Basic Questions About Apple TV......

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Newbert, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. Newbert macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2015
    OK - Let me start by saying that I'm an old guy who isn't totally tech-naïve, but isn't always up on the latest and greatest. With that being said, I came across someone with an Apple TV today who loves it, but didn't have much time to explain things or demo it much for me.

    All I know is that he said he's basically cut the cable cord so that his monthly TV bill has been GREATLY reduced. THAT got me interested to learn more for sure - but what I'm finding is a bit confusing so let me just ask my questions:

    1. Can Apple TV be used to virtually (or even totally) remove reliance on the cable company (Time Warner in my case)? If so, exactly how does that work?

    2. One thing that's confusing to me is the concept of "apps" on a TV. (I have an iPad, so I know what an app is....). Is there a separate "app" for each channel/network (ie - NBC/ Fox, etc)? If so, do the apps need to be purchased? And/or is there a monthly charge for each app's content? I've read that some apps require a cable subscription - If that's the case, what's the point of the app and Apple TV?

    3. I don't watch a lot of TV, but what I do watch is important to me. So, how do I determine whether the content/programming that I'm interested in is available on Apple TV (and at what cost)? My main viewing is as follows: NBCSN (EPL Soccer); Fox Sports 1 (UEFA Soccer); CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox (mainly for sports and news); PBS and CNBC.

    4. Does Apple TV allow recording/pausing/skipping commercials like a DVR?

    Thanks for helping out a confused newbie to streaming TV.
  2. rolsskk macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2008
    Well, what do you mean by that?

    The simplest answer is "It depends". Some networks have apps, some do not. Some require cable subscriptions, others do not. The point of the app with a cable subscription is to generate revenue, but to address what's the point of the app and AppleTV, it's mainly for on-demand content, to watch stuff that's already been aired. For other apps, it's if you don't have a cable drop where the AppleTV is.

    You would google it or check the AppStore. As far as the CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS, buy an antenna and plug it into your TV, they broadcast for free in HD.

    It varies from App to App.
  3. off_piste macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2015
    Regarding number 3., you can get the broadcast stations via antenna. You'll have to switch inputs or get an HDHomerun unit and an app to stream them through the Apple TV. Definitely not a simple solution. You can pay $20 a month and get SlingTV to watch the broadcast channels, ESPN, AMC, etc but it doesn't have an app meaning you'll have to run the program on a computer or phone and AirPlay it to the Apple TV. PBS has a couple apps to watch programs. I've only tried the kids app so far so I'm not sure if all the content is on the app or if there are subscriptions. No idea on the soccer channels or CNBC.

    Regarding number 4., no the Apple TV does not have dvr functionality. There are some solutions likely beyond a novice that can be integrated through the Apple TV.
  4. Newbert thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2015
    Thanks for the responses.

    My main question was meant to address whether Apple TV would help substantially reduce my cable bill (that pays for content that I'm 90% not interested in). The guy I ran into today told me that he reduced his cable bill to only $13/month (basic channels only) and uses the Apple TV for everything else. But I don't watch a lot of "mainstream/popular" TV shows, so it sounds like perhaps it wouldn't work well for my situation.

    Thanks again.
  5. pjarvi macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2006
    Round Lake, IL
    1.) If you want to watch live content then no, ATV4 will not be a good replacement for a cable subscription. Try tuning in over the air broadcasts with an antenna directly connected to your TV if you have not tried to do so already, that would be a good alternative to cable for live content if you are in range or can put up a large enough antenna where you live.

    2.) Apps on the ATV4 are similar to the apps on your iPad, try out any of the apps for a particular TV broadcaster on your iPad to get an idea of what they are like on the ATV4.

    3.) Of the channels you listed, only CBS and PBS are available without a cable subscription (that I know of). I have not tried CBS's app but do use the PBS app regularly. The PBS app does not offer all of the same content you get from your local broadcaster though. For example: Hometime, America's Test Kitchen, and a few BBC sitcoms are not available. PBS only streams in SD for free without registration, if you register (free) you can stream in HD, and they now offer a "Passport" service for $5/month to gain access to a slightly larger back catalog of shows.

    4.) No, if a service puts ads in their streaming service they are generally not skippable. Some may offer a subscription to reduce or eliminate the ads (Hulu for example), but others do not (Crackle). The ATV4 does not work like a regular TV broadcast since all content is watched "on demand", you simply start playing something when you want to play it, you don't need to "tune-in" at a particular time. Think of it more like Netflix, the content is just there for you to watch once it has been uploaded to their servers.

    I do not believe ditching cable would be right for you at this time, but do try the various broadcaster's apps on your iPad to get a feel for them.
  6. Hookemfins macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2013
    As others have said, CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX you can get with a regular antenna. On ATV you will need to pay $6/month for CBS for anything live. The other broadcast channels do have a free content not nothing live. NBCSN and Fox Sports 1 you need a subscribe to a satellite or cable provider as well as anything live on CNBC.
  7. StevenWalker macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2014
    ATV4 will not make you happy, suggest sticking with cable for your specific needs.
  8. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    I agree with the consensus view here -- in your situation, you probably would be dissatisfied with the ATV if your reason for purchasing it were cord-cutting. For the large majority of people at this time, it is a supplement to cable/satellite service. It fills in lots of gaps, for example, allowing a huge array of on-demand services (streaming services such as Netflix, purchase/rental services such as iTunes, just to name a couple) and various options for playing content stored in the cloud or on the user's computer. It can do many things cable/satellite cannot, and some of these are really cool, but cable/satellite has access to content, especially live shows, that ATV currently does not.

    Think about this like a Venn diagram, where one circle represents the ATV's capabilities and the other circle represents the capabilities of cable/satellite. If someone's use-case falls where the circles overlap, that user can cord-cut. If not, then cord-cutting is either not possible or would result in the loss of capability.
  9. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    Just adding to what others already stated. You are not really the target market for the ATV unless you were to borrow someones cable subscription info. People who watch premium cable (showtime and HBO) paired with netflix/hulu are the ones who really benefit most from the ATV. Out of the major networks, I think CBS is the only ones to offer a stand alone service.
  10. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Please note that if you "cut the cord" and watch a lot over the internet, your internet provider may have a data cap and you'll end up paying for the extra bandwidth you use.
  11. shandyman Suspended

    Apr 24, 2010
    Dublin, Ireland
    Not sure if you have something similar in the US, but in the UK there is an app to watch all the free to air channels on the Apple TV, so it has all the BBC channels, ITV channels, Channel 4 channels, etc. As well as there being BBC iplayer. Also there's a Now TV app that lets us watch Sky, one of the big 2 pay to view providers. So here, we can do it all via the Apple TV.
  12. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    Cape Cod
    I cancelled my cable TV service. Comcast is the only game in town, so I need them for Internet service, but that's it.

    Many cable channel apps require an active cable TV account, so they're not going to work. I have Netflix ($7.99/month, soon to be $9.99/month, my wife likes certain CBS shows so I have the CBS app, ($5.99/month), and I have the HBO Now app ($15.99/month). There's one show we enjoy that's not available, so I bought the season from iTunes. All told, I have more than enough TV to watch at a cost less than half of what it used to be.

    That said, I don't watch sports and I don't care about seeing every new show the moment it airs.
  13. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    Any streaming app which you can subscribe to directly on ATV will give you live content. Hulu and Netflix's original content can be considered 'live'.

    So you do not need a cable subscription for the following:
    HBO Now
    Hulu (gives you access to a lot of network content)
    Willow (Cricket)
    Fubo TV (Futbol!!!!!!)
  14. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    And for Hulu it is has a Commercial Free Option. Which means no need to use a DVR to record a lot of content so that you can skip commercials or what later. Live TV for News and Sports has some advantages but for most content I never watch it Live.
  15. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    CBS News and ABC news are both live. There are other news apps available also.
  16. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    I do not think they are the same as showing on the Cable or OTA Live Network News like say at 6pm. However, WatchABC does but that requires a Cable Subscription and also CBS All Access (I think) but that requires a Subscription as well.
  17. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    Get a homerun HD OTA tuner and Channels app. Problem solved.
  18. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    Good recommendation. I use it with the Prime but by far the most used App in my home.

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