A new update to Apple TV brings streaming access to several popular TV services and networks, including HBO GO, ESPN, Sky News, Qello, and CrunchyRoll. Versioned as 5.3, the update requires a second or third generation Apple TV, and can be downloaded through iTunes or by using the direct firmware links included in this article.
While many will be excited about these new content additions, there is currently no way to pay for direct access to some of the individual streaming providers. Instead, you must have a separate TV or network package through a participating provider in order to watch several of the streams, including HBO and ESPN. Sky News is free, while CrunchyRoll and Qello can have subscriptions managed directly through the Apple TV at a fixed cost. More details on each of these services is provided below.
HBO GO provides access to all HBO programming, including full seasons of shows, documentaries, and movies, and requires a subscription through a TV provider.
WatchESPN will be a welcome addition for sports fans, which provides access to live sports and shows on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, though it does require an account with one of the following participating network providers; AT&T U-Verse, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast XFINITY, Cox, Midcontinent Communications, Optimum, Time Warner Cable, or Verizon.
Sky News provides a live 24 hour feed of the news network for anyone in the US, UK, or Ireland, and also offers a library of past shows. Sky News is the least restricted offering, and does not appear to require any specific cable service or provider in order to use.
CrunchyRoll is a Japanese Anime service, and can be signed up for directly on the Apple TV.
Qello is an on demand streaming service for concerts and music documentaries, and also is available for a direct subscription through Apple TV.
Apple TV 5.3 IPSW Direct Download Links
Updating Apple TV to 5.3 can be done through iTunes as usual, which is the recommended approach for most users.
Those who prefer to update manually can use IPSW from the direct download links below that are hosted on Apple’s servers. Using IPSW with an Apple TV requires a USB cable and iTunes, and is the same process as with other iOS devices.
Though no such plans have been announced, hopefully a future update will allow Apple TV users to subscribe directly to services without the inclusion of a separate cable TV package.