The biggest disappointment for anyone with an Apple TV in the UK had been the sheer disregard that the UK channels had paid to it, with the exception of the BBC, which made iPlayer available as an app for the 4th generation Apple TV in December 2015. Back then no other UK channel had built an app for the Apple TV, but luckily that's no longer the case.

Most of the TV channels in the UK have an On Demand app that you can download from the Apple TV app store. Most recently, All4's On Demand app has arrived. We look at the best entertainment apps on the Apple TV here.

In addition to the various TV-related apps you can get on the Apple TV, in January 2018 Apple launched the TV app for the Apple TV (and the iPhone and iPad - read about that here How to use the TV app on iPhone and iPad in the UK). (The app launched in the US a little earlier).

Now you can use the TV app to search Netflix, Amazon Prime, ITVHub, My5 and more. The TV app makes it easier to find where a particular show or film is being shown, and means you can choose to watch a version that is free, either because it's in one of the services you subscribe to, or because it's been aired on UK TV recently and is in the relevant on demand app.

Apple has announced that it will be updating the TV app in May 2019 to include Channels - which will be on demand streaming services you can register for and watch within the TV app. We'll look at what these Channels might be in the UK below.

We also have more information about what's available for Apple TV in the UK below. And here's our wishlist of new features we hope will come in tvOS 13.

Which Channels do I get on Apple TV?

Not all the UK on-demand channels are available to search via the TV app on the Apple TV, and neither are all the UK content services. However, many services and on-demand channels are available as a stand-alone app on the Apple TV.

Now TV is a prime example of this - the app is available for Apple TV but you won't see it in the TV app.

Also missing from both the Apple TV and the TV app is UKTV Play.

When the new Channels feature launches in Apple's TV app later in 2019 we will see if any of these TV channels become Channels in the TV app - with users being able to sign up and subscribe via their Apple account, and watch the content wihtout leaving the TV app.

Below we compare what Apple TV offers compared to some of the wide range of TV set top boxes and other services:

On Demand channels

Device

All 4

BBC iPlayer

My5

ITV Hub

UKTV Play

Sky

Apple TV

 Y

Y

        Y

        Y

 

 

Roku

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

 

Amazon Fire

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Google Chromecast

Y

Y

 

Y

 

Y

Sony PlayStation

Y

Y

Y

 

 

Y

Now TV Box

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Y

YouView

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

SkyQ

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Virgin TV TiVo/V6

Y

 

Y

Y

Y

 

BT TV

Y

 Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Xbox

Y

Y

Y

 

 

Y

Freesat

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

 

Freeview Play

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Read our comparison of all the Apple TV alternatives here.

Streaming/subscription services in the UK

With the popularity of services such as Netflix, Amazon and Now TV you will be glad to learn that you can access them on the Apple TV.

Of course these services are available on other devices too. The only service that Apple TV has that no other device offers is the iTunes Store, where you can purchase TV shows and films, and even hire movies to watch.

Later this year the iTunes Store will be coming to some smart TVs and it seems that Roku and Amazon Fire TV will also support rentals and purchases from Apple's iTunes Store.

Device

Netflix

Now TV

Amazon Video

iTunes

Apple TV

Y

Y

Y

Y

Roku

Y

Y

Y

 

Amazon Fire

 Y

 Y

Y

 

Google Chromecast

Y

Y

 Y

 

Sony PlayStation

Y

Y

Y

 

Now TV Box

 Y

Y

 Y

 

YouView

Y

Y

 Y

 

Sky Q

Y

 -

 

 AirPlay

Virgin TV TiVo/V6

Y

 

 

 

BT TV

Y

 Y

 Y

 

Xbox

Y

Y

Y

 

Freesat

 Y

 

 

 

Freeview Play

Y

 

 

 

YouView

       

Along with Apple's TV+ streaming service, new services are coming from Disney, and a combined effort from the BBC and ITV called BritBox.

How to watch Netflix, Prime and Now TV on the Apple TV

Apple’s business model with the iTunes Store is very different to the successful subscription models used by Netflix, Now TV, and Amazon. Later in 2019 the iTunes Store may get a new life as a subscription service, read all about that here: Apple's plans for a subscription service.

For now, it’s easy to watch any content from Netflix, Amazon or Now TV on the Apple TV - in the case of Netflix and Amazon you can find this content via the TV app as described above, but you can also use the apps. Here’s how:

  1. If you have a 4th generation, or one of the new 4K Apple TVs, download the app for the streaming service from the Apple TV App Store.
  2. Open the app and enter your log in details.
  3. Find the content you want to play.

If your Apple TV device is older you can still watch this content, the Netflix and Now TV apps are available by default on older Apple TVs (not Amazon though).

We have a tutorial on How to watch US Netflix in the UK on iPad, iPhone or Mac here.