While the world waits for Apple’s highly-anticipated streaming TV service, the company has offered a few teasers from the world of streaming video, adding both CBS Sports and USA Now to Apple’s venerable little set-top box, the Apple TV.
Neither app packs much in the way of surprises. CBS Sports grants unfettered access to a number of clips from NFL, MLB, NBA, and college matches, while USA Now, much like its mobile counterpart, lets authenticated cable subscribers watch clips and full episodes of USA shows. Both will be delivered in an upcoming over-the-air updates.
For a three-year-old piece of streaming hardware, the Apple TV still holds its own. After a clearinghouse price cut to $69 in March, the device has been gaining new apps steadily — HBO’s a la carte streaming service, HBO Now, notably launched first on Apple TV. Others have since made the jump to the platform in recent weeks, including NBC Sports Live Extra and TED Talks.
The new apps are only a hint of what’s to come — long-running rumors suggest Apple will unveil a completely reimagined set-top box at WWDC in June. In addition to a new design and a larger, touchpad-based remote, the next-generation Apple TV will reportedly integrate Siri and the App Store in some fashion. The internals are set for a much-needed bump, too — the device will sport a variant of Apple’s A8 processor and wireless chips capable of interfacing with HomeKit-supported smart appliances.
As for Apple’s subscription streaming TV platform, the service is expected to be built into the new device, though some estimates have put its arrival later than the new hardware, possibly in September. The latest information suggests it’ll carry around 20 channels and major networks ABC, CBS, and Fox for between $30 and $40 per month. For the sake of comparison, that’s a bit more than DISH Network’s Sling TV ($20) but cheaper than Sony’s Playstation Vue, which starts at $50 per month but offers a larger base selection of programming.
We’ll no doubt learn more on June 8, the date of WWDC’s keynote presentation.
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