Apple TV Plus review

Should Netflix or Disney worry about Apple?

We're not exactly plussed with Apple TV+.
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Apple TV Plus is an interesting first foot forward from Apple in the streaming wars, but the company's not quite there yet.

Pros

  • +

    New hits

  • +

    Big-budget shows

  • +

    Wide availability

Cons

  • -

    New higher price

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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. For example, Mythic Quest is the best Apple TV Plus show you’re not watching.

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).

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 list of the best Apple TV Plus shows and movies shows that 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 (opens in new tab) (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.

We're not exactly plussed with Apple TV+.

(Image credit: Future)

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.

We're not exactly plussed with Apple TV+.

(Image credit: Future)

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

We're not exactly plussed with Apple TV+.

(Image credit: Future)

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.

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

  • Annie217
    You must be kidding. Apple TV or TV+ is worth zero if you don't have an Apple device. You can subscribe and watch on a PC but if you do, there's no way to search for shows you want to watch. You have to Google a show and get in (be logged in already) or you're stuck watching only what Apple presents on the home page. There's no way to browse or search for other content. This was true years ago when Apple had less content. They have a lot more now but still haven't updated their service. So all this wonderful content they supposedly have is closed to anyone without an Apple device. Not worth subscribing at all.
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