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|Apple TV Plus||$4.99/month||Commercial-free original programming produced by Apple.|
What Is Apple TV Plus?
Like Netflix and Hulu, Apple TV Plus is a streaming service that features television series and movies. Unlike other services, Apple TV Plus has no expansive catalog of programming to include in its library. Instead, its programming consists of new series and movies that aren’t found anywhere else.
This difference is both the strength and the weakness of Apple TV Plus. Its catalog of content is minuscule compared to what you’ll find at Disney Plus, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and others. However, the content tends to be premium and worth watching.
When Apple TV Plus debuted in November 2019, Disney Plus was a few weeks away from its launch. In many ways, this meant that the two services were engaged in a head-to-head competition.
Apple TV Plus is an attractive entry into the industry. It only costs five dollars per month, and it broadcasts no commercials. Despite its low cost, Apple TV Plus boasts superior features like HDR, 4K resolution and mobile downloads. It also doesn’t hurt that it debuted with a phalanx of Hollywood stars headlining its content.
Apple TV Plus may be a newer entrant into the streaming game, but it is making its mark. A feature film that was produced by Apple, CODA, won the Best Picture Oscar for 2021. This made Apple TV Plus the first streaming service to win an Oscar in that category. Premium, and sometimes award-winning content, also was produced for Ted Lasso, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Morning Show, Severance and Pachinko.
The upshot is that Apple TV Plus has a small library that has no older content, but the programming that it does have is top notch. The availability of mobile downloads, 4K and HDR as well as Dolby Vision and Atmos will appeal to many viewers.
However, you can’t watch Apple TV Plus on Android devices, and Apple could do some work with upgrading its interface.
Though it’s not perfect, you might fall in love with this streaming service if you adore high-quality programming.
How Much Does Apple TV Plus Cost?
Apple TV Plus has only one plan. For about five dollars per month, you can access the entire, albeit small, library. There are never commercials, and Apple delivers on the technology front so that you’ll be able to stream at high quality.
If you buy a new, eligible Apple device, you’ll get three months of the service for free. Alternatively, Apple TV Plus provides a free seven-day trial.
On Which Devices Can You View Apple TV Plus?
It’s not too surprising that it’s not possible to watch this service on Android devices considering the long-standing rivalry between the platforms. However, Apple TV Plus is available on other devices and platforms.
Naturally, you can view content on Apple devices such as the Apple TV box, iPhones, iPads, Macs and via AirPlay. If you have streaming devices such as Roku, Fire TV and Google TV, this service is available. You also can stream via an Android TV streaming device.
Apple TV Plus is viewable on Smart TVs made by Sony, VIZIO, LG and Samsung among others. Recently, the service became available on gaming consoles such as the Xbox and the Playstation.
A full list of all the ways that it is possible to watch Apple TV Plus is available at this link.
Notable Television Series and Movies
When Apple TV Plus launched in 2019, it boasted nine titles. It’s impossible to imagine other streaming services launching with so little content. Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max and others all have substantial libraries spanning many decades. When seen from this perspective, it’s easy to understand why a subscription to this service costs only $4.99 per month.
Upon its debut, Apple TV Plus made its identity clear. High-quality productions were the goal. There may not be many of them, but what was there was worthy of watching. The headlining series at the time was The Morning Show, which had a $300 million budget and a trio of stars: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell. Clearly, Apple had no difficulty attracting top-drawer talent.
The Morning Show generated decent buzz, but it wasn’t until Ted Lasso was unveiled late in the summer of 2020 that things took off. Ted Lasso was to Apple TV Plus as The Mandalorian was to Disney Plus. It created a cultural moment that had a surprising number of people talking.
Like other streaming services, Apple does not make its viewership data available. However, according to a report from Deadline, Ted Lasso was responsible for a massive increase in subscriptions. It also was the most-watched series on Apple TV Plus for the year 2021 across the top 50 countries with subscribers.
The other programming that was available at launch included an unlikely comedy starring Hailee Steinfeld called Dickinson that explored the life of Emily Dickinson as well as a thriller entitled See, a post-apocalyptic-set series starring Jason Momoa. Another notable entry was For All Mankind, a movie that highlighted an alternative story of the space program.
Additional original programming included Oprah’s Book Club, The Elephant Queen, Snoopy in Space, Helpsters and Ghostwriter.
Even from the beginning, this handful of programming showed an impressive diversity as far as content ratings and genres. Apple’s promises at this time included debuts of new shows each month with new installments being introduced each week. New shows would debut with three episodes, and each successive episode would launch in the following weeks.
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the introduction of new material, but programming continued to debut. These included a romantic comedy called Little Voice, a musical animated series called Central Park, a nature documentary called Tiny World and Tehran, a spy thriller centered in the Israeli-Iranian conflict.
More recent introductions include an adaptation of The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray, sci-fi series Foundation, multiple-Emmy nominee Severance and a historical drama entitled Pachinko. Kid-centric programming includes Best Foot Forward, Doug Unplugs, Duck & Goose and Lovely Little Farm.
Apple movies in addition to CODA and The Tragedy of Macbeth include Greyhound, On the Rocks and Finch. Excellent documentary titles include Boys State, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry and Beastie Boys Story.
In 2022, the platform obtained the rights to broadcast live sporting evenings, namely, Friday Night Baseball. Even more recently, the company inked a decade-long contract with Major League Soccer that will allow it to stream matches via the app. Of course, only people who are subscribers to Apple TV Plus will be able to view the matches that are selected to be broadcast.
It’s likely that Apple will be looking to expand and diversify its offerings in the future. Based on its past performance, the company likely will be aggressive in doing so.
How to View and Maintain Your Apple TV Plus Account
Do you already have an Apple ID? It is likely that you do if you have an iPod. This Apple ID can be used to sign in to Apple TV just as you would sign in to Apple Music.
You can access the streaming service by visiting https://tv.apple.com. A blue “Sign In” button is located at the top right-hand corner of the screen. Click on it, and you will be prompted to enter your Apple ID. If you do not have an Apple ID or if you forgot your Apple ID or password, appropriate links are provided.
Once you have signed in, you’ll see a plaque welcoming you to Apple TV. Click on the blue “Continue” button at the bottom of the plaque. If you don’t already have a subscription, you’ll be given an opportunity to sign up for a seven-day free trial.
Signing up for the free trial will require you to review and accept a standard license agreement. Next, you have the opportunity to confirm your subscription. The screen lets you know that there are no commitments to your subscription as you can cancel at any time. The subscription will automatically renew until you decide to cancel it. You’ll also be told the date on which your first month’s payment will be due. After you confirm your billing information, you’ll be taken to a welcome screen.
Before you start watching, Apple TV Plus will show you a screen about parental controls. This is a limited feature because it only works on content that is viewed on the website. Accordingly, the parental controls will not be applied to all devices on which it may be possible to view content.
Finally, click “Start Watching,” and you’re ready to start watching.
To find out more about your subscription, go back to the top right-hand corner of the screen where you’ll find your avatar. Click on it, and you’ll get options to check your settings or sign out. Clicking on the Settings selection will give you an Account Summary. Keep in mind that your Apple ID is a single account from which you can manage your music and your TV subscription.
The Account Summary is fairly streamlined, providing information such as your Apple ID, which you can edit from here, and your payment type. If you have an Apple ID balance, you can view it here. There also is a link for redeeming a promotional code.
Below this, you’ll find an “Account Access” section. This is where you can quickly and easily sign out of all browsers at once. Basically, when you sign in to Apple TV Plus on the Internet, you automatically have access to music, TV and movies from one spot, and this is a means of ensuring that unauthorized people aren’t using your account.
Your Play History is listed next, as well as a link for clearing that history. Parental controls follow. You can turn content restrictions on or off and make specific choices as far as restricted content individually for music, TV shows and movies.
Below this is a section that is entitled “Subscriptions.” This will show you your next billing date. There is also a “Manage” link from which you can edit or cancel your subscription.
This gives you the option to pay for one year of Apple TV Plus in advance. At $49.99, this price does give you a bit of a break. Simply click the “Cancel Subscription” button if you no longer want access. Apple TV Plus asks that you cancel at least one day before your next billing date to avoid being charged.
Contacting Customer Service
Go to the Apple TV Plus homepage of the website and scroll down to the bottom. Click on the “Support” link to go to the help center.
You will immediately be presented to links for Billing and subscriptions, Apple TV Support, Stream video with AirPlay and HomePod Support so that you can navigate to topics of interest.
You’ll also find pointers for subscribing to the service and using the Apple TV app. Near the bottom of the page is a search bar where you can hunt for specific items. Below this are opportunities to connect with the Apple Communities where you can get answers from other users, and Get Support, which takes you to links where you can chat with a representative or request Apple Support to call you.
Is Apple TV Plus Worth It?
With a small, select library, it may not be worthwhile to keep an Apple TV Plus subscription over the long term at this time. With new licensing deals and content being unveiled on a regular basis, this may change in the future.
However, if you are looking for high-quality TV series, documentaries and films, Apple TV Plus is definitely the place to get them.