NBCUniversal has now launched Bravo, E!, Oxygen and SYFY apps optimized for the Android TV platform.
Fans of any of these channels can now download any of the apps from the web version of the Google Play Store or directly from the Play Store on the Android TV device by searching for the app by name.
All of the apps are free to download although they do require an existing TV subscription for full access. Therefore, users will need to verify their subscription by connecting the app to their TV provider account. This authentication process is not limited to traditional TV providers but also caters to live TV streaming services - anyone who is currently signed up to DIRECTV NOW, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV or YouTube TV should have no issues connecting their account as long as the plan subscribed to provides access to the channel in the first place.
For those planning on downloading all of the apps, the good news is you only need to link one of the apps to your TV provider account as once the others are downloaded they will pull the same authentication details and provide full access without having to repeat the same steps.
In truth, it remains unclear if it is actually worth downloading all of them as there appears to be major overlap between all the apps. For example, if you download just the SYFY app then you are able to still consume content from the other channels as if you also had those apps installed.
The app interface and design is also largely identical across the apps with the main exception being the branding the app leads with.
Due to this overlap it might make more sense for Android TV users to simply download the app for the channel they are most interested in. This way the most applicable content will be highlighted on the home screen and the user will still have the option to manually search for content available through the other apps.
It was not just the Bravo, E!, Oxygen and SYFY apps that have launched this week as NBCU also made available a USA Network app for Android TV.
Again, the USA Network app is not different to these other apps as it too features the same interface and design as well as access to what appears to be the same cross-channel content catalog. Therefore, if you have already downloaded the USA Network app then there might not be any need to download the others.
NBCU launching all of these apps at the same time is telling. NBCU has been slightly late to the streaming game compared to others although it is currently preparing to make its presence more greatly felt in the streaming market in the future. Similar to many other TV brands, NBCU is also planning on launching its own dedicated subscription streaming service next year which will let those without an active TV subscription tune in to content from its many channels and networks.
The launch of these apps provide good insight into just how varied that streaming service will be considering it will likely also offer access to Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, USA Network, as well as content from the rest of the NBCU-related brands, such as NBC itself, CNBC, MSNBC, Telemundo and Universo.