Apple continues to roll out its staged partner additions, with two new channels appearing on the streaming media player today. The Major League Soccer channel brings soccer (or “football,” depending on how European you are) and the Disney Junior channel adds a third outlet for that media giant’s content to invade your Apple TV.
The Disney Junior channel requires authentication via cable providers to ensure you have a subscription that allows access to its live programming and on-demand shows, which is the same et up that Disney Channel XD and Disney Channel on Apple TV use. That’s similar to how its HBO offering operates, and content providers in general seem keen on this kind of arrangement for bringing content to Apple’s streamer that used to be locked to cable company set-top boxes.
The MLS app provides scores and highlights for everyone who enjoys American and Canadian teams playing the sport where you kick a ball towards (or away from) a giant net on a big green field, whatever you choose to call that. It also offers access to live streaming matches via MLS Live, but you’ll need an annual subscription (starting at $14.99, with direct purchase through Apple TV available) to unlock that feature. The nice thing is that it covers an entire season’s worth of games, and also works on the MLS iPhone and iPad apps.
Apple is pretty much always adding new content and channels to the Apple TV these days, and clearly wants to make it a destination device for top-tier providers. It’s competing in a market that includes Roku and various built-in smart TVs from almost every OEM at this point, which have access to channel libraries that can number in the hundreds or even thousands, so building partnerships is a good idea at this point.
The Apple TV is getting lots of love lately from Apple, via a recent software update and a new feature that lets you setup a new streaming box with a simple tap of your iPhone or iPad thanks to the magic of Bluetooth LE. Rumors have been swirling about refreshed hardware coming soon, too, so it’s possible that’s why the company is lavishing so much attention on software of late.