The BBC has announced today that its awesome iPlayer platform is finally going to be making its debut on the new Apple TV box.
Tweeting this morning, the corporation has said that the app will be coming to the new Apple TV in the coming months.
Sadly then there is no hard and fast release schedule for the catchup service, but at least we know that it will definitely be making an appearance on the new box.
Given that iPlayer has been available on pretty much every other set-top box in existence, from the Amazon Fire TV to the Roku boxes to the Nvidia SHIELD, the fact that it was never available on the Apple TV as a native application has always seemed strange. Now that the Apple TV is running a fork of iOS - named TVOS - it’s no surprise that the BBC is going to be able to re-engineer its software to operate on the TV-connected Apple box.
Fingers crossed the Universal Search function on the new Apple TV will let Siri swim around inside the content pool of iPlayer as well as Netflix and the like.
Up to now we’ve only really heard about the mostly US-centric applications already announced for the new Apple TV. With the likes of HBO, Hulu and the US sporting networks grabbing the app headlines it’s about time we had some more UK-focused software coming our way.
So what do we want to see hitting the new Apple TV on this side of the pond?
Catch up services
As well as the BBC’s iPlayer we want to see the full suite of UK services hitting Apple’s new TV box.
If you want to plug into our TVs then you’ve really got to be able to offer ITV Player - as ropey as its implementation generally is - All4 and Demand 5.
Catch up content is all well and good, but there is still a place in our hearts for linear TV. Not all Apple TV boxes are going to be hooked up to screens with antennas attached so having the internet TV service TVCatchup would be a boon for Apple’s device.
Through a legal loophole the app, which already exists for iOS devices, broadcasts live UK channels, including BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC Three and BBC Four, as well as ITV 1 and Channel 4 and VIVA.
We’d love to have Sky Go access too, but historically BSkyB has been rather reticent about letting the service get pumped out onto big screen TVs. So we’re likely to be restricted to NOW TV - there’s already a NOW TV app for the original Apple TV, so it should be available for the new box too.
Fingers-crossed we’ll also get the Amazon Video app ported over from its existing iOS implementation.
The Apple TV already has Netflix sewn up, so having the big streaming rivals both supported - and tied into the Universal Search too - would make it a powerful little machine.
If only it had 4K support too.
If the US is going to get a whole bunch of sporting apps then we want our fair share too. So, along with getting Sky Sports via NOW TV it would be good to get the dedicated Sky Sports app, but with BT Sport hoovering up the rights to Champions League coverage getting a native BT Sport app is vital too.
What have we missed - are there any applications you’re desperate to see on the new Apple TV?