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Can You Watch Live TV on Apple TV? Everything You Need to Know

by Lidia Lucovic

Apple TV, the compact streaming box from Apple, is primarily designed for streaming apps and purchased media. However, can it also be used for watching live TV? Before delving into that, it is essential to differentiate between Apple’s streaming box, Apple TV, and its streaming service, Apple TV+. Apple TV is a streaming box that operates on tvOS, a software deeply integrated into Apple’s ecosystem. On the other hand, Apple TV+ is a subscription-based service priced at $6.99 per month, providing access to Apple’s original content, including popular series like Ted Lasso.

Although the best and only way to watch live TV on an Apple TV is through individual apps, the experience doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Since most cable and satellite TV providers do not offer Apple TV apps, users need to access each channel’s application to watch live TV. However, content from many supported apps can be discovered and accessed through the singular Apple TV app, making it easier for users to find the live TV they want, even without cable or satellite service.

Various forms of live content can be streamed on an Apple TV through respective apps. For instance, a newscast might be found on the CBS app, and a sporting event could be broadcast on the ESPN app. In the U.S., the list of live channels on Apple TV includes ABC News, Bloomberg, CBS, CBS News, CNBC, Disney Now, ESPN, Food Network, Fox News, MSNBC, NBA, NBC Sports, and Spectrum TV, among others. Instead of downloading each app separately and searching through all of them, users can use the Siri Voice Remote to find the right live TV with their voice.

By activating Siri with the side button of the remote and speaking the name of the channel they want to watch, users can quickly access the desired content. For example, saying “Hey Siri, turn on NBC” will open the app streaming that network. If the channel is not immediately recognized, users can ask for the name of the event to get a result. This method works well with sporting events, where saying something like “Play the Giants game” will open the ongoing sports event.

If an app needs to be installed to access the content, an on-screen prompt will appear, and users may need to enter their Apple ID password. Additionally, individual apps may require a subscription to access certain live media. Users with a TV provider linked in the Settings app might have an easier time with certain apps, as access to those channels is pre-authorized. Regardless, Siri provides a quick and easy way to stream Live TV content from an Apple TV box.

In 2023, there are several subscription platforms that offer live TV, but unfortunately, Apple’s own Apple TV+ is not one of them. Some popular options include Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Fubo. These services vary in price, with some being more budget-friendly than others. Hulu’s addition of live channels, for instance, costs around $70 per month, while Sling TV packages start as low as $40 per month, with the first month costing just $20. Many of these apps are available on Apple TV, where existing subscribers can sign in and start watching right away.

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