USA Today’s Dawn Chmielewski says Apple will launch a centralized way for users to discover new content on their Apple TVs this week:
Described to network executives as “the Watch List,” the app will recommend shows based on the content viewers access through their Apple TVs. For example, a subscriber to FX Networks might be encouraged to check out the new dramatic series Atlanta.
So, a few things. One, I often find these kind of reports to be not entirely representative of an actual product; it’s possible there’s more to this feature, or that it works more subtly than what it might originally seem.
That said, while this might be a step in the right direction, on par with offering universal search, it seems to fall pretty short in other ways. For one, if you’re watching FX, chances are you will have heard about Atlanta because I watch literally one other series via the FXNOW app on my Apple TV, and I get an ad for Atlanta about three times during the course of the half-hour show. For another, are these recommendations predicated on something more than being a subscriber? Netflix and other services don’t always do the best job of recommending things, but at least they tend to try and look at what you’re already watching before suggesting other titles.
Discovery is also only one part of the problem with watching shows on the Apple TV. Despite the “Watch List” moniker—which is supposedly internal and won’t be the feature’s final name—it seems pretty far from what I’d like in an actual watchlist, which is to say, a list of the shows I’m watching. (I’ve recommended Television Time in the past for the best version of that I’ve seen.) The USA Today story also credits the “technological groundwork for improvements to Apple TV” with the single sign-on plan the company announced in June…which still hasn’t arrived.
I’m hopeful that this feature is more than just the slice of it we’re getting in this report, but given Apple’s rather conservative updates to the Apple TV software, I’m far from convinced.