Skip to main content

Apple TV adds free, ad-based channels for ABC News, AOL On, and PBS Kids

apple tv adds aol espn miramax series and movies watch abc
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple TV users have snagged access to quite a hefty bundle of new content today as a result of a handful of deals with various networks and content providers. Though there’s been no official word from Apple, the company’s official “What’s on Apple TV” page now includes icons for PBS Kids, Willow TV, ABC News, and AOL On. All of the new content is entirely free, but ad-supported.

ABC announced today that it has launched a new Apple TV platform for its ABC News branch that will include up to four channels of live streaming video and live hourly updates at any one time, available via the “Streaming Now on ABC News” button at the top of the new app’s interface, 24/7. News will be broken down and categorized based on the stories themselves, so viewers who want varying degrees of depth for each story can watch one clip, or watch several that are related to the subject. The network has also opened up its 50 years’ worth of archives as a new source for content, the first application of which will be a “This Week In History” feature updated weekly.

In addition to original programming such as Popcorn with Peter Travers, the new Apple TV channel will include nine affiliate ABC television stations for local news from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Fresno, Raleigh, and Milwaukee. All of the ABC News content is free to access, unlike the Watch ABC app for Apple TV launched late last year that required a cable subscription.

The addition of AOL On will bring a significant amount of video material to the Apple TV, including more than 900,000 videos, primarily short clips from AOL and AOL affiliates/partners like Huffington Post, TechCrunch, ESPN, and The New York Times. And there is even more free, long-form content on the horizon for AOL On. According to a report by CNET, the network is set to compete with video-streamers like Netflix by offering its content for free, supporting it with ads. This is looking like a potentially strong bet for AOL, considering the company is already working on its first long-form original series (Connected, a U.S. film inspired by an Israeli series) and has a deal with Miramax to bring full-length films to the network.

Finally, the addition of Willow TV brings comprehensive cricket coverage to Apple TV users, and the PBS Kids channel brings children’s television favorites such as Curious GeorgeDinosaur Train, Peg + CatDaniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, ArthurWild Kratts, and Sesame Street. According to a release from PBS, the user can personalize their child’s experience by creating a profile and identifying their local PBS station, similar to the app as offered by Roku and other streaming hardware. Offering video content specifically for children has become a must-have for any online video-streaming service – this move and the others certainly breathe new life into a device whose users have grown restless with the long gap between hardware updates.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Tretbar
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alex Tretbar, audio/video intern, is a writer, editor, musician, gamer and sci-fi nerd raised on EverQuest and Magic: The…
Get 3 free months of Apple TV+ if you sign up on your LG TV
Apple TV Plus on LG TV.

LG is giving owners of its TVs as old as the 2016 models three free months of Apple TV+, if they sign up through the Apple TV+ app in the LG Content Store or by hitting the banner on the LG TV home menu.

The offer is available for LG 8K and 4K televisions from 2016 to 2021 models, and you'll need to redeem the offer from November 15, 2021, to February 20, 2022. You're limited to one account per TV, and per Apple ID, and the promotion is only available to new Apple TV+ subscribers.

Read more
Google TV may add ‘free channels’ — which you almost certainly already have
App icons on Chromecast with Google TV.

Let's talk, for a minute, about the recent headlines about Google TV getting "free TV channels."

First, the context. The following is from a report in Protocol from longtime industry journalist Janko Rottgers:
Google is looking to make its Chromecast streaming device more appealing to cord-cutters. The company has plans to add free TV channels to Google TV, the Android-based smart TV platform that powers Chromecast, as well as select smart TVs from companies including Sony and TCL, Protocol has learned.
To achieve this, Google has held talks with companies distributing so-called FAST (free, ad-supported streaming television) channels, according to multiple industry insiders. These channels have the look and feel of traditional linear TV networks, complete with ad breaks and on-screen graphics. Free streaming channels could launch on Google TV as early as this fall, but the company may also wait to announce the initiative in conjunction with its smart TV partners in early 2022.
There's news in there, for sure. Just maybe not quite in the way some outlets are writing it.

Read more
Tons of T-Mobile subscribers just got a free year of Apple TV+
Jason Sudeikis as the title character in Ted Lasso on Apple TV+.

If you're a T-Mobile subscriber on one of the company's Magenta or Magenta Max unlimited data plans, you're going to be getting access to Apple TV+ for free, for a whole year, starting August 25. Unlike some other bonus offers, this one isn't just being used as a way to lure new subscribers to T-Mobile (though clearly, it could do that as well).

T-Mobile customers on the company's Magenta 55+, Magenta Military, Magenta First Responders, Sprint Unlimited Plus, Sprint Premium, and T-Mobile for Small Business Customers plans all get in on the free Apple TV+ action. Better yet, it doesn't matter if you're currently on a free trial for Apple TV+ or if you're already paying for the streaming video service. Those in the midst of a free trial will see their trial period extended by 12 months, while paid plans will be put on a payment holiday for the duration of the free year.

Read more