With Apple finally launching its own TV streaming service, Apple TV Channels and original programming with Apple TV+, the streaming entertainment market just got that sweet little dollop of fudge on top of an already over-sized and tilting sundae.
Apple brings out the big guns
Apple trotted out Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Speilberg, Big Bird and freaking Oprah so you know that there is some serious bank behind Apple TV+, which is a service on top of Apple TV Channels. So the cost to the consumer is surely going to be a base fee for Channels, then an added fee for the plus service. The Apple TV presentation coolly left out any pricing details, but we’ll pay. We’ve cut the cord. We’re committed to streaming.
Be Careful…costs can add up quickly
But with dozens upon dozens of streaming entertainment services available, how can we choose without incurring costs that are much greater than what we were paying for cable? Is the lack of commercials worth the price we are paying? Are our brains strong enough to endure the endless availability of content to consume? Is it enough to just be entertained by whatever is available or do we need all the streaming all the time?
The question of priority is overshadowed by the question of your social media. Can you subscribe to a service that you enjoy, like Qello and talk about nothing but concerts on Twitter and Facebook while everyone else is talking about network television?
Deciding what services you want is important
All the niche services add up very quickly, so either you are playing in the niche sandbox or you are looking for something larger that might offer a sliver of niche content. Which is what Apple TV Channels is sort of promising with content sharing deals in place.
Most of us have Hulu because we like to watch network television the next day. We have Netflix because we like to sneer every time we see a new Steven Seagal movie listed in our suggestions because we watched five minutes of a VOD Bruce Willis movie once. We also subscribe to Amazon Prime because we spend so much money on stuff that we can’t wait more than two days to receive it. We pay an abnormally high amount for Playstation Vue because it offers a ton of content and the ability to record and keep it forever.
Could Apple TV Channels negate the need for Hulu? While the Apple TV app will support Hulu and other TV apps such as DirecTV Now and Playstation Vue, those will still need their own subscriptions. But could it negate the need for some niche services? Absolutely. It’s got Starz, Showtime, HBO, CBS, All Access, Comedy Central, Brit Box, Curiosity Stream, Shudder and many more slightly popular niche TV apps bundled into its service. So that takes a lot of pieces off the table.
Its direct competition for à la carte TV channel offerings is Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Sling TV is a complimentary streaming service, not meant to usurp larger providers like Hulu or Netflix. PlayStation Vue is a ridiculously priced service that might not have ads but will have you questioning your budgeting skills. Knowing this still doesn’t answer the question of which streaming service you should subscribe to for all your television content needs.
Streaming services are a give and take decision
What about Philo TV? Perhaps you are so much of an anti-establishment rebel that you prefer a service in which you pay for a group of channels that probably includes channels you like. Or maybe Pluto TV is for you. It’s certainly cost effective as it is completely free, chock full of ads and well, is just like regular TV but with Cheddar. Crave TV is your Canadian option. How about YouTube TV? Yeah, you are right. YouTube is a cesspool.
The question still looms. Maybe you just want to watch nothing but Game of Thrones and fútbol so you subscribe to HBO Go and Fubo TV, the rest be damned. Yet, you feel this nagging in the back of your head as you stand on the fringes of the circle of your peers, all talking about the latest episode of This Is Us while you end every sentence whispering “winter is coming” to no-one in particular.
One thing is clear: you need to watch more TV. Consume, consume, consume. It’s the only way to stay relevant as a person, apparently. You have to choose your content warrior, wallet be damned. Is it Apple TV Channels? Is it Netflix? Is it all of them or none of them? It’s 21st-century stress that will either save or doom us all. Just don’t stop consuming content, lest you fall behind the conversation.