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The Best Apps to Get the Most out of Your Apple TV

Indulge in old movies, binge watch new TV shows, and go shopping with the best Apple TV apps for your new screen.

If you have an Apple TV, especially if you have a fourth-generation version, you are hosting a goldmine of possibilities. The release of the latest version of Apple tvOS opened up a huge treasure trove of apps that let you do everything from following your sports teams, to binge watching Games of Thrones, to planning your next vacation. Here are the best Apple TV apps that make the most of your technology.

Apps for Watching Movies

Using your Apple TV to watch movies is pretty obvious, but there are floods of apps out there to help you do it. Netflix is the market leader for the best new and classic movies, and it has been for years. How else could you Netflix and chill? The app is free for Apple TV, but you'll need a Netflix subscription, naturally.

The truth is, if you’re a movie-lover then Netflix and HBO Now or HBO Go are both going to suit you perfectly. HBO has an awesome repertoire of recent popular movies. If you are a diehard movie aficionado and can afford 3 subscriptions, go ahead and get all three. Otherwise, your choice between Netflix and HBO might depend on which one you’ve already subscribed to.

If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably already got a sizeable library of movies, not to mention TV shows, videos, music, and photos, and it’s frustrating to be unable to watch them on your Apple TV. There used to be an unofficial hack for Plex to stream them onto your Apple TV, but newer fourth-gen screens have Plex installed as an official app option. Plex lets you easily stream all of your media, including your entire movie library, onto your Apple TV screen. You’ll get simple media organization options, great search functionality, and a client for finding new content to watch.

Apps for Watching TV Shows 

Watching TV shows and top TV content is neck and neck with watching movies for ‘best things to do with your Apple TV.’ The Apple TV app store makes it easy to open up Hulu right from the home screen, thanks to the integration which shows the programs you’ve been watching recently. Hulu’s stream quality is excellent, and while it doesn’t show as many current top movies as Netflix or HBO, it’s a leader in the field of classic and new original TV shows. Binge watch all 9 seasons of Seinfeld or revel in new exclusives like The Mindy Project.

Another choice for the best new TV content is HBO Now, which presents addictive shows like Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley for you to enjoy on your big Apple TV screen. For cord cutters, your Apple TV can replace your cable package as long as you have a Sling TV subscription. The channels you’ll get depend on which Sling TV subscription you buy, but through the app you can view the best of Nick Jr, MTV, Fox, CNN, Comedy Central, the Food Network, and more, starting at $20 a month.

One more great option for top TV is YouTube. The new Apple TV app for YouTube has been revamped, with a new interface and better stream quality. You can watch all of the eclectic videos YouTube has to offer free through your Apple TV screen, and best of all you can use Siri to voice search YouTube, instead of having to type in your choices.

Apps for Watching Live Sports 

For sports fans, the hardest part about cutting the cord is losing access to live sports coverage. Fortunately, the apps available through Apple TV mean that you don't have to go through that pain. As long as you have a cable subscription or a SlingTV subscription that includes ESPN, you can stream all of ESPN’s best content directly through your Apple TV screen.

ESPN on Apple TV includes cool features like Video On Demand curated videos, a more intuitive and sleeker interface, enhanced graphics, and Live Streaming Autoplay. You can even turn your living room into a sports bar by using the MultiCast feature to stream four live events at the same time. ESPN users can browse videos by Sports and Events, or by Channels.

Apps for Learning

Your Apple TV doesn’t have to be the source of all of your procrastination. When your friends accuse you of not having moved from the couch in days, you can honestly tell them that you’ve been educating yourself. The TED app brings all of the hundreds of hours of TED and TEDx short talks and videos to your Apple TV screen so that you can learn about basically anything without getting out of your pajamas. The streaming quality is excellent, and the advanced search function makes it easy to find the next video to watch. You can save favorites to watch later or search now by type or keyword.

If you want to learn the most from Kitchen Stories, you will need to get up off the couch and move your Apple TV into the kitchen, but even without doing anything that drastic, you’ll love the app. Kitchen Stories presents gorgeous visuals and simple, easy to follow, step-by-step instructions to cook and bake hundreds of dishes. You can browse or search photos and video recipes, discover what’s on offer in thematic recipe collections, and acquire specific cooking skills. If nothing else, it’ll make you hungry enough to get up and find something to eat.

Apps for Shopping

TV shopping is nothing new, but Apple TV shopping takes it to a new level of graphics and ease of use. One of the more unexpected but utterly perfect shopping apps on Apple TV is Airbnb. Viewing holiday destinations on your big screen is an immersive experience that only stokes your wanderlust, and it’s a great way to indulge your inner traveler. The downside is that you can only favorite locations to book later, you can’t actually book them through your Apple TV.

Get the Apps that Make the Most of Your Apple TV

Whether you want to binge watch TV series or choose your dream holiday castle destination, you can do it with one of these best Apple TV apps.

How we created this
list
Complied from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.