Apple TV+ Not The Same As Apple TV: Here’s How They Are Different

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Apple TV and Apple TV+ are very similar and are even accessed though the same app, but that doesn’t mean they are the same. While Apple TV looks to provide access to a variety of shows, movies and other videos, Apple TV+ is narrower on content. However, it is fairly easy to decide which is right for an individual or household.


The current version of the Apple TV app was first announced in March of 2019 and rolled out on iOS, Samsung TVs and Apple TV streaming players in May of the same year. Since then, the app has continued to roll out to more platforms and devices, including Android TV and Google TV. Apple TV+ was first announced in September of 2019 and eventually launched in November of the same year. Since then, it has continued to expand on content. Apple TV+ videos can be watched directly through the Apple TV app.

The Apple TV app is a one-stop shop for everything video-related. Whether it is accessing previously purchased TV shows, movies, or rentals, signing up to Paramount+, Disney+, or any of the other Apple TV channels, all of this happens within the Apple TV app. In contrast, Apple TV+ offers none of these benefits. Instead, it is its own subscription service that lives within the Apple TV app. Priced at $4.99 per month, Apple TV+ is the exclusive home for all of Apple TV+’s original programming, including Ted Lasso, Servant, and The Morning Show.


Basically, Apple TV is an app for everything Apple provides access to, including Apple TV+. Although access to the Apple TV app is needed for Apple TV+, the service requires a separate subscription to actually watch Apple TV+ shows and movies.

Apple TV, TV+ or both?

The individual needs of a subscriber or household will determine whether just Apple TV is enough or whether it is worth adding Apple TV+ as well. While some may just want access to Apple TV+, that’s not really an option on its own considering there is no separate Apple TV+ app.

For existing Apple customers that just want access to their shows and movies purchased through iTunes, rent a movie, and to occasionally add an additional channel like Showtime or Starz, then the Apple TV app is likely to be enough on its own. Although it is worth noting that not all of the popular services are available through Apple TV channels. For example, those wanting to watch HBO Max or Netflix shows and movies will still need to download the separate Netflix or HBO Max app on their device.


For those that specifically want access to Apple’s original shows movies and other content, they will need to sign up and subscribe to Apple TV+. Again, no additional app is needed here as Apple TV+ lives within the main Apple TV app, but a standalone monthly subscription is required.

Apple TV vs. Apple TV+ summary

Apple TV and Apple TV+ are different. Apple TV is more of an all included app where uses can watch shows and movies they already own, rent or purchase new ones, and even subscribe to a wide selection of subscription services through Apple TV channels. Put simply, it is an app for existing Apple device users to access anything related to video.

While Apple TV+ is also accessed through the main Apple TV app, it is its own separate service that requires a standalone subscription. In this sense, Apple TV+ is not any different to Netflix, HBO Max or Disney+. For those that just want to watch Apple’s original shows and movies, Apple TV+ is needed. However, that also means the Apple TV app is needed as well, as there’s no separate Apple TV+ app.


Read more: HBO Max Not the Same as HBO: Here’s How They Are Different

John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been editing and writing about technology and streaming for online publications since 2014, and believes the best streaming approach is to rotate between services as needed.

John's preferred live TV streaming service right now is YouTube TV although he does tend to switch live TV services multiple times each year to keep up to date with their changes. Outside of live TV, John also actively streams HBO Max (for the shows), Peacock (for Premier League), and Paramount Plus (for Champion's League). However, John is also currently subscribed to Apple TV+, Discovery+, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, and Shudder.

Contact John via email at or say hi on Twitter

6 replies on “Apple TV+ Not The Same As Apple TV: Here’s How They Are Different”

I pay for Apple TV and can’t watch any episodes Of Ted lasso but the first and second. This is very frustrating. Please help

If you mean you pay for the Apple TV device, that’s simply a smart box, like Chromecast. Apple let’s you watch first (and second) episodes of Apple content free. The shows (streamed content) are a separate issue. Ted Lasso is exclusive Apple-created content so you need to subscribe to Apple TV+. That’s the point of the article above.

I have the Apple TV app downloaded on my Fire TV. I have a subscription to Apple TV Plus. I cannot watch Ted Lasso beyond Season 2. My billing says I am paying for Apple TV Plus (ordered through iTunes). I cannot download the Apple TV app because I already have it, although it doesn’t appear that I am paying for it. No one at Apple has been able to help. Suggestions??

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