Apple TV box vs. Apple TV app

I take it, that there is no difference content-wise? If so I am happy with the app.

No, the available content is the same on all platforms. However, the TV app on the Apple TV integrates with other services, like Amazon and Hulu, so you can track your watchlist and search for content on those platforms.

The TV app on iPad and iPhone searches across other platforms too.

Where do you see Amazon and Hulu in the iOS/iPad app? I see many other channels, but not other streaming services that have apps for my TV.

I’m not sure I understand your question, but when I search for (example) “The Brady Bunch” (TV show), the “How to Watch” section shows me I can get the show in Hulu, Paramount+, and Amazon Prime.

On the TV app on my iPhone, both Hulu and Amazon Prime Video are listed under “Streaming Apps” in the first “Watch Now” tab, scrolling down a little.

This probably doesn’t matter to many people, but one thing that the Apple TV box offers that the Apple TV app on a TV does not offer is the Fitness app, allowing streaming Fitness+ workouts on the Apple TV with stats shown during the workout. You can AirPlay Fitness+ workouts from an iPhone or iPad to a TV that supports AirPlay 2, but it won’t show the stats as you are doing the workout. Of course another advantage of the Apple TV is one of privacy: we know that almost all (if not all) of connected TVs track what you watch and when you watch it and sell the data to advertisers. Apple does not (at least they do not now and have not in the past.)

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when I search for (example) “The Brady Bunch” (TV show), the “How to Watch” section shows me I can get the show in Hulu, Paramount+, and Amazon Prime.

Yes, and if you choose to play an episode it launches the appropriate app that I have an account in and is resident on my iPad. Since I don’t have a Paramount+ account, when I try to choose that option, it just takes me to the App Store to download the app which isn’t going to be able to play anything without a subscription. The TV+ app cannot play “The Brady Bunch” because Apple does not have an agreement in place allowing it to play a channel that can access it. Those three competing streaming services are the source, even though you can use the TV app to search for them.

Admittedly, from a functional standpoint, the experience isn’t any different.


Just to add to the confusion…

Paramount+ and other services have a corresponding AppleTV channel in addition to the app. You can use the channel to watch Paramount, Showtime, Britbox, etc in AppleTV app on all platforms. (The account won’t work in the apps.) But if you’re using an app account (signing up directly with Paramount on their website or in their app) then on iOS you can use the iOS apps as you mention.

There’s no MacOS app for Paramount etc. In those cases I use the website in Safari (and share the log in info with the family).

The channels make it easiest to share the accounts in a family situation - just log into your AppleID associated with the family account and you get all your channels. But if you need to use Windows or a different TV platform, you’re better off with the direct subscription.