The Apple TV Crash Course (2015)
Part Three: Making the Most of the Tiny Beast
Other Apple TV Apps
Aside from the Movies, TV Shows, and various music-related apps we’ve discussed so far, there are literally dozens of other apps to try out. Some of them you’ll find useful, while others you might never use. If you’ve used Fire TV, Chromecast, or Roku, the apps might feel a bit…less; Apple selects the apps that will appear, so unlike other devices, the apps here tend to be a little better quality.
While we don’t have space in this guide to go in-depth with each of them, let’s take a second to categorize and explain what’s there.
· Sports Score Apps - MLB.TV, NBA, and NHL are portals to the current scores and game schedules for these three sports. Obviously, they’ll only function when the particular sport is in-season. The navigation is similar to every other app – highlight the info you want and press select.
· Time Sensitive Apps –Apple frequently adds channels for a limited time; during their conference where they announce new products, for example, there is a channel to watch it. They also have added a musical festival in the past (usually September); these are full concerts, presented for free, from top artist.
· Internet Video Apps - Vimeo and YouTube are much like their Internet counterparts – a searchable catalog of user-generated videos. Flickr fits in this category, despite it being exclusively used for pictures.
· Popular Subscription-Based Apps – Hulu Plus, Netflix, HBO GO, and ESPN are popular portals for all kinds of all-you-can-eat programming. Netflix and Hulu require a monthly subscription ($7.99 as of this writing), while ESPN and HBO GO are included with some cable subscriptions. See if yours is one of them by opening the app and looking for your provider in the list. Once you’ve done that, you’ll head to a website and enter a code to grant yourself access. Most cable companies now allow you to stream content, but there are a few that still do not. If you aren’t one of them, it helps to express your frustration with your provider.
· TV Subscriptions – In March 2015, Apple announced it’s first TV channel subscription with HBO; called HBO Now, this exclusive partnership is considered a game changer by many; why is it so big? Because it let’s you watch HBO without cable. Up until HBO Now, you could stream a lot of popular channels like ESPN and ABC, but you needed to have a cable subscription. HBO Now ($14.99 as of this writing) changes all this. It’s likely the first of many partnerships. If current rumors are correct, look for something even bigger in the Fall of 2015.
· Not-so-Popular Subscription Apps – items like Crunchyroll (anime videos) and Quello (concerts and music documentaries) are not quite as commonly used as the others, but are invaluable for people who are into that sort of thing.
· News Apps – Sky News and Wall Street Journal both offer a compelling on-demand news service. They’re also both free! To use them, just open the app, navigate around and press Select to view a story. As always, press Menu to exit.
· Apple Apps – In addition to the Apple-branded apps we’ve already discussed, there are a couple other Apple apps on offer here. Photo Stream offers access to the pictures you’ve shared in your iTunes library, while Computers is your connection to Home Sharing, which we’ll discuss in a moment. Trailers is a video-portal to – you guessed it – trailers for upcoming movies. In addition to that, you can find out when and where upcoming (and current) movies will be playing in your area.
Because you’ll probably spend more time using apps like Netflix than apps like Sky News, it’s helpful to have the apps arranged in a way where the most popular apps are near the top. To rearrange any of the apps (except the top row), just hold down on the select button over the app you want to move. After several seconds it will change appearance and you can move it around.
For a comparison of how Apple TV channels and hardware compare to other devices, see Part four.