Apple TV Tunes in HBO GO, WatchESPN

Apple announced Wednesday that  the HBO GO and WatchESPN authenticated TV Everywhere applications are now offered directly on Apple TV, the company's broadband-connected video streaming device.

The HBO GO app offers full seasons of original series as well as movies and behind-the-scenes extras, while WatchESPN delivers live streams of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line, as well as segments from programs such as E:60 and Outside The Lines.

The catch is that access is limited to MSOs that have TV Everywhere deals in place with those networks and support their Apple TV apps. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are among the first MSOs to confirm that their customers will be able to authenticate both HBO GO and WatchESPN on Apple’s TV streaming device.  

All of HBO's TV Everywhere partners are on board, with the exception of DirecTV and Charter, which are not authenticating on Apple TV at this time, an HBO spokeswoman said via email. Other pay TV operators that offer HBO GO today include AT&T U-verse TV, BendBroadband, Blue Ridge Communications, Bright House Networks, Buckeye CableSystem, Cable One, CenturyLink, Dish Network, GCI Communications, Grande Communications, Mediacom Communications, Cablevision  Systems, RCN, Verizon FiOS TV, Cox Communications (beta), Suddenlink Communications and WideOpenWest,  among others.

DirecTV customers will be able to access HBO GO via Apple TV "soon," a DirecTV spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon, but was not more specific.

In addition to Comcast and TWC, pay TV providers with WatchESPN affiliation agreements that will support authentication on the Apple TV include Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox, Charter, and AT&T U-verse.

"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 SVP of Internet software and services, in a statement.

Apple on Wednesday also announced the addition of Sky News, Crunchyroll and Qello to the Apple TV lineup. Other Apple TV app partners include Hulu Plus, Netflix, MLB, NBA, NHL, Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr, among others.

Apple also sells and rents titles directly from iTunes, and noted today that iTunes viewers are purchasing more than 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies per day via iTunes. Apple said iTunes users have downloaded more than 1 billion TV episodes and 380 million movies from iTunes to date.

The launch of the TV Everywhere apps from ESPN and HBO marks a tightening of Apple’s relationship with the pay TV industry amid ongoing, rampant rumors that Apple is pursuing development of its own TV set.

Although they support authentication of HBO GO and WatchESPN on the Apple TV, Comcast and TWC have yet to launch their own TV Everywhere apps on the device.

In February, HBO’s TV Everywhere apps for iOS devices added support for Apple AirPlay, a feature that lets users wirelessly stream on-demand content to Apple TV boxes over Wi-Fi.

ESPN has posted a glimpse of its interface for Apple TV here.  HBO has published this video, which touts the launch and also offers a look at its Apple TV interface.