Apple officially revamped its Apple TV app this week, redesigning the user interface and launching one of its key video initiatives: Apple TV Channels.
Apple TV Channels is Apple’s foray into subscription video, serving as a middleman for subscription video services including HBO Now, Epix, CuriosityStream and Showtime The offering competes with products from Amazon -- which has leveraged its Amazon Channels brand to great effect -- and Roku Channel.
Apple’s version, however, has some key advantages — and a notable disadvantage — compared to its competitors. Every “channel” that a user subscribes to can be shared with up to six family members. In addition, every episode on every service can be downloaded and viewed offline.
Some services charge extra for those offerings or don’t offer them at all. Apple TV Channels will be the only place to download and watch HBO shows offline, for example.
For now, the big disadvantage is that the app is limited to Apple devices, although smart TVs made by Samsung, Sony, and LG will be getting the app later this year.
The revamped app also includes personalized recommendations, spanning iTunes and streaming services, as well as a dedicated kids section, highlighting editorially picked shows that are kid-friendly.
Apple intends to expand its video ambitions later this year with the launch of Apple TV+, its subscription streaming video offering.
Pricing and availability of that service is unclear.