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Best Apple TV Apps 2016 - games, TV and more

David Ludlow
25 Dec 2015
4th Gen Apple TV standing up
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If you've got a brand-new Apple TV and want to know what to use it for, you've come to the right place

The absolute best thing about the new Apple TV is that it now supports apps via its very own app store. That means that you're no longer stuck using the built-in apps, nor do you have to reach for your smartphone or tablet and use AirPlay to transmit everything. Instead, with native apps, you get the fastest and best experience possible. Although the app store is growing, it's still in its infancy and a lot of the apps aren't particularly good. For that reason, I've scoured through the store to find the best games, on-demand and catch-up apps that are available for it.

I'll be updating this article regularly as new apps become available, and there are some good ones in the works. For example, Amazon is said to be working on a Prime Instant Video app. This would be much more convenient than having to use AirPlay.

How to manage and delete apps on the Apple TV

Before I start, it's worth mentioning a few things about how you manage apps on the Apple TV. First, after you've installed one from the App Store, the new app goes right to the bottom slot of the home screen's grid. When you've only got a few apps this is fine, but as the screen starts to fill up you'll find that you don't have your apps in the order you want them. Fortunately, it's easy to move apps around. Just go to the home screen use the touchpad to highlight the app you want to move. Next, press and hold the touchpad until the icon starts to shake, then use the touchpad to move the app where you want it. You can repeat for all apps until the home screen is organised the way that you want it.

To delete an app, use the same trick as above. However, instead of moving it, hit the Play/Pause button and then select Delete option when prompted to remove the app from your Apple TV.

4th Gen Apple TV Netflix home screen

Best Apple TV apps

Catch-up, on-demand TV and home entertainment

Netflix, Free (requires subscription)

For its new Apple TV app, Netflix has decided to use the same interface it does elsewhere, such as on Smart TVs. It's certainly slicker and smoother than the old app, although the one feature I do miss the ability to browse by genre; instead, you have to search for what you're looking for. Even so, Netflix is likely to be an essential app for most people.

4th Gen Apple TV Netflix main menu

BBC iPlayer, Free

It only took the BBC a few weeks post-Apple TV launch to have its app ready. If you've already used iPlayer via your web browser or a smart TV app, then you'll know exactly what to expect here. Via the app you get catch-up TV, as well as live BBC channels. Everything's neatly organised letting browse by most popular, channels and categories, as well as searching for content.

Apple TV BBC iPlayer

Now TV, Free (pay TV package required)

Sky's Now TV brings you premium TV, movies and sports to your Apple TV, for a fee. If you don't want the hassle of a full Sky subscription but want to watch the latest TV, such as Game of Thrones, top sport and get some of the latest films, it's a great app and service.

Now TV Movies

TVPlayer, Free (in-app purchases)

Here's a novel idea: watching TV on your Apple TV. With the TVPlayer app you can do that. It brings you all of the main free UK channels, streamed directly over the internet. It's a great app if you've got your Apple TV somewhere that you don't have an aerial. There's a premium £4.99 option that brings you extra channels, but there's nothing on that list that I'd fancy.

TVPlayer Apple TV app

Plex, Free

Plex is one of the best media players around, with the Plex servers able to transcode video on the fly so that it can play on your Apple TV without any conversion. On top of that, it's also got one of the best interfaces going. If you've got a digital library, then this is the app you need. Before you download it, you should read our guide on how to use Plex.

Plex Apple TV

Utilities

Kitchen Stories, Free

You don't just have to consume content, you can also learn using your Apple TV. One of the best apps for that is Kitchen Stories, which gives you everything you need to know to whip up culinary delights. It's range of high-quality videos includes complete recipes, kitchen skills and preparation guides. With clean video and no annoying voiceovers, Kitchen Stories is just great.

Kitchen Stories Apple TV

Carrot Weather, £2.99

You might be able to ask Siri what the weather's like, but it's not quite the same as being able to see on-screen exactly what the weather's looking like now and in the future. Making the jump from iOS, Carrot Weather is a fantastic weather app for the Apple TV. As well as auto-detecting your current location, you can select anywhere in the world to get a live weather update, which is perfect if you're planning a holiday. Throw in the slightly rude robotic voice and the ability to unlock fantasy locations, such as Mordor, and what more can you want?

Carrot Weather Apple TV

Games

Shadowmatic, £2.29

Shadowmatic is quite a simple game: you rotate an object until its shadow turns into an object that you recognise. It's also devilishly fun and gets harder and harder the more you get into it. With a control system that's perfectly suited to the Apple TV's remote and a game that's perfectly suited to a big-screen TV, this game is both addictive and one that the entire family can enjoy.

Shadowmatic Apple TV

Lumino City, £3.99

The fantasy world of Lumino City was all built for real using models and then shot and digitised for the game. It gives Lumino City a look like no other. More importantly, this point-and-click-style adventure game is brilliant fun, as you guide Lumi around the city to try and find her missing Grandfather.

4th Gen Apple TV Lumino City

Alto's Adventure, £2.29

A transfer from iOS, this game sees you play as Alto, as you sky down the mountain, capturing your Llamas. With tricks, bonuses and addictive gameplay, this is one of the most fun games of the year and one that perfectly suits the Apple TV.

Alto's Adventure

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