Apple-TV-HBO-ESPNGO.

Apple has just pushed out a massive update to its $95 set-top box that brings the much anticipated HBO GO and WatchESPN channels to the platform. According to the Apple press release, users will be able to watch content from HBO and ESPN directly from their Apple TV without the need for a direct cable subscription though “HBO GO on Apple TV requires a subscription to HBO through participating television providers” (thanks mom and dad!). HBO GO on Apple TV was reported by Bloomberg earlier this year while ESPN talks have been going on for over a year.

Video by Matthew:

“HBO GO and WatchESPN are some of the most popular iOS apps and are sure to be huge hits on Apple TV,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We continue to offer Apple TV users great new programming options, combined with access to all of the incredible content they can purchase from the iTunes Store.”

In addition to HBO GO and WatchESPN, the update also adds channels like SkyNews, Crunchyroll, and Qello.

Apple counted more than one billion TV episodes and 380 million movies from iTunes to date at a current rate of over 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies per day.

Update: Some big caveats: HBO Go app won’t be available to DirecTV or Charter subscribers, and the ESPN app won’t be available to Dish or DirecTV subs. It also appears the the update fixes some bugs related to signing into  iTunes.

Update #2According to TNW, DirecTV confirmed that HBO Go access for its subscribers will soon be available on Apple TV:

A spokesperson for HBO told TNW that DirecTV is now authenticating HBO GO for Apple TV owners.

Apple’s Press release follows:


HBO GO & WatchESPN Come to Apple TV

iTunes Viewers Now Purchasing Over 800,000 TV Episodes & Over 350,000 Movies Per Day

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® today announced that HBO GO and WatchESPN are now available directly on Apple TV® joining the great lineup of programming offered to customers. iTunes® users have downloaded more than one billion TV episodes and 380 million movies from iTunes to date, and they are purchasing over 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies per day.

“HBO GO and WatchESPN are some of the most popular iOS apps and are sure to be huge hits on Apple TV,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We continue to offer Apple TV users great new programming options, combined with access to all of the incredible content they can purchase from the iTunes Store.”

Apple TV users can choose from an incredible selection of programming including over 60,000 movies and over 230,000 TV episodes, as well as the world’s largest collection of music on the iTunes Store®. Apple TV also offers great content from Hulu Plus, Netflix’s streaming catalog, live sports from MLB, NBA and NHL as well as Internet content from Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr.*

In addition to HBO GO and WatchESPN, three new content providers* are also available today on Apple TV including Sky News, Crunchyroll and Qello offering live news, sports and current TV programming.

HBO GO users get unlimited access to their favorite HBO shows, including HBO original programming, hit movies, sports, documentaries, comedy specials and more. This includes full seasons of the best of HBO, plus bonus features and special behind-the-scenes extras. HBO GO on Apple TV requires a subscription to HBO through participating television providers.

WatchESPN on Apple TV delivers a one-stop video destination for sports fans with live access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line to those who receive ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription from affiliated providers. Popular sports and fan-favorite shows include college football and basketball, Monday Night Football, MLB, NBA, major golf tournaments, all four Grand Slam tennis events, SportsCenter, PTI and more. Additionally, curated on-demand video featuring the most recent and relevant content—including highlights and news clips from ESPN.com as well as short-form segments from programs such as E:60, Outside The Lines, SC Featured, Sport Science and others—will be accessible through WatchESPN for the first time via Apple TV to all users.

Sky News on Apple TV delivers a live 24/7 news feed to users in the US, UK and Ireland, including breaking news and headlines from business, politics, entertainment and more. In addition to the live feed, users can catch up on specific stories at any time via the extensive on-demand news library.

Crunchyroll, the leading global video service for Japanese Anime and Asian media, will allow subscribers worldwide to watch the latest HD shows one hour after they air in Japan. Qello, a leading on-demand streaming service for HD concerts and music documentaries, offers free or paid subscriptions to music fans worldwide. New users can sign up for Crunchyroll and Qello instantly on Apple TV.

Apple TV makes it easy to enjoy iTunes video and music right on your HD TV. Coming this fall, iTunes Radio™ will offer you an incredibly personalized music experience directly on Apple TV based on your listening history and past purchases from iTunes. And with iCloud®, you can buy movies and TV shows on Apple TV and watch them on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC. iCloud also stores photos and pushes them wirelessly to all your devices including your Apple TV. iCloud is an incredibly easy way to get instant access to all of your content, no matter which device is being used.

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can use AirPlay® to stream music, photos and videos from their devices directly to their HD TV with Apple TV. iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad, iPad mini, fifth generation iPod touch and Mac users can use AirPlay Mirroring to show the screen of their device right on their HD TV, allowing them to stream web pages, spreadsheets or even games.**

Pricing & Availability

Apple TV requires iTunes 10.5 or later. Apple TV requires an 802.11g/n Wi-Fi network or Ethernet network, a broadband Internet connection and a HD TV capable of 1080p or 720p and an HDMI cable that is sold separately. iTunes movie and TV show availability varies by country. Third generation Apple TV hardware is required to play 1080p video. HBO GO, Watch ESPN, SkyNews, Crunchyroll and Qello require Apple TV software version 5.3 available as a free software update for second and third generation Apple TV users.

*Content availability varies by country, may require account subscriptions and may not be available in all territories.

**AirPlay requires an iOS device running iOS 4.2 or later. AirPlay Mirroring is not supported on the original iPad. AirPlay Mirroring is supported on the following Mac models: iMac® (Mid 2011 or newer), Mac mini (Mid 2011 or newer), MacBook Air® (Mid 2011 or newer), and MacBook Pro® (Early 2011 or newer).

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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