Apple TV streaming service coming in June with 25 channels


Adobe reports breaks down why refreshed Apple TV is going to be the biggest thing since sliced bread.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

It’s looking like 2015 will finally be the year that Apple’s dream TV service becomes a reality.

After years of reports that the company has been trying to get its own TV subscription off the ground, June is on track to be the month it’s debuted for the world to see. The service will reportedly offer around 25 channels and cost a little more than the competition.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple plans to debut the service in June, which happens to be the same time it holds its Worldwide Developers Conference every year. It would then be released in September, which is when new iPhones are typically announced.

The subscription will allegedly cost $30-$40 month, which is a tad pricer than Sling TV’s core $20 package. 25 channels may sound like not that many, but Sling TV’s cable-free subscription only offers 14 with $5 add-on packs like “Kids Extra” and “News & Info Extra.”

According to the Journal, the likes of ABC, CBS and Fox are lined up as partners with Apple. But NBCUniversal is not on board because Apple has interestedly had a falling out with the network’s parent company, Comcast.

“Apple and Comcast were in talks as recently as last year about working together on a streaming television platform that would combine Apple’s expertise in user interfaces with Comcast’s strength in broadband delivery,” notes the Journal. “Apple came to believe that Comcast was stringing it along while the cable giant focused on its own X1 Web-enabled set-top box, the people said.”

Last month Recode reported that Apple was back on track to introduce a TV service for cord cutters, with the claim that “talks seem to be in the early stages, which means terms like pricing and timing aren’t close to being ironed out.” If the Journal’s report from today is to be believed, the negotiations have been moving very quickly.

Apple and HBO just exclusively partnered to offer HBO Now, which is the first time HBO has been completely unbundled from cable. The Apple TV was also discounted to $69, a move that could easily be a strategic way to help drive subscription sales down the road.

  • Stuart

    Excuse my ignorance (I do not live in the US nor fully understand their TV market) but, from what you say, is Apple merely taking content that is available on FTA (ABC/CBS etc) and charging a monthly fee for access to it? Or, are there also content providers involved that normally charge a fee for access (on Sat / Cable)?

    What is the incentive to switch to Apple TV service if all content is available via other means? Why should someone pay extra for additional data download capacity?

    Also, Apple is, again, treating 80 – 90% of their customers (i.e. all of those living outside the US) as second class citizens. Are there any plans for Apple TV streaming for them?

    • Jeff Cruz

      there will be mostly Cable channels included.
      SLING (the competition for now) has only cable channels in their lineup. no locals, because as you say, they are available for free.

    • Aggielawyer

      ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX are available with an antenna, but not all areas (in fact few), get great reception, all the time and, if you don’t like watching live, you have to buy a separate DVR. There are other services that provide pay access to many of these things, but this combines them all into one service. ESPN and Apple’s already announced $15 HBO are the real kickers. Previously they were only available, even over broadband, with cable subscriptions, usually requiring upgraded cable packages of >$100.

  • zagatosz

    Why would I want this? Add the price of your broadband with this and you may as well have cable since both are bundled in cable packages.

    • Jeff Cruz

      If APPLE’s service is like SLING that Dish just released, it is available outside your home on multiple platforms (on devices like iPhone, iPad, apple tv and online) and also NOT a contracted service, i.e., you can turn it on or off whenever you want and only play the months you want to use it. Cable or Satellite – especially if bundled, are longterm contracts with higher costs in the long run

    • Whocares

      If you are antenna guy, you don’t want it. For others who want ESPN, Sport and others premium channels, it’s good cuz they don’t have to deal with expensive cable/satellite TV services.
      You pay for internet regardless right unless you’re someone who doesn’t care about home broadband.

  • Aannddyy

    Well obviously this whole deal is spelled out in detail via the rumor, the price are then final.

  • Nathan

    Umm…this is hardly cheaper than my current TV service which includes a PVR and HD channels. Am I missing something?

    • Whocares

      Why would you want DVR while all past programs are available to watch any time?

  • HowmaNoid

    So $40/mo for 25 channels is NOT the answer. That’s just a different bundle from a different source. Cable and Sat TV companies have been shoveling this for years and it’s the single biggest thing people gripe about “I don’t want 100 channels of sport but I have to buy them to get HD channels”, etc. I hope Apple is not just jumping on this business model. This business needs to be disrupted. In the same way that iTunes was the first time you buy a single track from an album I believe Apple needs to offer the ability to purchase only what you want to watch. I won’t be buying another bundle.

    • Whocares

      25 user selectable channels, a lot people will sign up for it.

      • HowmaNoid

        User selectable I’d go for too.

  • Does this mean the Apple TV will be less usable for us who live outside the US? :(

    • Rob

      I live in the UK and really its only useful for airplay. None of the channels are of any use, apart from possibly Now TV if you subscribe.
      I think it should be much cheaper here since you don’t receive any services, not even BBC player, which is on all devices.

  • Aggielawyer

    If this service is $30, then, including $15 for HBO, and $7.99 for Hulu (NBC/USA shows, albeit not live), then for $100. Yes, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX are available, free, OTA, but that requires an antenna, which aren’t always effective in all areas, AND you would have to buy a separate DVR if you didn’t want to have to watch everything live. If this pricing is accurate, I may be buying in- it seems a bit better than my current HULU + Watch CBS + friend’s ESPN and HBO Log in on AppleTV.

  • PTVMan

    Another misleading headline: Apple TV streaming service coming in June with 25 channels. The body of the article then states: It would then be released in September, which is when new iPhones are typically announced.

  • JSintheStates

    I agree with a number of commentators. (We have Charter, not Comcast.) Our internet cable is $60/mo. The bundled fee is $40/$40 internet/TV, total $80/mo (minimum TV package, no DVR). What was my incentiv again?

    If I’m paying Charter $60 now. Apple want $40 for minimum TV; Charter wants $20 more. No DVR, no watch any show whenever. Apple’s pricing seems a bit high to me!

  • London Boy

    Hmmm… No NBC? That’s a big disadvantage.
    Rather pricey too….

  • lohroffc

    Not sure how this really helps many of us. I get my cable and internet via Comcast. All I am doing is pushing my tv from my coax to my broadband but it’s still ultimately under Comcast’s control. All they need to do is start enforcing the 250gb monthly data allotment and we will all come running back to them for cable tv. There are no viable options for me to switch away from Comcast internet which means I’m basically tied to them for tv as well…. unless I’m missing something fairly obvious which is entirely possible.