Don’t know what an Apple TV is? You are not alone. This is probably because there are three different products called Apple TV. There is an Apple TV app, Apple TV + service and a hardware device called an Apple TV . Let’s deal with all this.

What is the Apple TV app?

The free Apple TV app comes preinstalled on Apple devices and helps you find movies and TV shows to watch. It can also be used on some other devices.

Apple TV is the one-stop shop for all the TVs and movies you already love, as well as the place to find new stuff. The app combines content from the video streaming apps you have on your devices, offers new shows and movies, and keeps you up to date with sports and news.

Instead of forcing you to go to HBO Now to watch it and then to hulu, to see what new episodes are available, and in amazon prime, To check out your latest shows and movies, the Apple TV app gathers content from all of those apps in one place.

The Apple TV app knows what you like to watch. It presents the latest episodes of shows you are already watching and recommends movies and TV shows based on that. You can also search for TV and movies in all your apps from within the app.

For a more in-depth look at the Apple TV app, check out the app Apple TV: what you need to know .

What channels does the Apple TV app offer?

It’s a reasonable question, but it’s the wrong idea. The Apple TV app is not is a TV streaming service like Sling TV or DirecTV Now . There is no cable or local TV channel. The Apple TV app doesn’t offer much of its own content. Instead, it collects content from dozens and dozens of other streaming apps (other than Netflix; it doesn’t work with the Apple TV app).

For example, if you subscribe to HBO Now, HBO content appears in the Apple TV app. Hulu and Amazon Prime shows also appear here. Watch shows on the Comedy Central or Bravo apps, or subscribe to a TV streaming platform? The Apple TV app also has its own content.

The only content that isn’t supplied by a third party app is Apple itself. The Apple TV app lets you rent or buy movies, and buy TV shows from iTunes. You can also find your iTunes Purchase Library.

But what are Apple TV channels?

Good question! The Apple TV app doesn’t offer channels in the traditional sense, but there is an option called Apple TV Channels (coming May 2019). Apple TV Channels allows you to subscribe to streaming video services as usual, except that you use the Apple TV app and pay using the card specified in the file with your Apple ID . You also use the Apple TV app to view this content.

Streaming services offered on Apple TV channels will include HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, CBS All Access, Shudder, and more.

Okay, then what is Apple TV+?

Apple TV+ is Apple’s answer to Netflix. Apple TV+ is an original content streaming service offered only by Apple (debuting Fall 2019). As with Netflix or HBO, users subscribe to the Apple TV+ service for a monthly fee to access the content library. This content is viewed using the Apple TV app.

Oprah Winfrey on stage at Apple TV+ event
Apple Inc.

Details about the Apple TV+ are a bit sketchy right now (although Apple did have media event to unveil some of his plans in March 2019). The monthly cost of Apple TV+ has not been announced, nor is the full library of content available. Some of the films and shows announced include Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Octavia Spencer and JJ Abrams.

What platforms does the Apple TV app run on?

The Apple TV app — and therefore the Apple TV and Apple TV+ channels (when released) — works on the following devices and platforms:

  • iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch).
  • Apple TV (more on this in the next section).
  • Poppies (coming autumn 2019).
  • Devices Amazon Fire TV .
  • Roku devices .
  • Smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio.

Right now, the Apple TV app is available on iOS devices and Apple TV hardware. The app will be available in more than 100 countries on other devices in May 2019.

Want to know about new apps on your TV? Find out how in the » Adding Apps to Smart TV» .

Apple TV is not a hardware box?

It! This is where Apple using the name «Apple TV» to refer to so many things gets confusing. In addition to being an app, Apple TV is also a hardware device used for entertainment.

4th generation Apple TV

Apple TV 4th generation.
Apple Inc image credit.

Apple has been selling devices called the Apple TV since 2007. Although it has evolved over the years the latest version — Apple TV 4K, released in 2017 — is a powerful entertainment device. It runs all kinds of applications including video streaming applications, games designed specifically for Apple TV , Apple Music and much more. Apple TV also controls smart home devices as center homekit .

Want to install new apps on your Apple TV? Find out how in the section How to install apps on Apple TV .

The Apple TV app comes pre-installed on your Apple TV hardware. Because the Apple TV app works across multiple devices, you don’t need an Apple TV 4K to use the Apple TV app, Apple TV channels, or Apple TV+.

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