Latest Apple TV Time Apps

Apple has rolled out iOS 6 to the masses.  After completing successful and trouble-free over-the-air upgrades on my iPhone 4 and iPad 2, I noticed the redesigned App Store for the iPad featured the recently-updated “TV Time” collection front and center.  Let’s see which and what types of apps made the latest version of Apple’s curated list.

Apple categorizes the apps into five groups: Networks & Services; Shows; Share; Guides; and Tools & Providers.  Pay attention to how Apple chooses to group apps because those labels train customers to expect certain features in each.  However, when you look at the apps you’ll see the lines are very blurry.  Many social check-in, programming guide and video viewing apps started at different points but are navigating toward overlapping features.

Networks & Services

What’s the difference between a network and a service?  Trick question – they’re grouped so users don’t have to figure out. This means Hulu, positioned in the market between TV network apps and aggregators like Netflix and Crackle, sits comfortably in the category.  Apple includes 20 apps here.  Here’s how I classify them:

Networks (13 apps):

  • ABC Family
  • ABC Player
  • Cartoon Network
  • The CW Network
  • HBO Go
  • MAX Go
  • NBC
  • PBS for iPad
  • PBS Kids Video
  • Smithsonian Channel
  • TNT for iPad
  • WATCH Disney Channel
  • WatchESPN

Eight of these apps come from just two companies, Disney and Time Warner, with each providing four. The remaining five apps are from NBC, CW, two PBS networks and the Smithsonian Channel.  Notice the Showtime network didn’t make the list, but it’s joint venture with the Smithsonian Institute did.

Services (7 apps):

  • Crackle – Movies  & TV
  • Hulu Plus
  • Netflix
  • TED
  • VEVO HD
  • Vimeo
  • Vudu Player

As mentioned, Hulu Plus is a mix of a network app and service app since it provides current network shows plus a library of archive shows and movies.  Hulu Plus and Netflix charge subscription fees while Vudu charges for rentals or purchases (but outside the app so Apple doesn’t get a cut).  Hulu Plus also runs ads, as do the free Crackle from Sony and Vevo for music videos.  TED’s “ideas worth spreading” app is ad-free.  Vimeo is for user-generated videos.  Note Amazon’s Instant Video app is not listed even though it’s a cross between what Netflix and Vudu offer.

All but four of the Networks & Services apps are rated at or below 3.5 out of 5 stars in the app store.  Only CW, the Smithsonian Channel and the two PBS apps are rated a 4 out of 5.

Shows Apps

Fourteen apps made the Shows collection.

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