Peter Kafka

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Apple TV Adds Yahoo, PBS

downton abbeyApple has signed on more video providers for its Apple TV box: Yahoo is now offering its Yahoo Screen service on the Web video gadget, and PBS has created an app that lets users watch some, but not all, of its shows.

Apple, which has kept a tight grip on the number of providers that stream content through Apple TV, has been slowing rolling out more programming deals throughout the year, including apps for Time Warner’s HBO and Disney’s Disney Channel and ESPN.

The PBS app requires Apple users to sign in using Facebook, Google+ or PBS’s own registration system, and to identify which PBS affiliate broadcasts in their area. But unlike other Web video apps, this one doesn’t require “authentication,” which means you don’t have to subscribe to a pay TV service to watch the shows.

The PBS app offers popular programs like “Frontline,” but it only appears to offer old episodes, and not live streams. (Update: PBS PR confirms that the app won’t have live programming, but that “many programs will be available for viewing within 24 hours of their broadcast.” It also only offers a single episode of PBS’ blockbuster “Downton Abbey;” Amazon has acquired exclusive streaming rights for that show’s old episodes.

(Update: More “Downton Abbey” to come, PBS said via email: “Our stations are re-airing Downton Abbey season 2 and 3 through December. Each of these episodes—as well as new Season 4 episodes beginning in January—will be available for a limited window following the on-air broadcast.”)

Yahoo’s screen app offers a mix of clips, ranging from a recent Saturday Night Live performance by Lady Gaga to movie trailers to game reviews; it also offers channels from Yahoo partners including Conde Nast magazines, ABC News and the Onion.

Oddly, the app doesn’t seem to offer “Burning Love,” the Yahoo-produced comedy the company said has been very successful online. (Yet another update: Some of the show’s episodes are there, but you’re going to have to do some scrolling and typing to find it.)


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