Streaming live TV and what are you using?

tvOS & Apple TV Apps

Last week I purchased a 4th gen Apple TV and have been spending the past week evaluating different options such as Hulu and Direct TV Now. I eliminated Sling as neither the iOS or TVOS apps were accessible. Here is my question: Is anyone using the Direct TV Now app on their iOS device and then simply using Airplay to broadcast the stream to their Apple TV? I really enjoy the vast content available on Direct TV Now, but I can't use the app developed for the TVOS platform. At the moment I have just been using Airplay from my iPhone and keeping my iPhone on the charger while watching TV.
Does anyone advise against this practice? I am connected to my home Wi-Fi, so data usage is not an issue. I would go 100% Hulu, but they are a missing a few channels that I enjoy. Any advice that you can provide a new TV user would be appreciated. I did watch the Podcasts that David Woodbridge published and they were very helpful getting me up and running.
Thank you in advance.



Submitted by treky fan on Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Hi. I don't have an apple tv, but here's what I'd suggest for streaming tv shows and movies. I use Netflix, amazon prime, and fios tv from Verizon. Note that the third service I mentioned will only work if you already have Verizon fios in your home. As for direct tv now, the app appears to be mostly unuseable.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I just have Direct TV now. I did have the regular Hulu subscription, but I was unsure on accessibility, because last year they did do some changes that brought accessibility to completely useless.
I'm unsure if Hulu is accessible now, but if it is I'd appreciate knowing.
Depending on where you live you could try and get Youtube TV. Though like I said depending on where you live.

Submitted by J.P. on Thursday, September 6, 2018

This topic is still trial and error. I had Direct Tv Now for a few months, due to a free Apple 4k. After three months I canceled. The UI stinks, and not just for blind consumers.
I ended up getting a Toshiba Fire TV. I get 30 local channels with an indoor antenna, subscribed to Hulu, Netflix. Between the Apple TV and Fire, I have iTunes and Apple Music, Amazon gives me prime Video and Amazon Music. Saving a ton of money not having cable.
direct TV and Sling both have serious accessibility issues. I've heard YouTube is the most accessible when going that route.

Thank you for your reply. I haven't looked at Amazon yet, but do want to look at Netflix. Verizon is only a wireless provider in the Cleveland, OH market so that is not an option. I do agree that the Direct TV Now app on the TV is a total mess, the app is pretty good on my iPhone, just kind of a pain since I have to make sure that the phone is charging while using Airplay.

Submitted by Jim Weiss on Thursday, September 6, 2018

In reply to by Chuck Winstead

I am using Hulu both on my TV and iPhone without any issues. I downloaded Hulu last Friday, it was accessible but the layout was just OK. I woke up on Saturday and it had updated to a much nicer format. I personally haven't hit any accessibility bugs yet, but I am only 1 week into this new venture.

Submitted by Jim Weiss on Thursday, September 6, 2018

In reply to by J.P.

Thanks for the comment. I agree that the Direct TV Now app on the TV is a mess for the BVI community and the sighted as well. I am trying to avoid an antenna for my locals, just don't want another remote and have to deal with changing inputs. I probably made the mistake of evaluating streaming providers at the exact same time as becoming familiar with the new hardware and the TVOS. I have used the Podcast and Music app on the TV, but haven't even opened the TV or Computers app yet.
Thanks again for your input.

Thanks Joe,
I just took a look and it does cover all of my locals, unfortunately just like Hulu TVLand is not included. I didn't spend a lot of time, but it doesn't look like an add on either. Both my Hulu and Direct TV Now renew today, so I have 30 more days to refine this all down. I thank everyone for their feedback and suggestions. I need to learn a bit more about the built-in functions of TVOS as I narrow down my decision, but will take YouTube TV for a test drive.

Submitted by DJX on Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hi Jim, depending on who you use for internet, if it's Spectrum, they started their own tv streaming service, which is suppose to be cheaper than cable itself. It lets you choose what channels you actually want on your package.
Also, doesn't the Apple TV appp serve as a hub for most streaming services? It should be able to aggrigate alll your subscriptions into one place and let you choose what to watch from there. Last time I tried it on the iPhone, it would show me stuff from both DirectTV and Prime, which I have on my phone. It might be different for the tvOS, I've not tried it on there yet, so don't know. But check it out and see.

Thanks DJX,
I am actually a Spectrum customer for both internet and cable TV today. Your post caught my attention so I placed a call to Spectrum. The cost is $21.99/mo but according to the sales rep I still need to maintain my cable service with them. I explained that my primary purpose for streaming TV was to reduce the price, not to add $22 a month to my bill. I went to and learned a bit out the app, but it was very broad. The rep also said that I can just download the apps for the channels I want to watch and watch programs directly from the app. I don't want an additional 20 apps on my devices and the couple that I have downloaded aren't very accessible.
Regarding the TV app, yes it is my understanding that everything should get funneled into there serving as a one stop shop. Unfortunately I was like a kid in the candy store and needed to start signing up for streaming services the day my TV arrived so my complete understanding of TVOS is still in the learning curve. I will download the Spectrum TV app and see if it is even accessible, maybe once I have the app installed I will get a better grasp of its function. I am still wanting to check out Amazon Prime TV as well.

Submitted by Jared on Thursday, September 6, 2018

Have you considered Roku instead of Apple tv? I baught a Roku for $35 and it's built in screen reader works well with Amazon video and Netflix. It appears to work with Sling TV as well, but the sign-in process is a bit anoying. I didn't play around with Sling TV much since the IOS app frustrated me, but I was able to sign in, look at channels, favorit a channel, and play my favorit channel. The Youtube TV app on the Roku is not accessible, when I launch it I can't even sign in. I can cast from my iphone to the Youtube TV app on my roku once i installed it. Because it's casting instead of airplay you can use your phone as normal once it starts playing on the tv, including exiting the app, locking it, etc. I can not do this at my parents house, but they bought the cheepest Roku so maybe that isn't supported on there model? If you like I can sign up for the 7 day direct tv now trial and test it out on my Roku.

Submitted by Kevin on Saturday, September 29, 2018

I use HULU for live TV streaming. The interface on iPhone could be better, but on the Apple TV, it works very well. I also subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Submitted by MaleXLR on Thursday, January 10, 2019

We were heading down the track of Android TV, but changed at the 11th hour to Apple TV 4, primarily because of VoiceOver.

Over the last few weeks I have regretted the decision, finding that most services want their pound of flesh - even if their content is cack - which you only discover after paying the subscription.

As a sighted intruder on this forum and as a sound engineer, here are some gripes:

a) non-accessible add-ons. Some that appear great seem to fail at the last hurdle when the programmer was rushing to finish and disregarded VoiceOver. Even Netflix - come on guys!

b) bloody buffering. I was led to believe that a 1080p, 32GB Apple TV would work well for us. Certainly, running the debugging tool we have the broadband speed, CPU and memory to spare. but still with the buffering madness. Incidentally we have Netflix, YouTube, Kodi, etc., on a Windows PC on the same network and there is very little, or no delay;

c) audio description/commentary. What am I missing? Can you search for movies with audio description, or is it just pot luck?

d) ...and when you do stumble upon audio description, more often than not there is a huge discrepancy between the movie audio content and the commentary - often the volume of the commentary ruining the movie by effectively removing all the drama of the actors and removing any viewer/listener enjoyment. My wife (totally blind) usually gets sick of it before me and I am delegated the job of audio describer. Come on you people - this is my industry. Have the sound engineers and technicians not been paid enough to do the job properly and haven't bothered to try and enjoy a movie with their crummy audio track running? Oh, I forgot. "Blind" always means "deaf" as well...

e) (but wait, there's more) Put my vote into the ring for controllable VoiceOver volume. There is a nice volume ducking algorithm that kicks in. The release may be a little long, but it's mostly effective. I understand that it is difficult to achieve because the threshold volume level has to be based on the movie or TV audio content, which often has huge variations between movies, but surely someone with a bigger brain than mine can sort it out!

f) to be continued...

Wifey has given up and I am in charge of the remote for now and I generally resort to the Windows PC because of the buffering issues. She is waiting for free time to be able to familiarise herself and/or wait for me to instigate HomeKit and get some sort of voice activation working for TV. [Don't even get me started on the frustrations of Siri's interpretation of a New Zealand accent].

We like movies (except for the waste of time and annoyance of the audio description) and live TV. We are unlikely to search for cat videos or binge watch TV programmes - except maybe from when TV was entertaining and the rare and occasional intrusion of a modern (non-reality) programme that ventures into "entertainment" territory.

KODI. I can't attest to it's accessibility, but she's a powerful beast. Also you have to be a bit geeky with installation onto an Apple TV and have to take the rough with the smooth as far as which add-ons are from legitimate sources and which are torrents. Also a wee issue of KODI not timing out after a week on iOS. I am experimenting with blocking a URL with parental controls on our modem and will know in a few days whether that has worked. The geeks tell me you can "just" reload KODI and you don't lose any of your settings... maybe!?!

It is interesting to find that the live TV from my birth country (the UK) have the same rubbish shows that are airing here in New Zealand. So many channels. So little joy to be had...

Submitted by alex wallis on Thursday, January 10, 2019

Unfortunately nothing is perfect and trust me you would have probably run into more issues with android I suspect, as with android tvs they have speech built in to some extent but this wouldn't work once you go into apps running on the tv.
I can't comment on most of what you say, but Netflix does actually have a specific audio described category its not a case of hunting and just taking pot luck.
I always think its a joke the name apple tv as its not really a tv, it just streams media from other services, plus at least in the UK I think you can get some live channels through it but not all.

Submitted by kool_turk on Friday, January 11, 2019

This is where subtitle description would come in handy, it's a pity it doesn't exist.

Voiceover can read subtitles, so why don't we have descriptive subtitles? Surely there are deaf-blind people that want to enjoy television, but you don't have much of a choice, it's one or the other.

But wait, blind people don't like it when TTS is doing the describing for them.

I watched a few shows with voiceover reading the subtitles and it worked quite well.

Subtitles would also work with braille, provided you're a fast reader and the braille desplay can keep up.

You could then enjoy the description in braille and not annoy the people who don't need the audio description, but this will never happen.

My experience with Kodi is only on windows, and there is already a decent screen reader in the official kodi repository.

I wrote a quick little how to on getting kodi up and running with speech for windows, but I don't know if the screen reader will work on other platforms.

A friend of mine tried it on his firestick and it didn't work, so I'm just going to assume it won't work on anything but windows and mac for the time beeing.

Submitted by Cowboy on Friday, February 28, 2020

I was using YouTube TV and actually really enjoyed the current version of the app. I could browse the guide, see channels, do all I really needed to do. I never used the DVR function but considering everything else was easy enough to use I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Unfortunately They already don’t carry one of the channels I need for one sports team and as of Sunday they are dropping Fox Sports Southwest which means no more Stars or Rangers games. Sports are the main reason we have a streaming TV service. To be clear sports and my wife since I would happily listen to them on the radio.

My only options are now Hulu Live TV or AT&T TV Now. I had AT&T when it was DirectV Now and didn’t find it to be very accessible and we tried Hulu Live TV when it first hit the market and I don’t remember it making a good impression. So what’s changed and does anyone have anything to add?

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Saturday, February 29, 2020

Using an Apple TV fourth generation, I have found that the Hulu Live TV streaming platform works well. You still receive all of their on demand catalog, plus you also receive your local channels and mainstream channels, as well. HTH

I tried the free trial of Hulu last night and it didn’t work for me because of my internet connection. I live in a rural area and my internet connection uses cell towers so it won’t pick up a home location. According to Hulu support because my internet shows up as mobile I am out of luck.