Apple TV review 2021
By Aaron Howdle | Monday, April 12th 2021
Apple TV has been around for quite some time as a way to buy or rent movies and TV shows over the internet, or watch streaming services like Netflix, via it’s set top box. In late 2019, Apple launched its own streaming service Apple TV+, an ad-free subscription service promising quality original content. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer.
Apple TV+ is a streaming service from Apple. You don’t need an Apple TV box to watch Apple TV+ and you don’t need to subscribe to Apple TV+ to use an Apple TV box to rent or buy movies and TV shows. It is a fair bit cheaper than competing streaming services and has high technical specifications with 4K, HDR video and Dolby Atmos sound where available. If you buy a new Apple product you get one year of Apple TV+ for free. Everyone else can watch free for seven days by signing up for a free trial.
When it launched in 2019, Apple TV+ only had a handful of shows, but they were all original series, with none of the previously aired boxed sets most streaming services use to bulk out their catalogues. The selection on Apple TV+ has grown but is still very small compared to the competition.
During 2020 Apple TV+ added a little extra bought-in content to its service like Peanuts cartoons and Fraggle Rock. But this was partly because it halted new productions during Covid-19 lockdowns. Despite the criticisms levelled at Apple TV+ for it’s small selection, it is worth bearing in mind that its productions are high quality, expensive TV. Perhaps, Apple’s riches allow it to play a long game.
Imagine in a few years when Apple TV+ consists of mostly, original, high quality shows which you can’t watch anywhere else. It is quite possible that a breakout show such as it’s upcoming adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, will seriously increase its viewership, much like The Mandalorian did for Disney+.
Subscribing to Apple TV+
If you would like to watch Apple TV+ you will need to set-up a subscription. You can do this on the Apple TV+ website, or via the Apple TV app on your iPhone, iPad, streaming device or smart TV. Currently you can’t use an Android phone or Chromecast to get the app, though plans are afoot to change that. You will need to use your Apple ID, or create a new Apple ID on the Apple website or in the app. You also need to give payment details if you are signing up for the free trial. Apple TV+ requires a credit card. Debit cards are not accepted.
What can I watch on Apple TV+?
Apple TV+ Originals
The selection of shows on Apple TV+ is small compared to Netflix or even Disney+. However the content is almost all original shows created for Apple TV+ with the exception of a couple of shows bought in while productions paused during the Covid pandemic.
The current crop of original shows on Apple TV+ includes costume-drama comedy, Dickenson. For all Mankind, an alternative-timeline version of the race to the moon in which the USSR got there first. The Morning Show, which is about the cut-throat world of breakfast TV. There are also original movies like the beautifully animated Wolfwalkers and Fireball, where Werner Herzog explores meteor impacts around the world.
Looking ahead, Apple TV+ may have some great shows, but it still needs a break-out hit to really take-off. One possible candidate for this is its high budget adaptation of Foundation. Based on the epic Sci Fi books by Isaac Asimov which explore the fall and rise of a galactic empire. Fans will be excited about the upcoming series based on Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits and a new series of Fraggle Rock.
Where can I watch Apple TV+?
The Apple TV app is currently not available on Android devices. If you want to watch it, you can view Apple TV+ the following ways.
- On a computer or laptop – You can log into Apple TV+ on your computer or laptop via your web browser
- iPhone or iPad – At the moment you will need an iPhone or iPad to use the Apple TV app as Android is not supported yet
- Smart TV – Modern Smart TVs have a selection of apps which can be installed, among them is Apple TV+, As a relatively new service, you might need to update to the latest version of your Smart TV’s operating system
- Apple TV – It should come as no surprise that you can watch Apple TV+ on an Apple TV box. They are very advanced and capable, but they are also comparatively expensive compared to Roku, and its like
- Smart Stick – Roku and Amazon Fire TV sticks feature the Apple TV+ app
Our final verdict
- Some great Apple Originals
- Cheap compared to Netflix
- Best video and sound quality of any service
- Really not a lot of content yet
- Content quality varies
- Cannot watch on Android devices
Apple TV+ is typical of many Apple products in focussing on quality rather than quantity. 4K HDR video and high quality audio are standard on Apple TV+. It is also cheap compared to other streaming services, and free if you just got a new Apple product, so it is pretty painless to see if you like it.
The downside of Apple TV+ is that it won’t take long to watch all the content that appeals to you. However, this is likely to change with time. Another possible downside is that most content is mostly aimed at adult audiences, without a great deal on there for the kids at the time of writing.