Do I still need my Apple TV hardware appliance?
November 8, 2019 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Is there any reason to keep my Apple TV (hardware device), if I sign up for Apple TV+ (the streaming app)? This seems like a simple question, but my Google-fu is failing me.

I have an old Apple TV device that I bought six years ago. I use it maybe once per year to watch a movie that I buy through iTunes. I also have an Amazon Firestick that I use much more frequently, and I also have a Windows PC connected to the TV. My TV is a cheap, "dumb" TV with no ability to run apps directly on it.

From what I understand, Apple's new streaming service, called Apple TV+, will work as an app on an Amazon Firestick. If that's the case, is there any reason why I need to keep the Apple TV device? Are there any movies or shows that will work only through the Apple TV hardware device, but are not going to be available through the Apple TV+ app? Also, are there any cost savings to be had if I keep the Apple TV hardware device?
posted by akk2014 to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
AppleTV+ is one of a few different things to watch or do on the AppleTV hardware; there's apps for other streaming services (Hulu/Netflix/a few dozen smaller ones like Crackle/Vudu/Etc), network (CNN etc) or sport (MLB etc) apps, as well as games (Apple Arcade and others) and other general purpose apps, as well as "casting" ("airplaying") your iPhone/Mac/iPad audio or screen to your tv.

If the only thing you're aiming to use it for is the AppleTV+ show/movie content, and you're not especially enamored with the UI over the Fire stick then you can totally dump it! Apple's trying to get that content on as many devices as possible and wouldn't subdivide it into, like, platform-exclusives.

If any of those other things are possible use cases for your AppleTV hardware now or in the future, you might make sure the equivalent is available on the Fire stick before tossing the AppleTV.
posted by churl at 9:28 AM on November 8, 2019

The Apple TV box is required to (easily) watch your iTunes purchases on your television. (There are workarounds, but no click-and-play options yet).
posted by The Deej at 10:44 AM on November 8, 2019

As a side note, if you do keep the Apple TV hardware, the thing that I use it the most for is to share my laptop screen with another person - for example if I want their advice while shopping, I can easily use airplay to put all the options up on the larger TV screen as we discuss them.
posted by metahawk at 11:07 AM on November 8, 2019

Response by poster: @The Deej -- are you saying that you can't watch iTunes purchases through the Apple TV+ app?
posted by akk2014 at 12:11 PM on November 8, 2019

"Apple TV+ is a subscription streaming service from Apple that functions like an Apple TV Channel but is not an Apple TV Channel."

I don't do Apple TV, but it makes sense to me that the subscription service (which Amazon supports on the Fire Stick) is unrelated to purchases you've made through iTunes.

Calling all these different things "Apple TV" is really unfortunate.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 12:28 PM on November 8, 2019

Hey! Thankfully I was wrong! Previous info was sketchy but I just installed the AppleTV app on my Firestick and I can indeed watch all of my library of previous purchases.
posted by The Deej at 4:35 PM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm going to mark this question as resolved, but I still don't feel like I have a good understanding of the larger "Apple TV" ecosystem. As near as I can tell, the Apple TV+ streaming app duplicates the iTunes features that are native to the Apple TV hardware device, but I'm really not sure. I suppose I just need to find some time to experiment with it.
posted by akk2014 at 6:45 AM on November 18, 2019

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