The 10 Best TV Apps for Apple TV

These apps could change the way you watch television

Apple says apps are the future of television, which is why you can run a host of them on your Apple TV. Most of the broadcast stations and studios must agree because many of them (including Apple, Disney, and Paramount) are getting into the Apple TV game—either as free apps or paid subscription apps.

These apps are downloadable in the Apple TV App Store, which comes loaded on your Apple TV.

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Best for CBS Programming: Paramount+

Paramount+ Apple TV app
What We Like
  • Thousands of on-demand network shows, originals and movies.

  • Live news and sports.

  • Channels include CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, and more.

  • Two kids' modes: Younger Kids and Older Kids.

What We Don't Like
  • Restricts local CBS channel and 4K to a premium subscription.

  • No DVR capabilities for sports broadcasts.

Paramount+ replaced CBS All Access in early 2021. It improved on CBS All Access with more original shows and sports at a lower price.

Paramount+ pulls content from the channels that its parent company Viacom owns. They include BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Smithsonian Channel.

You'll also find live sports, including the NFL, EUFA, the Master's Tournament, March Madness, and more. Original programming includes Star Trek Picard and The Stand. It offers lots of kid-friendly shows, including Rugrats, Blue's Clues, and the SpongeBob SquarePants movie.

Two plans are available. They both include access to a library of on-demand content:

  • The Essential plan: Costs $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year. With the Essential plan, you stream with limited commercial interruptions. It does not include your local live CBS station, but you can still watch NFL games on CBS.
  • The Premium plan: Watch with no ads (except on live TV) for $9.99/month or $99.99/year. Includes your local live CBS station. Download your shows to watch offline.
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Best for NBC Programming: Peacock

Peacock TV Apple TV app
What We Like
  • Robust free tier with ad-supported content.

  • Live news and many sports.

  • Massive backlog of older NBC shows.

What We Don't Like
  • Full access to major shows and some live sports isn't free.

  • Mobile downloads not available on the free plan.

  • No 4K available.

Peacock is to NBC as Paramount+ is to CBS. The free account has thousands of hours of movies and TV shows that aired on NBC along with sports and news, which is plenty for most viewers. Still, if you want more live sports and next-day access to current NBC hits, you'll need a Premium ($4.99) or Premium Plus ($9.99) plan.

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Best for Lifestyle Content: Philo

Philo app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • 60+ live and on-demand networks

  • Channels include AMC, Lifetime, Paramount, Travel, Hallmark, HGTV, and more.

  • Kids shows include PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig, Nick Jr., TeenNick, and more.

  • Unlimited cloud DVR storage is included.

What We Don't Like
  • $25 per month subscription after a 7-day free trial.

  • Lackluster interface.

  • No live news or live sports.

Although Philo is relatively new as a TV app, it's caught the attention of cord-cutters everywhere. It's a bargain for people who are looking for lifestyle content sprinkled with documentaries, drama and comedy series, children's programming, reality TV, and movies. With more than 60 popular channels with live and streaming programming, it offers plenty of choices for viewers.

Where it falls down is on broadcast networks, local channels, and live sports. You won't see ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, or any of the national news commentary channels. Ditto for ESPN and NFL Network.

Philo offers a 7-day free trial followed by a $25 per month subscription.

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Best for British TV: BritBox

BritBox splash screen showing British actors
What We Like
  • New episodes of British shows hours after being broadcast in the UK.

  • Vast archive of old British shows.

  • No ads.

What We Don't Like
  • Interface is not particularly user friendly.

  • Requires a monthly or annual subscription. No free tier.

Any fan of British television should check out the BritBox app for AppleTV. BritBox focuses exclusively on British TV. It carries new episodes of current British dramas and soaps within a few hours of the airing in the UK, but it doesn't stop there. An archive of older shows includes classic Doctor Who, Blake's 7, The Avengers, and The Prisoner. Downton Abbey fans can catch older episodes in the archives and new ones as they happen, and Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot fans won't be disappointed.

After a 7-day free trial, Britbox requires a monthly $6.99 or annual $69.99 subscription.

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Best for History Buffs: HISTORY

History Apple TV app
What We Like
  • Includes favorites like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, and The Curse of Oak Island.

  • Access to the latest episodes.

  • New content added daily.

  • It's free.

What We Don't Like
  • Includes commercials.

  • Doesn't include archives. That requires a paid History Vault app and subscription.

Fans of the History Channel should feel at home with the HISTORY app on Apple TV. It carries new and recent episodes of your favorite History shows. The app delivers full episodes, clips, and related videos. Customize the watchlist to never miss your favorite shows, including Swamp People, American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and more.

This free app is commercial-supported, and it lacks the archives of many of the shows that have been shown on the History Channel in the past. For that, you need to subscribe to the History Vault app, also available for Apple TV.

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Best for Curated Cinema: MUBI

MUBI TV app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • New title added daily.

  • Features 30 curated movies that are hard to find elsewhere.

  • Clean, simple interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Only works with generation 4 Apple TVs and newer.

  • Films are available for a short period.

MUBI is a fantastic resource if you want access to the best films from across the planet. It has been called "Netflix for people who want to stop watching trash." MUBI is the equivalent of an arthouse theater in your living room.

Films are available for only one month. A new title is added daily, and one is removed. What is great about the service is its generous one-month trial offer and the huge range and extent of its hand-selected movie collection.

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Best for Sports: MLB TV

MLB TV app for Apple TV
What We Like
  • Up-to-date news and game scores.

  • Automatically adjusts game schedules to your time zone.

What We Don't Like
  • Live video feature must be purchased separately.

  • Requires an annual renewal fee.

You don't need to be a baseball fan, or even a sports fan, to appreciate MLB TV; it's a great example of how every sporting app should be in the future. You get in-depth on-screen stats about the games and access to home or away broadcasts. The app also offers the capacity to digitally record live games so you don't miss a moment. You can even watch multiple games at once and access the service on multiple formats.

Hockey fans should choose NHL.TV and soccer fanatics may prefer MLS Live on ESPN+. Viewers who love multiple sports should check out the Sports tab of the Apple TV app, where they can configure their favorite sports in one app.

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Best for Japanese Anime: Crunchyroll

Crunchyroll on Apple TV
What We Like
  • Impressive variety of new and older Japanese anime series.

  • Premium plan includes a library with more than 1,200 titles.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited selection of full-length movies with the free app.

  • Premium subscription is required to get rid of ads.

If you're a fan of anime or manga animations, then you'll love Crunchyroll. The free app contains plenty of free content to keep you entertained, while the Premium subscription offers over 25,000 episodes of the most popular Japanese shows, sometimes within one hour of their being broadcast.

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Best for Next Day Viewing: Hulu

Hulu Apple TV app
What We Like
  • Offers a better deal than most cable packages.

  • Flexible pricing plans with and without commercials.

  • Bundle available with Disney+ and ESPN+.

  • View many shows the day after their release.

What We Don't Like
  • No original content.

  • Navigating the interface could be easier.

An essential Apple TV app, at least for many US viewers, Hulu offers a huge collection of television shows drawn from some of the big U.S. cable networks. You get to see the latest episodes of most of the latest shows for one fixed price, and in combination with one or more of the other apps discussed here, your Apple TV will be your only source of TV entertainment in no time at all.

Hulu offers two subscription plans following a free trial. Hulu also offers bundles at a discounted price that include Disney+ and ESPN+ along with the Hulu plan of your choice. Other add-ons include HBO Max, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz.

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Best TV Binge Source: Netflix

Netflix for Apple TV app
What We Like
  • Adds original movies and series regularly.

  • Flexible plans for multiple screens.

  • Kids' profiles.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited selection of current cable shows.

  • No support for live TV.

Netflix has to be the best source of streamed mass-market movies. For a monthly fee, Netflix lets you choose from a range of film and television series and offers personalized recommendations to guide you to fresh titles. The great thing about the service is you can access it on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, as well as on your Apple TV.

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