Apple unveiled yesterday its own foray into streaming video with Apple TV+, a subscription television service set to launch this fall. The announcement comes as new streaming services like the Criterion Channel and Disney+ are also set to debut soon.
When Apple’s service launches it will be entering an already crowded market, going up against not only Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu but also smaller ventures like Philo and Shudder (which offers purely horror and thriller content). There will likely be some good content on Apple TV+ — at least according to what I could gleam from their bare but intriguing supercut of films and shows — meaning that we are facing a potential password-sharing nightmare, or golden age, depending on how we organize.
I already have to perform the most delicate balancing act to watch everything I want: on my iPad I’m signed into Hulu and HBO Go, while I reserve Netflix and Amazon Prime for my laptop to make sure I don’t ever stream on too many devices at once (all with friends’ and family passwords). It’s deeply humbling every time I’m signed out of a service and have to text a friend for the password again. When I open a streaming service only to be locked out due to the fact too many people are trying to use it, I have to go to a different one.
Apple is attempting to set its TV+ apart from its competitors by pitching it as the one stop for all of our streaming needs. When a user chooses to watch a movie from say, HBO within TV+, they won’t be taken outside of the app and will be able to subscribe to other services like Starz or SHOWTIME from within the app. But TV+ includes virtually no other high-profile services except for Hulu — we’ll have to maintain all our separate accounts for Netflix, YouTube TV, and Amazon Prime which sounds expensive, frankly.
Back when the CEOs of HBOand Netflix said their companies don’t care if we share passwords (with a bit of a catch,) we all took that to heart. Being that sharing passwords is now a part of our culture, we can’t reasonably be expected to stop. So we’ll probably have to start getting creative with how we go about it, since account-sharing is something basically everyone does. Perhaps a living document or color coded spreadsheet where friends, families, exes, enemies, roommates can all keep an account of who has access to what in order to minimize overlap and maximize the amount of content we all have access to.
The price for Apple TV+ has yet to be announced, but it will likely be a cost for which my peers and I won’t be willing to foot the bill . So start strategizing now, is my suggestion, for the day when there are so many streaming services that our heads are spinning. Set up the lottery system for who gets to watch Game of Thrones the night it airs and who has to wait ‘til Monday and hope the day never comes that you want to watch something immediately so badly that you have to get all your own passwords.