Apple in Talks to Bring 'WatchESPN' App to Apple TV


macrumors 604
Jan 24, 2008
Do they require a cable subscription or simply Internet? I thought I read only Internet yesterday (with approved provider) when looking around. I could be wrong, though; it's happened before...
ESPN3 is available from specific internet providers through a web browser. The rest of the channels available through and related apps require a cabletv subscription.


macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2008
Actually, I wasn't referring to indie developers. I was referring to ESPN for this instance: they could create their own app, charge for content, Apple takes their 30% usual cut. Instead of Apple chasing down content providers to build up the AppleTV, Apple simply opens up the iOS platform to it where ESPN, SyFy, OWN, HBO, etc. wouldn't have to rely on cable companies. They get a direct line to the consumer. The MLB app is a perfect example of it.
This!!! I think when Steve said he "cracked it" he meant he would let those with cable subs use their logins to access media, but you can also subscribe inside the app and give Apple 30%. It's a win-win for everyone. (until people start canceling cable subscriptions :))


macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
ESPN is the main reason I haven't cut ties with DirecTV yet, I gotta have my sports! Here's hoping that this is a subscription based fee rather than it's current set-up in which you need to have a subscription with a qualifying cable/sat provider. I'm pretty sure as contracts begin to expire with content providers, ESPN and other networks will probably be able to begin to sell direct subscriptions to end users via Apple TV and other similar devices.
Yes, I hate the fact I can't use this on my iPad because my ISP doesn't qualify (even though it does via laptop). I'd rather pay for something than have to be dependent on ISP.


macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2010
So, will Apple finally bring a la carte channels to AppleTV/iTV? Not a good time to be a cable company I guess. Or at least the cable companies will have to change their business model to deliver individual channels to iTV. I would be working with Apple instead of working against the Internet. People will pay if it is convenient and professional.

I wouldn't pick ESPN, but there are a handful of stations I don't get now that I would pay for.


macrumors 68000
Jun 29, 2007
Aluminum remote:
  1. Press desired button.
iPhone as remote:
  1. Press Sleep/Wake or Home button.
  2. Slide to unlock.
  3. Enter passcode, if required.
  4. Press Home button, if another app is currently running.
  5. Flip to correct home screen, if required, to locate Remote app.
  6. Launch Remote app.
  7. Wait for app to locate AppleTV over Wi-Fi network.
  8. Press desired button or perform required function.
i find both remotes useful. If i'm already using my iPad/iphone i'll just preemptively open the remote app and let it run in the background so ill i have to do is go to the multi-task bar to re-open it. If i'm not i'll use the alum remote.

If there were apps on the appletv i bet the remote app would see an update to an interface to navigate the apps/channels on your atv. Maybe with iOS 6 we'll see an integrated setup that you can turn on or off built into the iPhone. Something like a button near the camera button on the lock screen that would pull up the remote when your atv was on and you were connected to the same network.


macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
ESPN is not only owned by Disney they paid out some ridiculous fees to major league sports organizations for access to content

no way they ditch cable subscription fees

Amen. ESPN charges your cable provider $4.69 per subscriber, per month.


macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2011
Melbourne, Australia
I just wish they'd let you edit which Apps are shown.

As an Australian, I couldn't give a rip about Netflix, WSJ, NBA, NLB or ESPN.
Give countries their own content and open up this damn Apple TV store already!!

I'm over it being just 'a hobby' - consumers are wanting more.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2007
Indiana, US
Has anyone used Xbox 360's ESPN app? It's fantastic. You can watch live ESPN3 sports, and even participate in live polls. (Who do you want to win, etc.) Even better, you can watch archived games. Any sporting event that was aired on ESPN is stored on there as long as ESPN can get the rights (no NFL, for example).

If this is the future of television, I'll be an early-adopter.


macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2009
When are we going to be able to subscribe to these channels without having cable? I got rid of cable years ago, now use Netflix, Hulu plus, iTunes, and Xbox live. If I could get ESPN and TNT I wouldn't have to stream that programming.


macrumors newbie
May 8, 2009

Always seems to me to be some form of antitrust to require a cable subscription (and likely internet service from the cable provider) to watch content made available on the internet by a content provider.

Wish someone would challenge this as it perpetuates a monopoly by the cable companies who are busy snapping-up content to insure that they will continue to extract their pound of flesh in perpetuity.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 17, 2010
In addition to the normal ESPN channels - the app also streams games available only online, such as ESPN3.
Still doesn't make sense to me. Most people that I know who want this app already have ESPN3, as they are already huge sports fans.

So if you already have ESPN3, and are required to have an actual cable TV subscription to the ESPN channels, what is the use of this app on a separate box for your TV?

Hardly a game changer.


macrumors 604
Jan 24, 2008
Still doesn't make sense to me. Most people that I know who want this app already have ESPN3, as they are already huge sports fans.

So if you already have ESPN3, and are required to have an actual cable TV subscription to the ESPN channels, what is the use of this app on a separate box for your TV?

Hardly a game changer.
What if you have a tv without a cable box? Or even a cable connection? What if you prefer the AppleTV interface to the cable company's UI? What about the possibilities of supplemental content through the app that you don't get with the basic stream?

I can't get ESPN in HD without a cable box, and only one of my TVs has a cable box. Would be nice to get ESPN in HD on a second TV.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 28, 2007
How many watched the Paul McCartney concert streamed on iTunes and completely missed it??

THAT was the future of television Jobs was speaking about.

(Arificially) scarce availability of content is what the industry (most especially Disney) is after. No you can't buy that movie. It was available for sale for a limited time and you missed it.

Stupid as it seems to consumers, who've already moved light years beyond that nonsense, it's a compromise, like DRM on music. One step at a time, people. We have to get them into the game before they can see the rules have changed, stop fearing it and get on board with it.

On the other hand, inside word is that Hollywood is ALL about streaming at the moment. And don't think they'll let anyone, not even iTunes get between the distributors and their customers. So, there's that to contend with.

Every studio will want its own proprietary streaming format, that they alone totally control. It will be even worse than we have now, because that's they way they like it.

So let's get behind even the dumbest iTunes moves, because the alternative is bedlam. And who needs that when all they want to do is watch a movie?

No, I don't want a Warner Bros app or a Universal app, or a Sony app, or a Paramount app, or a …


macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2006
Ft. Lauderdale
Until these "apps" are independent of having a subscription tied to a cable/satellite provider I'm not getting excited because it's not doing anything to get rid of cable/satellite only solidifying our dependence on it..

In order to have access to these apps, HBOgo, WatchESPN, etc,etc.. it's all tied to whether you already pay for these channels in your cable/satellite package..