Analysis: Navigating Streaming TV Channels is a Mess

1 minute read
| Editorial

I knew there was a reason why, in the past, I instinctively avoided the Apple TV app. But when Apple released the Channels feature in iOS/tvOS 12.3, I decided to take the plunge and explore it. I was particularly interested, as I’m sure readers were, in subscription management.

[An Introduction to Apple’s New TV App]

 

Some of Apple TV app’s Channels.

But what I didn’t explore was how content is available cross-platform. Recently, I found this amazing article by Jared Newman at TechHive who really digs into the details of Channel operations. See: “Amazon, Roku, and Apple TV Channels are a well-intentioned mess.

But in trying to simplify streaming video sign-ups, these “Channels” services have created new complications. Each service has a different set of features, along with different restrictions on which devices you can use. They can also be more expensive than individual apps that offer annual subscriptions. And because the biggest streaming services don’t support these Channels marketplaces at all, you still have to deal with multiple apps and billing systems in the end.

That article is a lot to digest, but basically, the more I read about Channels, the more I think I want to live solely in each service’s app on my Apple TV 4K. The industry as a whole, it seems, is never going to make things straightforward and coherent, so it’s left to the customer to enforce simplicity and sanity.

That’s good for us but bad for Apple and the other Channel providers.

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