This week, Apple grew to become the third streaming platform to launch its personal market for video subscriptions.

With Apple TV Channels, you possibly can join providers like HBO and Showtime immediately via the TV app on iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. You don’t need to obtain separate apps to start out utilizing these providers, and you may handle all their subscriptions via iTunes billing. Apple TV Channels additionally helps offline viewing on iOS, so you possibly can download Game of Thrones episodes earlier than your subsequent flight.

Apple isn’t the primary to supply a single entry level for streaming video subscriptions. Amazon Channels has provided an identical service to Prime subscribers since late 2015, and Roku entered the fray with Premium Subscriptions in The Roku Channel earlier this 12 months.

But in making an attempt to simplify streaming video sign-ups, these “Channels” providers have created new problems. Each service has a unique set of options, together with completely different restrictions on which gadgets you should utilize. They may also be more expensive than individual apps that supply annual subscriptions. And as a result of the largest streaming providers don’t assist these Channels marketplaces in any respect, you continue to need to cope with a number of apps and billing methods ultimately.

”Channels” providers defined

The predominant promoting level of those “Channels” providers is simplicity. If you’re on an Amazon Fire TV Stick, for example, you possibly can seek for a present like Game of Thrones and join HBO with just some clicks. Everything goes via your Amazon account, so that you don’t have to create a brand new password or enter any new billing info. You can then entry HBO reveals via the Fire TV or another system that has Amazon’s Prime Video app. When you wish to unsubscribe, Amazon’s Manage Your Prime Video Channels web page enables you to cancel a number of subscriptions from one place.

Roku’s Premium Subscriptions service is comparable. Just open the free Roku Channel app on any Roku participant, after which scroll right down to the “Browse Premium Subscriptions” part, the place you possibly can subscribe to providers like Starz, Epix, and HBO with no matter bank card Roku has on file. You can then watch these channels on any system with the Roku Channel app, which for now consists of Roku gamers and sensible TVs, Samsung TVs, iOS, Android, and the web. Roku’s account page gives a central location for cancelling subscriptions.

Roku

Like Amazon and Apple, Roku now sells video subscriptions via its personal Roku Channel app.

As for Apple, you possibly can subscribe to providers like HBO, Showtime, and Starz via the TV app on iOS, Apple TV, and Samsung sensible TVs. Just scroll right down to “Available Apple TV Channels,” and you may join with simply your Apple ID. Cancelling subscriptions via iTunes is a bit tricky, however you should utilize this iOS shortcut to leap straight to the subscription administration web page on an iOS system.

The drawback with “Channels”

While that is all nice in idea, “Channels” marketplaces create a brand new layer of confusion once you’re making an attempt to join video providers. To watch HBO on Apple TV, for example, now you can subscribe via Apple TV Channels, Amazon Channels (through the Prime Video app), the standalone HBO Now app, or numerous live TV channel bundles that promote HBO on their very own. The identical is true on Roku, besides with The Roku Channel as a substitute of Apple TV Channels as an possibility.

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