Apple finally takes aim at your living room with new live TV service

From today, Apple TV brings Sky News live streaming to the UK and much, much more to its US-based users. Long-fabled iTV to follow?
Sky News on Apple TV

Several new apps have popped up on the Apple TV today, including the first that allow you to stream live TV. Apple, it seems, is finally making its long-rumoured play for your living room.

Here in the UK we’re getting a Sky News app for Apple TV, which allows viewers to watch the channel as a 24/7, subscription-free live stream. This app will also be available in Ireland and the US.

The US is getting a far bigger slice of Apple TV love today. The biggest news is that HBO GO is dropping onto the platform, allowing HBO subscribers to stream both live shows and previously broadcast films and TV episodes such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and The Wire.

There’s also new apps for WatchESPN, which delivers live access to five ESPN sports channels to anyone who has ESPN as part of their cable TV package, and Crunchyroll, a service that lets subscribers stream Japanese anime shows an hour after they air in their home country.

We expect this is the first of several such announcements from Apple – rumours suggest it's been in talks with TV networks for a number of years.

A grab for cord cutters

Apple TV

This move into live (and almost live) TV signals a real attempt by Apple to grab a share of the “cord cutter” market. For those of you who don’t know, this is the growing group of people that don’t watch TV broadcast via traditional means but instead use streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube for their video entertainment.

As broadband speeds increase, many more are set to join this market, eschewing satellite or cable telly in favour of a more flexible model that allows them to watch what they want, when they want. Apple already caters to cord cutters through the iTunes Store’s 60,000 movies and 230,000 TV episodes and the existing Netflix and YouTube apps for Apple TV, and this move into providing more live TV is only going to sweeten the deal for many.