Apple TV finally gets another channel, sort of

If you have an Apple TV, you finally have a new channel to watch: HBO Go.

Well, kind of. HBO announced today that its HBO Go app for the iPhone and iPad now supports AirPlay, the Apple service that lets iDevice users beam video or audio to their TVs via Apple TV. So you can’t exactly select the HBO Go channel or app on your Apple TV. But you can now watch HBO Go shows through your Apple TV — assuming you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, of course.

HBO also updated Max Go, the app for its Cinemax channel, to support AirPlay.

Apple rolled out AirPlay two years ago to its iDevices. But video and music service providers have to build support for the technology into their apps. While many app makers now support it, some still don’t.

Unlike rivals such as Roku, Apple has been slow to add new channels to Apple TV. Other than Apple’s own services, such as iTunes and podcasts, Apple TV offers less than a dozen online channels. By contrast, Roku has some 700 different Internet channels.

Apple TV owners will eventually be able to tune in HBO Go directly on their device rather than beaming it from their iPhones and iPads, promised HBO president Eric Kessler, at the D: Dive Into Media conference.

“We will get on Apple TV, as we’ve said all along,” he said.

Apple TV has been described by current CEO Tim Cook and his predecessor Steve Jobs as Apple’s “hobby,” rather than a full business line. The digital set-top box allows users to stream videos and music to their TVs from the Internet, from their computers and from their iPhones and iPads.

(Mercury News photo.)

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (226 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for TheStreet.com and CNET News.com.