Apple TV partners with HBO, ESPN to bring apps to set-top box


Apple has added some major content partners to its hobby project, the Apple TV. (Handout)
June 19, 2013

Apple announced Wednesday that it will be bringing videos content from HBO and ESPN through their video apps to its Apple TV set-top box.

The HBO Go and Watch ESPN video apps will be available Wednesday directly through Apple TV to customers with a subscription to the channels, Apple said in a statement. The company also announced partnerships with Sky News, the anime, Japanese and Korean video site Crunchyroll, and the music and concert-focused Qello channel.

The partnerships with HBO and ESPN are major additions for Apple TV — a successful but not heavily promoted product that the company’s executives still refer to as a “hobby.” Making direct Apple TV apps should make it easier for users to watch video on their televisions — before this deal, users had to stream these video apps from their other devices to their televisions through Apple AirPlay.

Not all users will be able to see all the app content directly on their Apple TV, however.

Laura Young, director of HBO’s Corporate Affairs said that DirecTV and Charter subscribers will not be able to use the apps.

Kevin Ota, a spokesman for ESPN, said that all Apple TV users will be able to access curated on-demand video, which includes short-form segments from shows such as “E:60.” “Outside the Lines,” “Sport Science” and others. But live access requires a subscription to an affiliated provider, he said. These include Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox Charter and AT&T U-verse.

Apple also provided a few updates on the status of its video catalog, saying that Apple TV users can now see over 60,000 movies and over 230,000 television episodes through the set-top box, and highlighted other partnerships with content providers including Hulu Plus, Netflix, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball League, the National Hockey league and online video services Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr.

The statement also said that iTunes users download over 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies from the iTunes store each day.

Related stories:

Apple introduces iTunes Radio, in bid for streaming market

AP: DreamWorks says Netflix deal will help TV revenue double to $200 million by 2015

Viacom gives Amazon exclusive rights to ‘Dora the Explorer,’ other kid shows

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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