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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 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 more of a streamlined product. In spite of their similarities and overlap, it is fairly easy to decide which is right for an individual or household.

The latest 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 expand support to include 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. Thanks to the addition of new content each month, Apple TV+ now offers access to more videos than ever before. However, the entire Apple TV+ catalog is accessed directly through the Apple TV app, and this is where things can start to become confusing.

In our experience, the easiest way to understand the differences is to think of Apple TV+ as a subscription service and Apple TV as an app that houses everything video-related, including Apple TV+.

Below is a closer look at some of the more important differences between Apple TV and Apple TV+:

Apple TVApple TV+
AppX
Payment typePer videoPer month
CostVaries$6.99/mo.
CatalogRentals
Purchases
Subscriptions
Originals
ChannelsX
MLS Season Pass
Friday Night BaseballX

Apple TV is an app, Apple TV Plus is a service

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 MLS Season Pass, Paramount+, Disney+, or any of the other Apple TV channels, all of this happens within the Apple TV app.

Apple TV library
Apple TV library

In contrast, Apple TV+ offers none of these benefits. Instead, it is its own subscription service that lives within the Apple TV app just like Paramount+, Disney+, or any of the other Apple TV channels. Priced at $4.99 per month, Apple TV+ is the exclusive home for all of Apple’s original programming, including Ted Lasso, Severance, Shrinking, and more.

Apple TV plus library
Apple TV+ library

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+, a separate subscription is required to actually watch any of the shows and movies available through Apple TV+.

Apple TV, TV+ or both?

Whether Apple TV on its own is enough or whether you should add Apple TV+ will depend on the individual needs of you and your home. However, what is clear is that if you want access to Apple TV+ then you will need access to the Apple TV app as well, There is no separate Apple TV+ app.

If you are an existing Apple user that just wants access to the shows and movies you’ve purchased through iTunes, then the Apple TV app will be enough. Likewise, the Apple TV app is also only needed to rent a movie, add an additional channel like Showtime or Starz, or watch MLS matches through MLS Season Pass.

Even then, it is worth noting that not all streaming services are currently available through Apple TV as channels. In some cases, you may still need to download a separate app to access some streaming services.

If you want access to Apple’s original shows, movies, and other content, then you will want to consider signing up and subscribing to Apple TV+. This is also the case if you are an MLB fan and hoping to watch as much Friday Night Baseball as possible. Again, no additional app is needed to do this as Apple TV+ lives within the main Apple TV app, but you will need to add Apple TV+.

Providing you are already signed in to the Apple TV app then here’s how to add Apple TV+:

  • Open the Apple TV app
  • Click on the Apple TV+ tab
  • Click on Get Apple TV+/Start Free Trial
  • Confirm billing information, if asked
  • Click Confirm

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 and everything 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. Basically, 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, or MLS, Apple TV+ is needed. However, that also means the Apple TV app is needed as well.

John Finn
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John Finn

By John Finn

John Finn is the Founder and Editor of Streaming Better, a platform created in 2019 to help consumers navigate the complicated live TV streaming and subscription service market.

John has been covering technology for various online publications since 2014. After originally covering the wider tech industry as a writer and editor, John now spends his time focusing on the emerging video-streaming market, including live TV streaming, SVOD, AVOD, FAST, and TVOD services.

In a bid to keep up to date on the industry, John actively subscribes to multiple streaming services at the same time. However, John continues to advocate that the best approach for consumers is to rotate between streaming services as needed.

A Psychology graduate from England, who now lives in the US, John previously worked in the aviation industry as an airline reviewer. While reviewing airlines isn't quite the same as reviewing devices and streaming services, John brings the same analytical eye to all of his reviews and industry analysis, along with a special emphasis on what's best for the consumer.

Connect with John
Email: john@streamingbetter.com
X: @J_Finns
Website: JohnFinn.net

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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