Apple TV Plus: Everything we know about the TV streaming service that’s gunning for Netflix

Apple has launched its own video streaming service that will take on the likes of Netflix, and it’s called Apple TV Plus. Read on for all the details.

Apple teased its March 25 event with the words “it’s show time”, and delivered plenty of razzle dazzle with details about its video streaming service. We know Apple has ploughed plenty of cash into making its original shows, enlisting an enviable roster of Hollywood talent both in front of and behind the camera.

Apple has had experience in streaming with its Apple Music service, a decent foray into the market if not the Spotify beater many expected it to be. Will Apple TV storm out of the blocks or suffer a similar fate?

What can we expect? How much will it cost? On what platforms is it available on? Will it be available in the UK? Allow us to shed some light on Apple’s TV Plus video streaming service.

Related: Apple TV exclusive shows


Apple TV Plus − Content

Apple TV Plus

Apple’s history with video content hasn’t been great. We’re tempted to say it’s been pretty awful.

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That hasn’t stopped Apple from taking the plunge again, lining up an impressive list of stars for its original shows. We were treated to a trailer for the shows Apple has and the production values certainly looked impressive. Apple has around 30 projects in the works, but we’ll concentrate on the highlights for now.

Steven Spielberg is bringing anthology series Amazing Stories back to the screen. Kumail Nanjiani talked up the Little America anthology show he created with Emily V. Gordon. Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage) provided some insight into sci-fi series See. J.J. Abrams’ series was revealed as Little Voice, based off an idea by musician Sara Bareilles.

Ronald D. Moore, showrunner of the Battlestar Galactica reboot, is making another space drama called For All Mankind. Francis Lawrence, director of Red Sparrow and The Hunger Games sequels is making an untitled futuristic drama. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon were on stage with Steve Carell to talk about a series called The Morning Show. Oprah took to the stage to rapturous applause at the end of the livestream to announce her Book Club series will be available on the service.

What wasn’t shown? Well, we know First Man director Damien Chazelle has signed up to make a TV show, while Brie Larson is starring in a drama based on the book Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA.

We also know there won’t be much in the way of live sports, at least not in the near future. Apple executive Eddy Cue has said there was “not a lot” of thought that had been put into acquiring rights for sporting events.

For now Apple TV Plus is focusing on telling “high-quality” stories that make you laugh, cry and brighten your mood.

Related: What is Apple News Plus?

Apple TV Plus − Price

That’s the big question about this streaming service. Will it utilise different pricing tiers like Netflix does and undercut its Basic (£5.99/$8.99), Standard (£8.99/$12.99) and Premium (£9.99/$15.99) monthly plans?

Apple did confirm prior reports of offering subscription based channels though its revamped TV app (the TV Channels section). Using its own original content to interest customers, while making money of hosting or bundling subscriptions to services such as HBO, making it less of a Netflix-type service in the process.

One tidbit was Family Sharing. Users will be able to share Apple TV Plus and subscriptions to Apple TV channels with family members. Interestingly, the service will be add-free. We wonder what that detail will do for the service’s price, if any.

In terms of cost Apple declined to mention any details. More info on it will be provided before the service goes live in the autumn. We will update this article once it’s confirmed.

Apple TV Plus − Platforms

Apple TV Plus

Apple TV Plus will be available through Apple’s revamped Apple TV interface when it launches later this year. The content will be available to online and offline so you’ll be able to watch content without need for an internet connection.

Apple did mention that it will available on all Apple devices, from iPad to the Apple TV box. As revealed earlier this year at CES 2019, the iTunes Movie and TV app will be available on Samsung smart TVs. It’ll also be available Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in future.

Owners of LG and Sony smart TVs will get AirPlay 2 support, allowing them to play videos and other content from their iPhone or iPad to their smart TVs.

The new Apple TV app arrives in May and that will be the hub for the video subscription service that arrives later.

Apple TV Plus − Launch date

Apple TV Plus

We had heard a number of rumours around a release date and the event at the Steve Jobs Theatre Apple confirmed a date of ‘Fall’ for its original content, matching up with pre-release reports that marked an October release. That at least gives Apple the time to spread the word and finish its initial batch of TV shows.

What does that mean for the UK? Apple said the service would launch in 100+ countries at launch, so it’s safe to assume the UK will be one of those countries.

Apple TV Plus subscriptions

As Apple is launching its own content alongside subscriptions from other content providers, and it’s fairly likely the UK will not be getting the same options shown during the presentation. For instance, HBO Go is not available in the UK (Sky Atlantic has the rights to HBO content). We did spot BBC/ITV’s Brit Box on the list of content providers though.

From May onwards, customers can subscribe to the Apple TV channels à la carte and start watching, but we await confirmation as to which channels will pop up on the UK service.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services said, “we’re thrilled to give viewers a sneak peek of Apple TV Plus and cannot wait for them to tune in starting this autumn. Apple TV Plus will be home to some of the highest quality original storytelling that TV and movie lovers have seen yet.”

Related: Everything you need to know about Apple Card

Apple tv plus kumail nanjiani

Apple TV Plus − In summary

Apple’s video streaming service has been revealed and it’s called Apple TV Plus. It’s not the most imaginative of names, but it is a name nonetheless.

Plenty of stars graced the stage to talk about their shows, with Apple touting inclusivity and creativity for its original programming. We know it’s coming in the ‘Fall’, bringing it competition with Disney+ in the US at least. That date makes it likely we’ll be getting it in the UK in the autumn. Pricing still remains an unknown.

It was a decent showing from Apple. We still need to see the service and how it works in the flesh, but there’s plenty of potential for Apple’s video streaming service.

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