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Apple TV vs Apple TV+: In this post, I explain the key differences between Apple TV and Apple TV+.
Apple finally announced more details about Apple TV Plus, clearing up a major point of confusion for me about how the company plans to distinguish it from Apple TV.
So is Apple TV Plus an Upgrade to Apple TV? No. The main difference is that Apple TV is a streaming media device, similar to Amazon FireTV and Roku, and Apple TV+ is a content service similar to Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, and in some ways Netflix. To say it another way: Apple TV is a physical piece of hardware that you can buy for a one-time fee; Apple TV+ is a monthly subscription content service.
Apple TV vs Apple TV+: Quick Comparison Chart
Here is a quick comparison table highlighting the major differences.
What Content is Available on Apple TV?
Apple calls Apple TV and now Apple TV+ “our vision” for television. Ain’t that the truth. Or maybe closer to the truth is how sacred Apple’s hardware devices are to the company—and anything to keep customers buying that hardware fits into that vision.
But I digress.
I really like what I have seen from Apple TV so far. Like Roku and Amazon Fire Stick, you can play content using an Apple TV device from a wide variety of media conglomerates. This includes content from “thousands of apps” in the app store, according to the company.
The jury is still out on the Siri remote, however. I recently wrote an article that features some other alternative remotes for Apple TV here.
Some of the most popular content services that you get with Apple TV include:
What Content is Available on Apple TV Plus?
Content available on Apple TV+ will be proprietary and specific to ATV+→at least at first. Apple plans to launch nine original shows/series initially. Some of the ones generating the most buzz include:
- Oprah’s Book Club, featuring Oprah Winfrey
- See, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Jason Momoa (think Aquaman)
- The Morning Show, a morning TV news broadcast starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carell
- Dickinson, the comedy about poet Emily Dickinson as a young woman starring Steinfeld
- For All Mankind, an alternative retelling of the space race
- Ghostwriter, a kids program about four youngsters who team up with a ghost in a neighborhood bookstore
- Helpsters, a Sesame Street spinoff
- Snoopy in Space, an animated series starring the lovable Peanuts character along with some new and old friends.
CNET keeps a running tally of shows we know about so far. You can see them here.
So How Does Apple TV+ Differ from Netflix?
Let me start with a little disclaimer. I am a huge fan of Netflix and have been for some time. With new notable exceptions, however, I think I may have exhausted my entertainment budget on the network. Plus, pricing continues to go up. Regardless, I find myself watching Amazon Prime and YouTube more and more these days.
But more to the point:
- Netflix was one of the first to the party in the world of streaming and therefore has a ton more content; it will take Apple a long while to catch Netflix in this regard
- Apple’s strategy for original box office movies remains unclear. However, it is to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon the expectation is that movies will be added over time.
- Apple TV+ has already been criticized for being too family-friendly. How is this a bad thing? With Disney’s planned launch of a simlar streaming service, surely there is a demand for fewer flesh-eating zombies and raunchy mid-evil sex scenes. But hey, I enjoy a little Walking Dead just as much as the next guy and should not be one to judge.
- Apple will be less expensive than Netflix, at least for now. This certainly makes sense with the initial rollout and anticipated content mix of fewer than 50 programs.
Why Is Apple Launching the Apple TV+ Service?
So why Apple TV? Well, everyone wants to get into the entertainment biz, don’t you know? I think I just read Apple has invested something like $4 billion in this venture (someone correct me if I am wrong).
I can think of three reasons why Apple is going here::
- Gives customers another reason to purchase an Apple device
- Helps to threaten Apple’s brand against increasing competition, mainly from the likes of Amazon (think Prime Video) and to a lesser extent some of the other players out there
- It’s a really good fit with the success of the Apple TV device, and I could see Apple TV+ being folded into Smart TVs alongside Netflix, etc. — again strengthening the brand and earning more subscribers
Do I see this as a major revenue stream for Apple (i.e., direct competition with Netflix)? No way. But time will tell. The streaming media space is fickle and in this space content will always reign supreme.
Pricing and Availability
You can buy Apple TV now. Here is a link to check the pricing and availability on Amazon. You can also read the latest customer reviews for Apple TV 4K.
You can learn more about Apple TV+, its planned November 1 launch date, and Apple’s vision for television on the Apple TV page here.
Apple TV vs Apple TV+: What Do You Think?
So, what do you think about Apple TV vs Apple TV+?
Were you confused about the differences like me? Do you already own Apple TV? Or do you plan to watch Apple TV+ on another device like a Mac or an iPad?
Are you excited about the new shows coming to Apple TV+? Which new show are you excited about the most? For me, the Balboa show looks pretty cool.
Please leave a comment below and let me know.
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About the Author
Tim Brennan, Technical Writer & Blogger
Tim “Tec Timmy” Brennan is the founder of Writeinteractive, Inc., a technical writing consulting agency. He is a senior technical writer with over 20 years of experience writing for companies and organizations in and around Greater Boston, including GE and MIT. In addition to actively writing for this smart home blog, Tim is also a regular contributor over at UniversalRemoteReviews.com. Tim holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University. There is a strong chance that he is developing a crush on Amazon Alexa. Brennan is a father to two sons, an active blogger, a Star Wars nut, and loves a good taco🌮. He is super excited about seeing See on Apple TV in November.