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Posts tagged with "tv"

Roku Devices Gaining Apple TV App Today

Roku announced in a press release that the Apple TV app would be available on its streaming devices starting today:

For the first time ever, Roku users can add the Apple TV app via the Roku Channel Store to discover and watch movies, TV shows and more, including accessing their iTunes video library and subscribing to Apple TV channels directly on Roku devices. Starting November 1, Apple TV+, Apple’s home for all-original shows and movies from the world’s greatest storytellers, will be available on the Apple TV app on the Roku platform.

Like the TV app on Samsung smart TV sets, the Roku version of the app offers access to all iTunes movie and TV show content, as well as all Apple TV channels options, such as HBO, CBS All-Access, and soon Apple TV+. However, content from non-channels like Hulu or Amazon Prime Video, which are accessible on iOS and tvOS devices, will not be present on the Roku version of the TV app because it lacks third-party app integrations. Moving forward though, I expect that all of Apple’s new content partners with the TV app will be full-on channels rather than legacy app integrations.

Earlier this year Apple announced that the TV app would also be arriving on Amazon Fire TV devices and TV sets from more manufacturers, so as we get closer to the November 1 launch of Apple TV+, I expect we’ll see those other vendors all follow Roku’s lead.

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Apple Harnesses TV+ and the Books App to Launch Oprah’s Book Club

Earlier this year when Oprah Winfrey took the stage at Apple’s March event, she teased a book club project that would manifest in some way through Apple’s new TV+ service. Today in a press release, Apple has shared the full details about this new project, officially named Oprah’s Book Club, which will utilize both TV+ and Apple Books in a special cross-service format.

Apple and Oprah Winfrey today announced Oprah’s Book Club will connect a community of readers worldwide to stories that truly matter by today’s most thought-provoking authors. Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN, will partner with Apple to build a vibrant, global book club that has the power to both transport and transform people — turning every book into an opportunity for self-discovery, and bringing the world together through reading.

Winfrey’s first book selection is “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, available for pre-order now on Apple Books in both ebook and audiobook formats, and debuting tomorrow. Winfrey will interview Coates for the first installment of her new exclusive Apple TV+ series, “Oprah’s Book Club,” premiering November 1. A new episode will be available every two months. For every Oprah’s Book Club selection sold on Apple Books, Apple will make a contribution to the American Library Association to support local libraries, fund programs that give access to everyone and create lifelong readers at an early age.

As if the marriage of TV+ and Books for Oprah’s Book Club wasn’t enough, Apple’s also leveraging its business by hosting the very first of Oprah’s author interviews at none other than Apple Carnegie Library. Additionally, Apple News today is offering a special preview of Oprah’s first book selection. Now that’s some synergy.

It’s exciting to see Apple start to utilize its roster of services such that they complement one another. The company has dabbled in similar efforts before, like through its featuring of the World Cup last summer, but we haven’t seen anything as sustained and on-going as Oprah’s Book Club will be. I’m curious to see what other potential cross-overs Apple has planned moving forward.

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Apple TV+ Launching November 1 at $4.99/month, Free for 1 Year with Hardware Purchase

Today at the Steve Jobs Theater during a packed September event, Apple shared the launch details for its forthcoming video streaming service, Apple TV+. The paid subscription service will launch in over 100 countries on November 1, at a price of $4.99/month; a 7-day free trial period will be available to all users. Additionally, Apple is offering an entire year of free Apple TV+ service with the purchase of any iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, or iPod touch from today on.

On launch day, the selection of Apple Originals available on TV+ will be limited to the following:

  • See
  • The Morning Show
  • Dickinson
  • For All Mankind
  • Helpsters
  • Snoopy in Space
  • Ghostwriter
  • The Elephant Queen
  • Unspecified Oprah Winfrey projects

Most of these are shows, while The Elephant Queen is a documentary. We’ve seen trailers for some titles before, but today Apple debuted the first trailer for See, the big-budget series starring Jason Momoa. Apple has also highlighted some of its other Originals in a press release, which it says will be added on a monthly basis. Other content includes the show “Servant” from M. Night Shyamalan and the award-winning film “Hala.”

With Apple’s shows, most series will debut three episodes at launch, with new episodes released weekly thereafter. However, some series will drop full seasons at once, following the Netflix-style binge model.

After launching, Apple TV+ will be available inside the TV app everywhere that app lives, including iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Macs, and select third-party television sets and streaming sticks. Notably, Apple also announced today that you’ll be able to watch TV+ content on the web too, by visiting tv.apple.com. TV+ will be available as a channel inside the TV app, so just like with other channels such as HBO and CBS All-Access, you can easily subscribe with just a couple steps using your Apple ID, and you’ll receive all the playback benefits guaranteed for channels: no ads ever, offline downloads on iOS, Picture in Picture on supported devices, and you can share your subscription at no additional cost with your whole household through Family Sharing.

As part of the global launch for TV+, Apple Originals will be available dubbed and subtitled, according to Apple’s press release:

Audiences worldwide can enjoy Apple TV+ originals subtitled and/or dubbed in nearly 40 languages, including Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) or closed captions. Apple TV+ series and movies will also be available with audio descriptions in eight languages.


Apple TV+ first debuted at Apple’s services-oriented event this March, but aside from teasing some of its shows and stating that it would be accessible from the TV app, the company revealed few details about the service at that time. Six months later, our questions have finally been answered. As the streaming service market begins to heat up, with players like Disney+ and HBO Max launching soon, and incumbents such as Netflix ramping up their content budget, there will be no shortage of TV options for consumers. However, Apple hopes that its focus on quality over quantity – combined with the benefits of a unifying TV app – will make Apple TV+ stand out in the streaming wars. If it can build a reputation that matches its ambitions, with every show and movie earning critical acclaim, then the company has a shot. But only time will tell if such a bold feat can be accomplished.


You can follow all of our Apple event coverage through our September 10, 2019 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated September 10, 2019 RSS feed.


Apple’s New TV Strategy Might Just Work

It’s been a very significant week for Apple’s TV efforts. On Monday the company debuted its first full-length trailer for an Apple TV+ original; that trailer was for The Morning Show, which has long been destined as a tentpole title for Apple. From what I’ve seen online, the trailer has been well-received, aided by an aggressive marketing push on YouTube and Twitter.

While The Morning Show’s first full trailer is a big occasion, and we’ll likely start seeing promos for other Apple TV+ shows soon with its fall launch fast approaching, the most important TV news in Apple’s week came from Disney.

Disney announced that its Disney+ streaming service would launch with native iOS and tvOS apps, which will use Apple’s In-App Purchase system for subscriptions, and the service will be “fully integrated with the Apple TV app.” Depending on your interpretation of that quote, Disney didn’t technically announce that Disney+ would be a channel in the TV app, but “fully integrated” is a strong phrase, and since Disney’s adopting Apple’s In-App Purchase system and integrating in some way with TV already, there’s virtually no reason to think it won’t be a full-fledged channel.

Following these two key events – the marketing push for Apple TV+ starting to gain steam, and Disney+ partnering with Apple in a key way – I’ve been reflecting on what Apple’s future in TV may hold.

We’ve known since March what the company’s TV strategy entailed: putting the TV app everywhere as an aggregator, bolstered by channels and Apple TV+. With the TV app Apple can do something that no one else seems to be trying: control the full stack of TV experience through integrating hardware, software, and services – the classic Apple playbook. But Apple needs partners to make this vision a reality. Without TV app commitments from big players like Netflix or Disney, it was unlikely that Apple’s strategy could ever find success. Signing Disney+, however, changes everything.

Absent Disney, failure seemed inevitable. The lack of both Netflix and Disney+ would have been a death blow to Apple’s plans. But with the home of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars now on board, I’m starting to think Apple’s TV strategy might just work. Here’s why.

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Disney+ Will Launch with iOS and tvOS Apps and Integration with TV App

Disney announced today which platforms its Disney+ streaming service would be available on at launch, and unsurprisingly iOS and tvOS are on the list. One tidbit that’s particularly noteworthy, however, comes from Chris Welch’s report for The Verge:

Disney also plans to integrate its content with the Apple TV app so that movies, originals, and shows will appear there among other suggested things to watch.

Integration with the TV app means Disney+ subscribers will be able to add the service’s content to their Up Next queue inside TV, in addition to seeing recommendations for movies and shows like Welch mentions. This is a significant piece of news for people like myself who rely on the TV app for much of their TV viewing. Also noteworthy is that Disney+ will support Apple’s In-App Purchase system for subscriptions, so you can subscribe directly through Apple rather than needing to set up a separate Disney account.

This is a big win for Apple’s TV ambitions, as Disney+ is expected to quickly grow into one of the most popular streaming services on the market. Netflix, the current streaming king, doesn’t integrate at all with Apple’s TV app, and recently it even abandoned Apple’s In-App Purchase system for subscriptions. If Disney had followed in Netflix’s footsteps, Apple’s hopes of the TV app gaining widespread adoption would have been slim to none.

The only outstanding question concerns whether Disney+ will become a full-on channel inside the TV app, or if it will rely on the legacy integration that apps like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video currently utilize. Welch writes:

A Disney spokesperson told The Verge that Disney has nothing to announce regarding “channel” marketplaces like Apple TV Channels or Amazon Prime Channels. I wouldn’t bet on Disney giving Apple (or anyone) extra control over its hugely important service; allowing Disney+ to be streamed entirely within the Apple TV app would be a nice convenience for the customers who want it, but I don’t see it happening.

My take is that Disney+ becoming a channel actually makes a lot of sense for the company. Since it’s already going to integrate with TV, and use In-App Purchases, there’s little to no “extra control” Disney would be handing Apple if Disney+ became a channel. All the control is already conceded. The only advantage of forcing people to jump from the TV app into the Disney+ app would be that, when a movie or show finishes playing, users would find themselves in Disney’s app rather than Apple’s. But that’s a small bit of ground to give up considering all the control Disney’s already forfeited.

If Disney+ becomes a channel, it will make for a better user experience for everyone, including parents who can download content offline for their kids via the TV app. Plus, if Disney only supports TV’s legacy integration, that will mean it’s only available in Apple’s TV app on Apple devices; third-party streaming sticks and TV sets that include the TV app wouldn’t offer Disney+ content at all, which again would make for a worse experience.

I expect that Disney’s hesitation to announce channels support is only temporary. Either the company is still negotiating its exact deal with Apple, or an announcement is being held back for Apple’s iPhone event in September. The latter scenario seems likely: Disney+ garnering stage time at the biggest marketing event of the year for one of the world’s biggest companies is a win for both Apple and Disney.

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Apple Releases iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 with New TV App, AirPlay 2 Support on Smart TVs

Today Apple released iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3, both of which center around one main user-facing feature: the new and improved TV app. Apple first shared details of the TV app in its March event, and I reported my hands-on impressions last month, but today the app finally arrives for all users, bringing with it a fresh design and the addition of channels and personalized recommendations.

Alongside the new TV app, today’s iOS update also introduces AirPlay 2 support on compatible smart TVs, timed with Samsung’s own announcement of a firmware update for its TVs that includes both the TV app and AirPlay 2.

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Samsung Smart TVs Gain Apple’s TV App and AirPlay 2 Support

Hot on the heels of Apple’s own release of updates to iOS and tvOS that include the company’s new TV app, Samsung has announced that it too is launching the TV app today. Select models of Samsung smart TVs – all 2019 models and certain 2018 models – will receive a firmware update today that includes both the TV app and the debut of AirPlay 2 support, which enables sending videos from an iOS device to your Samsung TV. From Samsung’s press release:

Fully integrated into Samsung’s Smart TV platform, users can simply select the Apple TV app icon to access all of their iTunes movies and TV show purchases and browse more than 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows to buy or rent, including titles available in 4K HDR, in pristine picture quality. Customers around the world can also subscribe to Apple TV channels within the Apple TV app — paying for only the ones they want — and watch on demand directly in the app. Samsung Smart TV users will be able to enjoy Apple TV+, Apple’s original video subscription service, in the Apple TV app across the same model lines when the service launches this fall. With AirPlay 2-enabled Samsung Smart TVs, customers can now also effortlessly play videos and other content from their iPhone, iPad or Mac directly to their Samsung Smart TV.

What this quote doesn’t say implies a detail that hasn’t been previously revealed: the version of the TV app available on non-Apple platforms may not offer the full TV app experience. While the presence of channels, iTunes content, and the forthcoming Apple TV+ are no surprise, what’s missing is any reference to the other content currently offered by the app on tvOS and iOS. It sounds like legacy app integrations with services like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, which require having those apps separately installed, are not going to be supported on Samsung TVs – nor, undoubtedly, any other third-party hosts of the TV app.

I suspected this might be true following Apple’s original announcement of the new TV app, since these existing integrations rely on frameworks inherent to both iOS and tvOS themselves. Because Apple doesn’t control the platforms that the new TV app is expanding to, it’s understandable why they can’t offer these legacy integrations anymore, despite keeping them available on their own first-party platforms.

The TV app’s legacy integrations may not offer the same level of experience as something like channels or Apple’s own library of content, but they remain a solid way to centralize as much of your TV watching as possible in one app, and using the one unified Up Next queue. If these integrations truly are missing from the TV app on third-party devices, that’s a key difference worth considering.


Apple Launches Dedicated YouTube Channel for Apple TV

Over the last few weeks Apple has quietly debuted a new YouTube channel dedicated to one of its services: Apple TV. The Apple TV channel is home to a variety of videos, like trailers for upcoming films and TV shows, exclusive behind the scenes clips and interviews tied to popular shows and movies, and, of course, videos highlighting Apple’s own original content efforts, like an Apple TV+ trailer and Carpool Karaoke previews.

Every video on the channel appears to be ad-free, which could offer a compelling reason to watch trailers for upcoming films, such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, through the Apple TV channel rather than a competing channel where ads are commonplace.

The launch of an Apple TV channel on YouTube is no big surprise, particularly as Apple moves further into the video and entertainment space. However, the channel does have an odd, yet interesting relationship with Apple’s own TV app. While the channel serves to promote the Apple TV service, its videos by and large aren’t available on that service’s app. The behind the scenes clips and interviews found on this new channel are not currently available in the Apple TV app, only on YouTube – though it’s certainly possible that will change in the future. Similarly, most of the trailers on YouTube are unavailable in the TV app, since unreleased films and shows don’t exist in TV’s content database.

Trailers for unreleased films have historically been served through Apple’s iTunes Trailers platform, which is still alive though somewhat stagnant – the iOS app hasn’t been updated for a year and carries many dated design conventions. However, the launch of an Apple TV YouTube channel may indicate Apple’s plans to slowly shutter that service.

As Apple’s redesigned TV app launches next month as part of tvOS 12.3 and iOS 12.3, and we draw nearer to the launch of Apple TV+ this fall, it will be interesting to see what kind of content Apple funnels through this new YouTube channel rather than the TV app itself. Will most videos continue to be YouTube-exclusive, simply serving to promote films and shows that can be watched in the TV app? Or will the TV app eventually house all of this content as well, with YouTube merely serving as a means of greater exposure for Apple’s TV efforts? We shouldn’t have to wait long to find out.


The New TV App: Our Hands-On with Channels, the Redesign, and More

Apple’s TV app is getting a makeover, and just in time for its expansion to smart TVs and third-party streaming devices. The new app is coming first, of course, to Apple’s own hardware: the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad will be updated in May with the new TV experience; the Mac will follow this fall.

I’ve used Apple’s TV app as my primary video hub since it launched in late 2016, so I was eager to get my hands on the updated app. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long – an early version of the new TV app is available now as part of the iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 beta releases. Here are full details on all the ways it’s new and improved.

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