Apple TV Plus, the company's fourth premium subscription service (joining Apple Music, Apple News Plus and Apple Arcade) is here, and it's … interesting. Priced too low to write off immediately, Apple TV Plus aims to worm its way into your streaming habits with big names, important premises and a surprising amount of supported devices (at least for Apple).
Apple TV Plus secured a slot on our best streaming services list thanks to its newest shows that prove it's more than just Ted Lasso. So, while you wait for the newly announced Ted Lasso season 3 release date, read our Ted Lasso season 3 review to see why we absolutely love it.
And an Apple TV Plus price hike (that coincided with an Apple Music price hike) means this once-cheap service now costs 40% more. Yes, Apple TV Plus' low $4.99 introductory pricing just went up by $2 per month, to $6.99 (£6.99/$8.99 CAD/AUD$9.99). Apple TV Plus members, however, will get a discount of up to $20 on Apple TV's MLS Season Pass.
Having spent a weekend poking around the service's initial offerings, I've found that Apple TV Plus package isn't exactly ready to compete with Netflix, even though some of the Apple service's shows can be pretty entertaining. But our lists of the best Apple TV Plus shows and all of the best Apple TV Plus movies showsthat the service is building a decent catalogue — though the best Netflix shows packs so many more titles.
TV is a medium where commercial (Big Bang Theory) and critical (The Wire) success can be mutually exclusive, so my lukewarm thoughts about some of Apple's shows may prove irrelevant over time. The success of Apple TV Plus, however, depends on many of its shows can find a strong audience that makes the service a must-have.
Apple TV Plus pricing, availability and deals
Priced lower than any major streaming service, Apple TV Plus costs $6.99 per month (with a one-week free trial). That includes 4K streaming (which costs $19.99 on Netflix) and family sharing, with a total of six shared accounts permitted. Apple TV Plus is available in more than 100 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Students paying for the $4.99 Apple Music account get Apple TV Plus for free.
Apple TV Plus app and device support
Apple could not hope for its streaming service to succeed if it were limited to just Apple's hardware; neither the Apple TV HD ($149) nor the Apple TV 4K ($179) is affordable. So, the good news is that the service isn't limited to the TV app (available on tvOS, iOS, iPadOS and macOS).
There's an Apple TV app for both Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices. In March 2022, the Apple TV Plus service landed on Comcast devices, including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and XClass TV.
Apple TV Plus library: Not aiming for quantity
Apple TV Plus' $4.99-per-month price makes sense given that you can fit the nine entries in the Apple TV Plus launch list — The Morning Show, See, For All Mankind, Dickinson, Ghostwriter, Helpsters, Snoopy in Space, Oprah's Book Club, The Elephant Queen — in a single smallish paragraph. A few of those originals made our list of the best Apple TV Plus shows and movies, but it was a later release (Ted Lasso) that truly made people sign up.
More recently, Apple TV Plus won applause for The Afterparty and Severance (the latter is our favorite new show on TV).
You can't say the same about Netflix's originals lineup, which earns its higher price (Full HD streaming costs $15.49 per month) with quantity, offering hundreds of shows and movies. Disney Plus launched with nine originals, and those shows will debut one episode per week, but the service rolled out many more new hits and Marvel and Star Wars shows that nearly make it a value pick at $7.99 per month.
Outlook: Waiting on more hits
Is Apple TV Plus worth it? With each passing month, our recommendation for the service gets stronger and stronger. You can watch all of Ted Lasso and love it, but beyond that you might want more (and lately, it's there).
I'll be updating this Apple TV Plus review as the service evolves, as it's a living, breathing thing. I currently pay for Apple TV Plus as a part of an Apple One bundle.