Apple TV is one of the best digital media players, but does it offer live TV?
Wondering does Apple TV have live TV? It’s a very common question as Apple TV is becoming ever more popular.
But before we delve into the answer, it’s important to note we are talking about the Apple TV hardware – the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD Apple sells. Some people get confused talking about Apple TV because Apple has several products with the name “Apple TV” in it, including the Apple TV app on iOS and iPadOS, the Apple TV+ streaming service, and the digital media players.
So here we are talking about the Apple TV digital media players, which there are currently two models available. Both Apple TVs run the tvOS operating system and one supports 4K video and the other 1080p video. Both Apple TVs also come with the Siri Remote.
Watching Live TV On Apple TV
By default, Apple TV does not offer a way to watch live TV. That is, you can’t click to Channel 5 or Channel 22 on the Apple TV. It also has no built-in cable TV guide or anything like that.
The Apple TV boxes run an operating system called tvOS, which is very similar to iOS on the iPhone. How? Like iOS, tvOS has an App Store that allows you to download third-party apps and games for the Apple TV. This is precisely why Apple TVs are among the best digital media players on the market – their ability to load and wealth of third-party apps greatly expand their capabilities.
And while you can’t watch live TV on the Apple TV out of the box, you can download apps that allow you to stream live TV on your Apple TV. Of course, the ability to watch live TV via Apple TV apps depends on what part of the world you live in.
Apple maintains a list of these apps. For example, here are apps Apple says are available in the United States that support live TV on Apple TV:
- ABC News
- Altice One
- AT&T TV
- CBS News
- CNN Go
- Cooking Channel
- Disney NOW
- Food Network
- Fox News
- FOX NOW
- NBC Sports
- Spectrum TV
- Travel Channel
Use Siri Remote To Watch Live TV
Another really cool feature of the Apple TV is the Siri Remote, which lets you issue Siri voice commands to the Apple TV. And using the Siri Remote, you can quickly tell your Apple TV that you want to watch live TV. However, note that in order to do this, you must have the appropriate third-party app installed on your Apple TV.
If you do, simply do the following with Siri Remote to watch live TV:
Press the Siri button on the Siri Remote.
Say “Watch [name of app with live TV]” or “turn on [name of app with live TV]” and the appropriate app will launch displaying the current live TV feed.
Use Cable Providers’ Apps To Watch Live TV On Apple TV
Another way you can watch live TV channels on Apple TV is to download your cable provider’s Apple TV app. While not all cable TV providers offer an Apple TV app, some do. And some of those allow you to stream the TV channels available to you right through your Apple TV.
In this way, you can get your regular TV experience right on your Apple TV.
Does Apple TV Have Live TV?
Not out of the box. However, you can download third-party apps that allow you to stream live TV right on your Apple TV.
Also, check out Does Apple TV Have Ethernet?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is live TV on Apple TV free?
Not usually. It depends on which app you are using. Some apps offer free live TV, but some require a subscription of some kind.
Q: How much is live TV on Apple TV?
Subscription prices vary by service provider.
Q: How do I watch live TV on Apple TV?
You need to download a third-party app that supports live TV on the Apple TV.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.