They call it streaming. But right now, the glut of entertainment services coming is less a stream and more a raging river. With some streaming services just days (or, in the case of Disney +, hours) old, and with a host of others headed your way in the coming months, it can all feel a little bewildering—especially for parents looking for good, quality content for their families. So with that in mind, we’ll be taking a look at just what you can expect from these services. And I’m beginning with Apple’s: Apple TV +.
For starters, this is a cheap service that is an extension of the Apple TV app, starting at $4.99 a month. If you’re hoping to just check it out, you can try it free for a week. Or, if you purchase a new Apple product, you can get the streaming service free for a year.
The streaming capabilities are average and, in some cases, below average. If you’re watching from a non-iOS (that is, non-Apple) product, expect to have multiple glitches, loading errors and a strong desire to break your screen. Speaking from personal experience, when I reviewed The Morning Show, it took almost 30 minutes longer than the show itself due to technical errors from my web browser. But if you’re not using Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick or a web-browser, Apple is said to perform at top-speed on its own devices.
Additionally, Apple doesn’t provide a dedicated tab, which makes scrolling and navigation a nightmare, especially if you’re already accustomed to Hulu, Amazon Prime or Netflix.
Remember, these streaming services are like living, breathing entities—always evolving. And with your purchase, you’ll begin with these ten available shows as Apple continues to add to their library (which includes some pretty big names):
- See (MA-rated series)
- The Morning Show (MA-rated series)
- Dickinson (TV-14 rated series)
- For All Mankind (MA-rated series)
- The Elephant Queen (PG Documentary)
- Helpsters (TV-Y kids’ series)
- Ghostwriter (TV-G series)
- Snoopy in Space (TV-G series)
- Oprah’s Book Club (TV-PG talk show)
- Hala (R-rated movie)
There are also two more set to release within the next couple of weeks.
- “Servant,” M. Night Shyamalan’s MA-rated horror/drama series.
- “Truth Be Told,” an MA-rated drama series featuring Octavia Spencer.
There’s not much to say here. If you have Apple TV already, or if you’re watching from an iOS device, you can dive a bit deeper into parental controls since it’s all synced (you can check out more on that here). And if you’re logging on to your Apple account through a web browser, you can go to account settings (at the top right-hand of the page) where you’ll find two choices for controls:
TV Shows: This allows you to choose the rating level available.You can, for instance, just allow shows rated a kid-friendly TV-Y to be available, all the way to the R-rated equivalent TV-MA.
Movies: Likewise, this allows you to choose the ratings of the movies available.
Each of these choices will require a passcode to change settings.
As someone who uses Apple products, but also has an Echo Dot in the house, I can say that I’ve rarely been blown away by Apple. And, unfortunately, the same goes for their latest venture. The relative lack of content—particularly quality content for families—is a concern as well as if there lack of user-ability across different platforms.. There’s a whole lot to compete with and if Apple hopes to have a leg in the race they’ll need to work on what’s already there.