Apple has added a rare new app and service to the Apple TV, this time in Germany. After seeing a support entry that detailed an update to Apple TV services which listed Watchever, I checked around and German users have been seeing a new app on the home screen for the subscription video on demand service.
Update: Apple has confirmed the launch of Whichever on Apple TV in Germany to TNW.
Essentially a German version of Hulu launched by Vivendi this month, it offers local, European and international movies and TV series for €8.99 a month. Key features include the ability to choose between a German dubbed version of international movies, or the original. There is also a personal recommendation algorithm à la Netflix.
This marks the first time that Apple has added an international-specific service. and the first time that the service is available in only one region. It does not appear to be available on Apple TVs outside of Germany. This could be the start of a trend in which Apple cuts deals for regions where there is a strong localized offering that delivers content appealing to Apple TV owners there.
Apple has added a handful of these apps to the home screen since the launch of its new ‘iPhone-like’ interface. The Wall Street Journal Live app (which was briefly updated for the election, then reverted), the MLB, NBA and NHL apps among them. Each of these additional icons has related directly to a third-party media service of some sort, save one. Apple’s own iTunes Festival app appears when the event is happening and then makes its way off once it’s complete.
Aside from the Wall Street Journal, which can be viewed sans login, the apps are all subscription-based as well. This would, of course, contribute to Apple’s bottom line via whatever revenue split deal it cuts with these exclusive providers.
As the Apple TV’s dashboard can be updated dynamically, whatever deals Apple cuts are able to be reflected in a new service pushed out to customers without a major software update. The glaring absence continues to be Amazon Instant Video, which is available on competing streaming boxes like Roku, as well as the iPhone and iPad. And Amazon’s video service also has an international component in the LoveFilm service, which operates in Germany.
Here’s an image shared by Twitter user Christian Krämer of the new home screen icon:
German Apple TV users should be able to get the new app to appear by rebooting their devices.