Activating WatchESPN on AppleTV

Live Action on ESPN3

This morning, Apple announced that HBO GO and WatchESPN have been made available as services on AppleTV. I had a few minutes to spare, so I decided to update my AppleTV, see how quickly I could activate WatchESPN, and get an idea how how the user experience differed from activation on the iPhone and iPad.

The WatchESPN experience on AppleTV is very similar to the experience on iPhone and iPad, except for the size of the screen and the activation method. I went through the activation and took photos and screenshots, so that people who hadn't yet tried it would know what to expect.

Before you confirm that you are a cable TV subscriber, some content on the WatchESPN app, such as most ESPN3 content, display a padlock icon over their thumbnail. This indicates that registration is required.

I found that the most unique aspects were the way that you choose your CableTV provider (twice) and enter an activation code, once you have indicated that you want to watch a live event on ESPN3. This has become the standard activation method for subscriber services on Apple TV. When Disney-related channels first started activating in this manner, I criticized it, but it's clear that this is the best way to accomplish cable subscription confirmation, since you do not have a full-featured web browser on AppleTV.

(I redacted the activation code that is displayed on this screen, because I don't want readers to think that the code I received would work for them.)

What I needed to do here is to rechoose my CableTV Provider (Verizon FiOS) and enter the Activation Code that was displayed on my AppleTV.

This screen confirms that my AppleTV has been activated.

The bottom line is that once AppleTV is activated, the WatchESPN experience is just like watching on the iPad, but with the image size and volume associated with a traditional HD television. I'm sure that this experience will only improve. And, as I said earlier, WatchESPN on AppleTV is a big moment for sports with smaller TV audiences: