Apple TV vs. Apple TV+: How Are They Different?

apple tv vs apple tv+

Apple TV vs. Apple TV+: How Are They Different?

Apple has a TV service as well as a streaming box. They use the term Apple TV for two different services and the box, which is a little confusing.

It seems like every major company wants a streaming service today, and the way they go about it is simply by adding a plus to their name. Disney, Hulu, and Paramount are just a few of the many companies that took their well-known brand, put a plus next to it, and launched a streaming service. Apple TV+ is just another example of this growing trend.

But Apple gets a little more confusing because they already had Apple TV prior to the launch of Apple TV+. However, Apple TV is a little different since it is essentially a storefront, whereas Apple TV+ is a traditional streaming service, much like Netflix and Hulu. Making matters even worse is the fact that apple also has a box called the Apple TV, which we’ll discuss.

But, don’t worry! We will break down all of the differences and whether you should sign up for Apple TV+ or if you should hold out and just keep watching content from Apple TV. Let’s get into what you need to know!

Apple TV vs. Apple TV+: Side-by-Side Comparison

Apple TV vs Apple TV+
Apple TVApple TV+
StructureA la carteMonthly subscription
What You GetRent or purchase contentUnlimited streaming
Exclusive Apple Content?NoYes
PriceVaries by content$7 per month
Commitment?NoMust cancel your subscription to end the membership

Apple TV vs. Apple TV+: What’s the Difference?

Putting a “+” symbol next to your name to indicate a streaming service has pretty much become the norm, and it’s actually made things fairly easy for consumers to understand.

However, Apple is not so simple, and it’s very important to fully understand what you’re paying for before subscribing to a streaming service. So, let’s take an in-depth look at each option and how they will benefit you.

Apple TV

Apple TV is an application found on iOS and macOS that was created by Apple. It is both a media player and a store where you can purchase and watch a wide range of video content. The purpose of the app was to replace the all-in-one iTunes store with a separate application for video content. It also took on the role of the previous Apple Videos app on iOS.

From the app, you can purchase or rent movies and TV shows spanning decades. Nearly anything you can imagine is available. Simply put, Apple TV is like a modern-day Blockbuster. However, you can also use it to watch content that you manually add to your device. This could be things like home movies and other videos not found in your Photos app.

You don’t need to have an Apple device to use Apple TV. In recent years they’ve added it to a number of other platforms such as Roku, Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation, and many other smart devices. The app itself is free for anyone to download, and it is included with all Mac computers, iPads, iPhones, and Apple TV streaming boxes. However, you have to pay extra for the content that you watch.

A Brief History

Apple TV was first released back in 2016 for iOS devices as well as the Apple TV streaming box. The application eventually rolled out to other Apple devices as well as their competitors. Apple TV, in short, is a replacement for the long-used iTunes platform. As Apple grew their devices from simply music listening to a range of other media, they grew iTunes with it.

However, by the mid-2010s, iTunes was no longer used by many people. Most users saw it as simply a music platform that was no longer necessary in the age of services like Spotify. To make things clearer, Apple launched Apple TV as a separate video solution which was more closely aligned with their new content goals.

As for apple selling and renting TV shows and movies, that strategy actually goes back to 2008 when the first studios began selling content on iTunes. Since then, many competitors have popped up, such as Amazon Prime Video. In order to stay relevant in this competitive market, Apple needed an app that they could launch on other devices, so everyone had access to their storefront.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is a fairly new streaming service that launched in November 2019. It is a subscription-based, on-demand service, meaning you pay one price per month and can access as much content as you would like. The service is very similar to Netflix or Hulu, but with one distinction in their pricing strategy.

Unlike other streaming services, Apple TV+ only has one plan. This is ad-free, and there is no lower-priced option or an ad-supported version. The subscription price of the service is currently $6.99 a month, with lower-priced options if you subscribe for a year. Once subscribed, you access Apple TV+ directly through the Apple TV app, which you can download on most smart devices.

Apple TV vs. Google TV
Apple TV+ is a streaming service, mostly with its own content, whereas Apple TV allows you to buy or rent content “a la carte.”


Types of Content

A major concern for many people before subscribing to a streaming service is the types of content available. This is more important than ever because there are so many streaming services vying for your money. When Apple TV+ launched, there was a commitment by the company to stick primarily to the original content.

This sounds like a good strategy considering what many other companies, such as Netflix, faced as their competitors slowly pulled licensing deals to move content to their own streaming services. However, it seems that Apple underestimated the sheer amount of work that it would take to create 100% original content and grow a streaming service from the ground up.

Despite an introductory price of only $5 a month, subscribers were not coming to Apple, which had very little content to offer. Eventually, Apple made the decision to license third-party content, but a number of deals fell through. Since then, they have signed licensing deals with several big-name companies for iconic programs.

One of these includes the classic Peanuts films of Charles Schulz. However, Apple TV+ still has nowhere near the volume of content that its competitors have. But, in the last few years, Apple has had a few hits of its own with shows like Ted Lasso. They also signed distribution contracts with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.

Get Apple TV+ For Free

Before you go running to sign up for Apple TV+, there’s something you should know. You may be paying for Apple TV+ and not even realize it. Also, Apple is giving away an insane amount of free trials for the service, so you probably won’t need to purchase a subscription for a little while.

To start, everyone is eligible for a free seven-day trial of Apple TV+. But you may also be able to get a one-month or a three-month subscription if you’ve recently purchased an Apple device. Everything from iPhones to MacBooks is eligible for a free Apple TV+ free trial. T-Mobile even offers six-month and ongoing subscriptions included with certain plans.

If you’ve already used a free trial and there are no more offers that you qualify for, there may still be hope. People who subscribe to Apple One or Apple One+ get Apple TV+ included. Apple One is simply a bundle of different services that the company offers, such as Apple Arcade and Apple Music, as well as iCloud storage space for one low monthly price.

Apple TV Device

One final thing to clarify is that Apple TV also refers to a streaming device. This is actually the oldest use of Apple TV branding. The first version launched in early 2007 and ran on an Intel Pentium processor. Unfortunately, the streaming device got little attention for many years because of its high price in comparison to other competitors’ devices, such as Roku.

However, it has been growing in popularity, with the most recent version getting unveiled in October 2022. Apple TV works like many other streaming devices that connect to your TV and have a number of apps for different streaming services. Additionally, Apple’s tvOS operating system integrates a number of apps that can sync iCloud content with your other devices.

Apple TV vs. Apple TV+: 6 Must-Know Facts

  • Apple TV is an “a la carte” store where you can buy or rent movies.
  • Renting movies through Apple TV only lets you watch the content for a set period of time.
  • Apple TV+ is a pay-one-price monthly streaming service that lets you watch an unlimited amount of content.
  • Having Apple TV+ does not provide access to all content on Apple TV.
  • Apple TV is also the name of a set-top streaming box from Apple that lets you watch content from several providers.
  • You do not need an Apple device to watch Apple TV or Apple TV+.

Apple TV vs. Apple TV+: Which One is Better?

Now that you have a better idea about what Apple TV and Apple TV+ are, let’s take a look at which one you should use. Because these are two completely different services, there really isn’t a need to choose. Apple TV is a good option if you want to buy or rent a movie, but there are many alternative services you could use, such as Amazon Prime or even Vudu.

However, if you were looking for specific TV shows like Ted Lasso or Peanuts cartoons, then you will want Apple TV+. Unfortunately, we can’t recommend the streaming service like we could Netflix or even Disney+. It just does not have the backlog of content that could keep someone subscribed. But if you want to watch a specific show only offered on Apple TV+, then you should get the service for a couple of months.

Although we aren’t the biggest fans of Apple TV+, we still think Apple TV is a worthwhile application. If you have an Apple device, the Apple TV app will already be on there. Just go to it and check it out and see if there’s anything worthwhile. Just keep in mind that even if you subscribe to the Apple TV+ service, you will not get access to the a la carte offerings for free.

Many people think of Apple just as a hardware company because of their computers, phones, and tablets. But Apple TV+ is proof that they can do much more, and in the future, it is likely that they will be more competitive. It’s also worth mentioning that the Apple TV streaming device is a great choice if you are invested in the Apple ecosystem of products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you watch all content on Apple TV with Apple TV+?

No, you can only watch content on Apple TV+ with your subscription. This is completely separate from the regular Apple TV content that you have to pay for individually.

Do you need an Apple device to watch Apple TV?

No, Apple created Apple TV apps for most major smart devices and mobile platforms. This includes Roku, Amazon Fire, Xbox, PlayStation, and Android, to name a few.

Do Apple TV+ subscribers get a discount on Apple TV content?

No, while it would be nice for Apple to give their subscribers a discount, there are currently no offers for Apple TV+ subscribers who want to buy or rent content on Apple TV.

Is there an alternative to watching MLB and MLS games on Apple TV+?

Unfortunately, games airing on Apple TV+ are exclusive to the streaming service and will not be available anywhere else.

Is there any commitments with Apple TV+?

No, it works like Netflix and other streaming services, where you can cancel at any time to stop being charged.

To top