News: Apple TV Update Adds HBO Go, WatchESPN, Others

Posted on June 19, 2013

Apple has issued an update to the Apple TV, which adds a number of services on the home screen, including HBO Go, WatchESPN, Sky News, Crunchyroll, and Qello. This update, version 5.3, is available by selecting General and Software Update from Settings.

HBO Go and WatchESPN on Apple TV

Unfortunately, HBO Go and WatchESPN require credentials or activation from a supporting cable or satellite provider, but it eliminates the need to AirPlay content from these services. They also get a UI similar to other Apple TV “apps”. Sky News will deliver a 24/7 news feed for users in the US, UK, and Ireland for free. Overall, it’s a good update, but the fact that not all cable/satellite providers are on board and it can’t work independently of providers is still a baby step.

Apple’s press release offers more information:

Apple today announced that HBO GO and WatchESPN are now available directly on Apple TV joining the great lineup of programming offered to customers. iTunes users have downloaded more than one billion TV episodes and 380 million movies from iTunes to date, and they are purchasing over 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies per day.

“HBO GO and WatchESPN are some of the most popular iOS apps and are sure to be huge hits on Apple TV,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We continue to offer Apple TV users great new programming options, combined with access to all of the incredible content they can purchase from the iTunes Store.”

Apple TV users can choose from an incredible selection of programming including over 60,000 movies and over 230,000 TV episodes, as well as the world’s largest collection of music on the iTunes Store®. Apple TV also offers great content from Hulu Plus, Netflix’s streaming catalog, live sports from MLB, NBA and NHL as well as Internet content from Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr.*

In addition to HBO GO and WatchESPN, three new content providers* are also available today on Apple TV including Sky News, Crunchyroll and Qello offering live news, sports and current TV programming.

HBO GO users get unlimited access to their favorite HBO shows, including HBO original programming, hit movies, sports, documentaries, comedy specials and more. This includes full seasons of the best of HBO, plus bonus features and special behind-the-scenes extras. HBO GO on Apple TV requires a subscription to HBO through participating television providers.

WatchESPN on Apple TV delivers a one-stop video destination for sports fans with live access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line to those who receive ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription from affiliated providers. Popular sports and fan-favorite shows include college football and basketball, Monday Night Football, MLB, NBA, major golf tournaments, all four Grand Slam tennis events, SportsCenter, PTI and more. Additionally, curated on-demand video featuring the most recent and relevant content—including highlights and news clips from ESPN.com as well as short-form segments from programs such as E:60, Outside The Lines, SC Featured, Sport Science and others—will be accessible through WatchESPN for the first time via Apple TV to all users.

Sky News on Apple TV delivers a live 24/7 news feed to users in the US, UK and Ireland, including breaking news and headlines from business, politics, entertainment and more. In addition to the live feed, users can catch up on specific stories at any time via the extensive on-demand news library.

Crunchyroll, the leading global video service for Japanese Anime and Asian media, will allow subscribers worldwide to watch the latest HD shows one hour after they air in Japan. Qello, a leading on-demand streaming service for HD concerts and music documentaries, offers free or paid subscriptions to music fans worldwide. New users can sign up for Crunchyroll and Qello instantly on Apple TV…

…Apple TV requires iTunes 10.5 or later. Apple TV requires an 802.11g/n Wi-Fi network or Ethernet network, a broadband Internet connection and a HD TV capable of 1080p or 720p and an HDMI cable that is sold separately. iTunes movie and TV show availability varies by country. Third generation Apple TV hardware is required to play 1080p video. HBO GO, Watch ESPN, SkyNews, Crunchyroll and Qello require Apple TV software version 5.3 available as a free software update for second and third generation Apple TV users.

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