Soccer 16: This retro soccer game has garnered rave reviews with its smooth gameplay and competitive leagues. A game controller is optional. Price: $2.99 (discounted for a limited time)

 

Shadowmatic9. Shadowmatic: Innovative and award-winning game where players rotate an object to reveal its shadow identity. Price: $3.99

 

Transistor10. Transistor: Challenging science fiction RPG from the creators of Bastion. A game controller is optional. Price: $4.99

All Apple TV tvOS Apps

If you want a complete overview of every Apple TV app, YouTuber AskUncleDavecom has created a video with a full list of tvOS apps. It features screenshots taken directly from the App Store, as he searches and scrolls the entire catalog of apps.

As you can see, Apple TV offers tons of tvOS apps. While it pales in comparison to the iOS App Store, the selection of tvOS apps continues to grow. As the platform gains in popularity, the selection of apps will expand.

If you’re looking for a specific Apple TV app, please leave a comment below. I’ll search for the app and post a reply.

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31 thoughts on “Apple TV tvOS Apps

    • The Apple TV App Store doesn’t have a Pure Flix app, however, you can download the iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) version and use AirPlay to beam it to Apple TV. According to their website, they will launch an Apple TV app by the end of 2017.

    • I was doing some research for an upcoming article about free Apple TV movie and TV show apps. I found Godvo, which appears to have Pure Flix as one of their channels. The Godvo app works like a cable-tv box, without on demand. You basically tune in to one of many live streams. It’s all Christian programming and completely free.

    • Unfortunately, no. I just checked Science Channel GO and Discovery GO on Apple TV. They both require activation with a TV provider.

      You may want to look into some of the new over-the-Internet channel bundles such as Sling TV, PlayStation VUE and DIRECTV NOW. They offer a cable-like experience, directly on Apple TV. They are subscription-based services, but the fees are a fraction of what you’d pay for cable or satellite.

    • From what I understand, the only DIRECTV app for Apple TV is DIRECTV NOW. One has to pay a subscription fee to use it. It can’t be activated if you have a standard DIRECTV subscription (a home satellite dish installation). You can download the DIRECTV app for an iOS device and use AirPlay to beam it to Apple TV. You could also cancel your standard DIRECTV service and subscribe to DIRECTV NOW. I don’t recommend doing this…

      Overall, DIRECTV NOW for Apple TV isn’t as good as the standard dish-based service. There’s a lot of rules, missing channels and blacked-out programs. I’ve written a thorough review of DIRECTV NOW, with screenshots taken from Apple TV. It has a long way to go. It’s a shame, because they could really take advantage of interactive features in tvOS. Instead, they have used the interactivity to stick it to consumers. It’s not as expensive as the standard service. I guess you get what you pay for.

      One other possibility is that you can download each network’s tvOS app and activate them with your DIRECTV subscription. For example, Lifetime has an Apple TV app that you can activate with your DIRECTV subscription. Pretty much every major cable channel has one now. I’m not sure as to the rules with which TV providers can participate, but DIRECTV is usually supported. It’s a clunky solution that I personally feel doesn’t serve the end user well.

      The technology is here. We just have to wait (maybe a long time) for the networks and TV providers to get their act together. They are greedily clinging on to the legacy of cable/satellite.

  1. We have just launched our channel, PropagandaTV on Apple TV. Do you have any recommendations as to how to have our channel listed among new channels? Thanks, George Larrimore

    • Unless it gets into the top 10, it won’t be featured in this article, other than AskUncleDavecom’s YouTube video. He does a screen capture of every tvOS app in the App Store. Your app should show up when he does the next update.

    • I’ll have to check it out. For me, being at the top of the charts doesn’t mean much. I purchased an awful game that was an Editor’s Choice and at the top of the charts. It’s a futuristic space racing game, but they don’t use the accelerometer for steering. It’s unplayable unless you have a game controller. After several months, they still haven’t fixed it.

      My favorite Apple TV games are AirWings, Asphalt 8 and Riptide GP: Renegade. These games really show off the impressive gaming capabilities of Apple TV. If you compare the latter two games to the same game on every other platform, the Apple TV version blows them away. Yeah, it even beats game consoles. I run Riptide at the highest graphics level and it is still buttery smooth. Check out YouTube videos of the game on other platforms — blocky graphics and jerky motion.

      The problem is that Apple TV just doesn’t have enough market share to woo game developers. This is mainly because a lot of people can’t substitute Apple TV for cable. At best, it can be an adjunct to cable. I expect this to change in the coming years. I think Apple TV has the potential to be an amazing game console. It just needs more users to be lucrative for developers.

      I’ll check out Machinarium. It looks cool!

  2. Nice presentation Uncle Dave. I was able to find all the TV Apps I was looking for. I’ve decided to get an Apple TV 4. Thanks!

  3. Worry_Bead and FlippingBeadsGeometric now have tvOS versions to support Universal purchase. Any thoughts Apple TV users?

    • They are, but the YouTube video I link to hasn’t been updated in months. I checked and Met Opera on Demand is available on Apple TV. I will update the embedded video as soon as a new one is available, however, it’s not up to me.

      That said, anyone who wants to check on tvOS app availability can just leave a comment. I will check and report back. It may take some time, but I tend to answer comments within a few days.

    • The BBC America app is available for Apple TV, however, it requires a cable/satellite subscription for activation. This is true of most network apps. The PBS app has some content available for free, however, full access requires a Passport membership, which costs $5/mo. If you donate to public broadcasting, most affiliates will give you Passport access if you donate over $60 a year.

      Acorn offers a lot of British programming for a relatively low monthly fee. They also offer a tvOS (Apple TV) app.

  4. I’m not much for gaming, but am curious as to the number and functionality of utilities in tvOS. For example, are there apps to allow for live viewing of CCTV or other networked security cameras? I understand that SecuritySpy has a tvOS app; are there others? (My current AppleTV is 1st or 2nd generation; would be willing to upgrade for such functionality.) Thanks!

  5. I’m thinking of ditching my DirecTV cable and going with Apple TV, so I’m just looking for a few channels I watch regularly. Which app would you recommend to get these channels:
    • Velocity
    • Fox News
    • OWN (Oprah Channel)
    • TCM (Turner Classic Movies)

    Thank you for any help you can render!

  6. Sorry for the late reply.

    I would recommend steering clear of Apple TV altogether. It’s a device that they had high hopes for, until Eddie Cue screwed up negotiations with the networks. In the aftermath, Apple seems to have pulled resources from Apple TV. It’s not a very good device. I don’t think it deserves the Apple logo. They’re relying on the halo effect to sell these things. People who like their iPhone, iPad or Mac will fall for it. I did. Twice. More fool me…

    That said, if you are interested in trying Apple TV, I offer the following advice. DIRECTV NOW usually has a deal where they give you a free Apple TV if you sign up for three months of their service. You can cancel their service and keep the Apple TV. This is a great way to try Apple TV as a replacement for cable. This deal is offered a few times a year. Set up a Google Alert for the keywords “DIRECTV NOW free Apple TV” and you won’t miss out. It’s a great deal — one I wish I took advantage of.

    That said, I have tried all of the “cable over the Internet” bundles, including DIRECTV NOW. You can read my reviews in the “Reviews” section. I still need to evaluate and review YouTube TV.

    Overall, I have found every “cable over the Internet” plan to be deficient. They are usually missing critical channels, mainly Viacom ones. This is because Viacom is playing hardball with the negotiations. Yeah, they think “The Big Bang Theory” is the best show ever. Meh, it’s OK.

    There is a tremendous amount of inertia to prevent cord cutting. Since I am not a big sports fan (mainly because it’s all commercials and commentary), I have been able to do quite well by cutting the cord. I just like great shows — the ones that are part of the golden age of television. These are usually available on Netflix or I can buy seasons on Google Play. (I don’t use iTunes anymore. It’s just too buggy. I found a 20% failure rate in playing downloaded iTunes rentals and purchases without an Internet connection. The whole point of downloading is that it works without an Internet connection. Apple makes great devices and operating systems. Their apps and services are horrible. I replace them with better third-party apps and services.)

    I recommend giving it a go, as long as you can get it for free. You may very well return to cable, but they will probably give you a great deal for coming back. You’ll get a free Apple TV, which you may end up selling. There’s a glut of used Apple TVs (but the prices are a rip off), which proves my point. Most people try to cut the cord, but end up going back to cable. Apple TV is technically able to do this. It’s just that the deals are not in place. The industry wants you to pay $100+ a month for cable.

  7. One more thing… If you get an Apple TV, just about every “cable over the Internet” bundle offers a free trial. Make sure to try Sling TV, PlayStation VUE, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV and DIRECTV NOW. I think there are even a few others. You may find one that you like.

    Personally, I don’t enjoy the cable, channel surfing experience. I’m a binge watcher, so services like Crackle, Netflix and Hulu work best for me.

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