Rolled out earlier today as a content expansion, Apple has added two new video applications to the Apple TV set-top box. Both requiring authentication through a premium cable service provider, the two new channels on the Apple TV interface are business news network CNBC as well as an on-demand service called FOX NOW for programming on the FOX channel. As noted by Apple enthusiast site 9to5Mac, the CNBC channel includes business related programming such as ‘Restaurant Startup’ and ‘The Profit’ while the FOX NOW application offers access to shows such as ’24: Live Another Day’, ‘Gang Related’, ‘Masterchef’ and ‘Cosmos: A Space Odyssey’.
Similar to premium services like Hulu Plus, both applications will offer programming the day after new episodes air on television. In addition, full seasons of new television series will be available through the application as the Fall 2014 television season starts and progresses through the new year. This could be a small competitive advantage over a service like Hulu Plus, assuming FOX restricts when Hulu can offer a new episode of a television program.
In addition to the FOX NOW application, an FXNOW application is expected to arrive on the Apple TV in the coming future. When this application is available, Apple TV users will likely be able to access the full library of ‘The Simpsons’ episodes as well as programming such as ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’, ‘Justified’ and ‘Archer’.
Of course, Apple has yet to announce a hardware revision for the popular set-top box. It’s possible that Apple will update the internal hardware to offer a faster user interface on par with the Roku 3 or Amazon’s Fire TVt. Assuming a revision to the hardware is still on track for a 2014 release, it’s possible that Apple will stick with an early September launch to coincide with the anniversary of the 2nd revision to the hardware. That would also position the Apple TV launch away from the rumored launch of the iPhone 6 while still making the set-top box available for the holiday shopping season.