The latest betas of the upcoming iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 updates include HBO, EPIX, Cinemax and other subscription options available within Apple’s TV app.
- Lifetime Movie Club
- Sundance Now
People on the latest betas can basically sign up for a free seven-day trial to HBO from inside the TV app, in time for the latest episodes of “Game of Thrones” (after the trial, HBO is $15 per month). And because these TV app subscriptions support Family Sharing, you can use a single HBO subscription with up to five people in your household.
On top of that, all subscription sources available in the TV app support downloading shows for offline viewing, meaning you’re getting this feature even though it’s unsupported in the HBO Now app.
The move indicates that Apple is having initial success in signing up content partners for the Apple TV Channels feature. The inaugural developer betas of iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 only provided four in-app subscriptions: Showtime, Starz, Smithsonian and Tastemade.
When iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 release for public consumption next month, CBS All Access, Nickelodeon, Mubi, The History Channel Vault, Comedy Central Now, Acorn TV, Britbox, Noggin, MTV Hits and Shudder will be added to Apple TV Channels.
Apple TV Channels is basically a skinny video bundle Apple had been trying to create for years, to no avail. Instead of subscribing to a video service in its dedicated app, Apple TV Channels has you subscribing to it from inside the TV app itself.
Apple hosts the streams itself in order to ensure smooth playback—in fact, with Apple TV Channels you don’t even need to have a streaming app installed on the device. Netflix, of course, remains notably absent from Apple TV Channels just like it passed on integrating with the TV app—that’s why the TV app never recommends any Netflix content.
Aside from being available across iOS and macOS, the TV app will be coming to your Mac this fall alongside the new Apple TV+ video-streaming service. Moreover, it will be launching across smart TVs and coming to the Roku and Fire TV players later this year.
For details, see our hands-on overview of Apple TV Channels.