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June 8, 2023updated 18 Jul 2023 11:06am

What is Apple TV?

Apple TV offers not only hardware, but also a subscription-based streaming platform

By Tech Monitor Staff

First introduced in 2007, Apple TV was first born as an add-on for Mac OS X Tiger. Since then, things have changed significantly.

Today, the term Apple TV encapsulated various elements: the hardware, the software and the streaming platform. The software is called HomeKit and it is Apple’s smart home platform. Through it, the user can control all the internet-connected home devices from an Apple product like an iPhone or iPad, and acts like Apple’s Internet of Things element (IoT). On the other hand, the operating system is called tvOS, and it runs similarly to iOS.

Apple TV app logo in front of a TV screen, icon in 3D illustration. Apple TV is a global provider of streaming movies and TV series
Apple TV’s latest version is called Apple TV 4K / Image: Shutterstock

Apple TV can seem a bit confusing to navigate at first, Tech Monitor will delve into its features in this article.

What is Apple TV?

Apple TV is a digital media player developed by Apple which streams digital data from a number of sources to a television. It is an umbrella term which includes hardware, software and a streaming device.

When it comes to hardware, Apple TV sees a set-top box which the user needs to plug into an HD or enhanced-definition television with an HDMI cable. In 2023, customers can purchase Apple TV’s third generation, called Apple TV 4K. Alongside the box, the bundle comes with the Siri Remote control, but the actual commands can be given from the iPhone itself using AirPlay or iTunes.

The latest model is the Apple TV 4K Wi-Fi+Ethernet, which has 128GB of storage compared to the 64GB of the Wi-Fi-only model, and it also supports smart home devices such as voice-controlled TVs or lightbulbs. Among its capabilities, Apple TV’s main ones regard streaming content such as films and TV series from popular platforms such as Netflix and Disney+, as well as having its own streaming service.

What is Apple TV+?

According to the website, “Apple TV+ is a streaming service featuring Apple Originals – award-winning series, compelling dramas, groundbreaking documentaries, kids’ entertainment, comedies and more – with new Apple Originals added every month.” But what does that entail, exactly?

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Just like Netflix, Apple TV+ is a streaming platform available on a monthly subscription basis. Subscription-wise, Apple made available a 7-day free trial on Apple TV+, but then its monthly price changes to £6.99. Usually, Apple gifts three free months of Apple TV+ to anyone who purchases a new iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV 4K.

Contrary to popular belief, one does not need an Apple TV 4K in order to have a subscription to Apple TV+, since the latter is a separate application downloadable on any device. On it, the user can enjoy exclusive Steven Spielberg movies, alongside other big names such as Oprah Winfrey and JJ Abrams.

How much does Apple TV+ cost?

The hardware itself varies in price. The Wi-Fi-only model starts at £149, while the Wi-Fi + Ethernet one starts at £169.

To make it more endearing to customers, Apple set up a bundle, called Apple One, which launched in 2020. It is a combination of services, including Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Fitness+ and Apple TV+ available at a discounted price if bought together. There are three tiers: Individual, Family and Premier.

The Individual kind includes Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+ and 50GB of iCloud storage for £16.95 a month; the Family subscription offers the same services with 200GB of iCloud storage for up to six members of the same household for £22.95 per month; last but not least, the Premier subscription also includes a subscription to Apple News+ and Fitness+ alongside 2TB of iCloud storage for £32.95 per month.

Read more: Tech leaders are still spending on on-premise data centres despite cloud boom



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