All the Differences Between Apple TV, Apple TV+, and the Apple TV App

Compare all the Apple TVs at your finger tips
Jamie Jamie (33)

Apple TV is becoming increasingly popular, largely due to the rise of Ted Lasso and the ever-growing technological world that provides endless ways to stream our favorite TV shows. What some people don't realize, however, is there are actually three separate Apple products that folks commonly refer to as "Apple TV." In fact, there is Apple TV, Apple TV+, and the Apple TV application.

Depending on which product you're referring to when you say "Apple TV," you may be talking about a physical device, a streaming service, or an app. Here's a quick rundown of each one, so you know exactly what you're talking about when you say "Apple TV," and you can enjoy each of the three!

When you're done, check out this guide on how to use screen mirroring on your smart TV.

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Apple TV
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Apple TV is a physical product that is often referred to as a set-top box. Apple TV comes with a remote control, and it can be used with almost any TV that has an HDMI connection. Even the most basic of TVs will be able to connect to Apple TV with the use of an HDMI as long as that particular model is compatible with that specific TV. For example, Apple TV 4K is not compatible with TVs that are not 4K, and it cannot convert your smart TV into a 4K TV, or course.

Basically, the Apple TV set-top box allows its users to connect to the internet and stream content on a TV that is otherwise not a smart TV, allowing them to stream and even use screen mirroring.

Users can access Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max on your Apple TV device, as well as Apple Arcade, Apple Music, and Apple Fitness using an Apple TV set-top box.

Apple TV+
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Apple TV+ is a streaming service, not a physical device like the Apple TV set-top box.

Users can watch exclusive movies, TV series (like the aforementioned Ted Lasso), including but not limited to Apple Original shows and movies. Users don't need a specific app to use Apple TV+, but they can access it on any Apple product (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, etc.) or 3rd-party devices like Roku and Smart TVs.

Apple TV+ does require a monthly subscription ($4.99 a month), though there are often year-long free trials for Apple lovers who buy a new Apple product. This common promotion is offered because Apple TV is in its early years still, not having been around as long as its predecessors Netflix and Hulu.

Apple TV App
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The Apple TV app allows users to access the same benefits and features as the Apple TV set-top box. The Apple TV app comes standard on all Apple devices, allowing Apple users to easily use it's many features right on their iPhone or iPad.

There is also a long list of Apple TV app-compatible devices if you're curious about whether you already have a device that works with the app. You can access all your Apple TV+ shows (if you have a subscription or free trial) as well as anything else you could normally watch on an Apple TV set-top box.

Check out the new WWDC22 Apple Keynote Highlights

With a superhero, futuristic theme and a focus on next generation technology, Apple WWDC22 (Worldwide Developer's Conference 2022) approached Apple's newest software and technology from the mindset of world-change, equality, and ethical impact. Introduced with the statement "Code one, code all," Apple largely focused on providing education, jobs, and equal opportunity to developers, while employing a fun superhero theme complete with Craig Federighi doing a full on superhero run and combing his hands through his hair. While WWDC22's introduction was slightly less exciting and action-packed than in previous years, it focused on big-picture issues that are indisputably more important than some flashy WWDC introduction. Don't worry, though, if you were hoping for some flashy new products to buy this Fall, you won't be disappointed. Though the Apple Summer WWDC's tend to be more about software and less about hardware, there are two new products announced that you can spend the next four months or so drooling over! If you are as eager as I am to scope out those two new, next generation products, let's get into it! Note: Not every new Apple feature is listed in this article. The purpose of this article is to give you an easy-to-read version of an otherwise long event, since I know not everyone has two hours on a Monday to watch the Apple Keynote.