Apple TV Gets HBO GO, ESPN, and More

Jun 23, 2013 by

As has been anticipated for a while, Apple TV owners now have access to HBO GO—a companion on-demand service available only to HBO subscribers. The HBO GO service is part of an update that included multiple additions to the Apple TV lineup, including Watch ESPN, Sky News, Qello, and Crunchyroll.

Watch ESPN requires cable service validation and offers live and on-demand viewing of programming from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ESPNU. The validation process is much like it works on other devices and services, but it requires you to access the web through a browser, and it didn’t work on any mobile device we tried. That could have been a Verizon FiOS issue, but it’s something that needs to be fixed if this process is going to be necessary for every new companion service we see.

Sky News is available, even for U.S. customers, at no charge and without any registration. Qello and Crunchyroll, however, require that you register for their respective online services.

Each of these new services uses Apple TV’s newer layout and navigation model introduced earlier for Hulu Plus and the on-board TV and Movies sections. This common interface ensures that each new service is as simple as navigating around the Apple TV itself. It also minimizes the amount of annoying branding within the services (though you will see the service name and, quite unnecessarily, your provider’s branding subtly displayed on some screens).

Notably, none of these services offers à la carte content purchases, which would compete with Apple’s own iTunes Store. So while Showtime Anytime and MAX GO might show up on this platform at some point, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see VUDU or Amazon Instant Video.

To get the new services, you may need to check for updates under Settings.