Must-have Apple TV apps of 2015

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best apple tv apps
These apps truly shine on the new Apple TV.
Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's Best of 2015 The Apple TV’s App Store is still so new, odds are you might be having trouble figuring out which apps are the best.

The holidays are just around the corner, so for the sake of the friends and relatives who will soon be swarming your living room, you might want to populate your new set-top box with some must-haves. Take a look at Cult of Mac’s top picks for best Apple TV apps.

One quick note: Finding apps in the Apple TV App Store is complicated and linking to them, as of now, is impossible. For your convenience, we’ve included the corresponding iTunes link for each app that’s also available on iOS. However, downloading apps on Apple TV requires that you manually search for them or check the Purchased tab for your compatible iOS apps.

Earthlapse TV

earthlapse

Earthlapse TV provides a gorgeous look at our home planet from the perspective of the International Space Station crew. The app includes 18 different views of Earth, from Aurora Borealis to Tropical Storm Debbie. These video clips were all filmed from the I.S.S. in high-quality 1080p and they’re simply breathtaking. If you were wowed by the space scenes in Gravity, you’ll love what Earthlapse TV has to offer. Plus, you can play one of eight soundtracks in the background or listen to your own music collection.

Price: $2.99

iTunes link: Earthlapse

Newsy

newsy

Newsy is arguably one of the best news-consumption apps out there, regardless of platform, plus it’s totally free. It comes with a live news channel that delivers bite-size news stories from around the world in a 24/7 broadcast. It feels straightforward and modern, with heavy references to social media and infographics to cleanly lay out the stories. If you aren’t into live broadcasts, you can browse news stories on demand in the Newsy app and watch the clips individually. Opening Newsy on your Apple TV for five or 10 minutes at the end of the day is a great way to stay up-to-speed on a variety of topics.

Price: Free

iTunes link: Newsy

Seven Minute Workout

seven-minute-workout

The seven-minute workout has gotten famous over the past few years for allegedly providing solid results from whirlwind exercise sessions. 7 Minute Workout & HIIT Exercises by Track My Fitness runs through the entire workout with you on your television. There are 12 exercises and almost no breaks, so it’s very high-intensity. Several seven-minute workouts apps are available for iPhone and iPad, but none compare to the experience you get following along on your big-screen TV. Plus, you can’t beat the convenience of a quick exercise session right in your own home.

Price: Free

iTunes link: 7 Minute Workout & HIIT Exercises

Touchpress

touchpress

Touchpress is a magnificant app for beginner and intermediate musicians alike. It includes several great performances of classical music that you can watch and enjoy by themselves. Better yet, you can learn from the masters by following along on their score as they play. You can also use what Touchpress calls NoteFall, which is a Guitar Hero-esque breakdown of the notes and their durations in perfect sync with the live musician. Watch in fascination as the expert musicians reveal just how it’s done.

Price: Free

QVC

qvc-app

The QVC app on Apple TV feels like the culmination of what a modern, smart TV should do: Combine the best of traditional TV with al the convenience of the internet. Quite simply, QVC is just a live stream of the popular shopping channel that integrates the buying process. You no longer need to call in and go through a lengthy process over the phone. Just select Speed Buy on your Apple TV to view additional product details and images, then complete your purchase. You can even browse through other products broadcast throughout the current QVC segment and buy those. The app brings the TV channel to life.

Price: Free

iTunes link: QVC

The Weather Network

the-weather-network-apple-tv

People typically just default to The Weather Channel app on any platform, but on the Apple TV, give The Weather Network a go. It has a much better design, comprehensive hourly, 36-hour and 14-day forecasts, NWS weather alerts, access to The Weather Network live and extra details like gust and humidity. Sure, you can pull up the weather using Siri on your remote, but it’s nice to get one-click access to a full app.

Price: Free

iTunes link: The Weather Network

Yummly

yummly-apple-tv-recipes

If you have a television and Apple TV in or near your kitchen, Yummly is an absolutely must-have app. It displays recipes beautifully with huge pictures, ingredients and even a breakdown of the calories and nutrients. Yummly is known for its extensive customization tools to accommodate any diets and food allergies. The app lets you discover trending recipes, recommendations just for you and also lets you save and access favorites.

Price: Free

iTunes link: Yummly