Apple TV+ vs. Apple TV: How Are They Different?

Apple offers both a TV service and a streaming box under the banner of Apple TV, creating a bit of confusion. It’s become a trend for major companies to jump into the streaming service arena by simply appending a “plus” to their brand names—Disney, Hulu, and Paramount being just a few examples. Apple TV+ is another instance of this burgeoning practice.

The confusion intensifies with Apple because they had Apple TV before launching Apple TV+. However, Apple TV serves as more of a storefront, while Apple TV+ functions as a conventional streaming service akin to Netflix or Hulu. Adding to the complexity, Apple also markets a physical box known as the Apple TV.

But fear not! We’re here to untangle the differences and help you decide whether to subscribe to Apple TV+ or stick with consuming content through Apple TV. Let’s dive into what you need to know!

Apple TV vs. Apple TV+: 6 Must-Know Facts

Apple TV serves as an “a la carte” store allowing purchases or rentals of movies. Renting through Apple TV grants access to content for a limited timeframe.

In contrast, Apple TV+ functions as a subscription-based monthly streaming service, offering unlimited content viewing for a fixed price. However, having Apple TV+ doesn’t grant access to all content available on Apple TV.

Additionally, Apple TV refers to a set-top streaming box by Apple, enabling content streaming from various providers. Notably, owning an Apple device isn’t a prerequisite for accessing Apple TV or Apple TV+.

Apple TV vs. Apple TV+: Which One is Better?

Now that you’ve got a clearer picture of Apple TV and Apple TV+, let’s figure out which one suits you better. Since these are two distinct services, choosing between them might not be necessary. Apple TV works well if you’re inclined to buy or rent movies, yet there are plenty of alternatives available, such as Amazon Prime or even Vudu.

However, if you’re after specific shows like “Ted Lasso” or classic “Peanuts” cartoons, Apple TV+ becomes more relevant. Unfortunately, we can’t endorse this streaming service as wholeheartedly as we would Netflix or Disney+. It lacks the extensive backlog of content that might retain subscribers. Still, if there’s a particular show exclusively on Apple TV+, a short-term subscription might be worthwhile.

Despite our reservations about Apple TV+, the Apple TV app itself holds value. If you own an Apple device, chances are the Apple TV app is already installed. Give it a try and explore its offerings. Just remember, subscribing to Apple TV+ won’t grant you access to the a la carte options for free.

Apple is often associated primarily with hardware like computers, phones, and tablets. However, Apple TV+ demonstrates their capabilities beyond hardware, hinting at a more competitive future. Additionally, the Apple TV streaming device shines if you’re deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem of products.

Apple TV+Apple TV
StructureMonthly subscriptionA la carte
What You GetUnlimited streamingRent or purchase content
Exclusive Apple Content?YesNo
Price$7 per monthVaries by content
Commitment?Must cancel your subscription to end the membershipNo

What Is Apple TV?

Apple TV, crafted by Apple Inc., functions as both a digital media player and a streaming device. Its purpose? Providing users access to a vast array of digital content, spanning movies, TV shows, music, photos, and videos, all conveniently streamed directly onto their TV screens.

This gadget links up to a user’s television using an HDMI cable and taps into their existing Wi-Fi network, unlocking a world of streaming services, applications, and online platforms.

Fundamentally, Apple TV acts as a central hub for entertainment. Its user-friendly interface simplifies navigation through diverse media choices, seamlessly integrating digital content consumption within the home entertainment setup.

Available in various models with differing capabilities, Apple TV goes beyond just content streaming. Some models enable gaming, access to app stores, and interaction with virtual assistants such as Siri for voice-based commands and searches, enriching the overall viewing experience.

What Is Apple TV+?

Apple TV+ represents Apple Inc.’s venture into the subscription-based streaming service realm, offering a diverse collection of original content, including TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more.

As a pivotal part of Apple’s foray into streaming, Apple TV+ aims to furnish subscribers with exclusive and top-notch entertainment, accessible across various devices.

Diverging from conventional cable or satellite TV, Apple TV+ operates as an over-the-top (OTT) streaming service, granting users internet-based access to its content sans the requirement of a cable subscription. Its library continues to expand, featuring original productions spanning diverse genres and catering to varied audiences.

Content on Apple TV+ embodies the brand’s commitment to innovative storytelling and exceptional production standards. Emphasizing creative collaborations and distinctive narratives, the service unites esteemed actors, directors, and creators to offer engaging, unique content setting it apart in the streaming landscape.

Accessible through the Apple TV app, Apple TV+ content reaches a wide array of devices like iPhones, iPads, Apple TV units, Mac computers, and select smart TVs. Furthermore, the service supports offline viewing, enabling users to download content for later consumption, even without an active internet connection.

A Brief History

Apple TV made its debut in 2016, initially targeting iOS devices and the Apple TV streaming box. Over time, the application expanded its reach to encompass other Apple devices and even rival platforms. Essentially, Apple TV emerged as a replacement for the long-standing iTunes platform. As Apple broadened its device capabilities beyond music into various media forms, iTunes evolved accordingly.

However, by the mid-2010s, iTunes fell out of favor with many users who viewed it solely as a music platform, no longer essential in an era dominated by services like Spotify. Seeking clarity, Apple introduced Apple TV as a distinct video solution more in line with their evolving content aspirations.

Apple’s venture into selling and renting TV shows and movies traces back to 2008 when studios began offering content on iTunes. As competitors like Amazon Prime Video emerged, Apple aimed to stay pertinent in this fiercely competitive market. They sought to create an app accessible across various devices, ensuring widespread access to their storefront and content offerings.

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