Apple TV owners in Germany have an option on their home screens that's new in more ways than one. Vivendi's new subscription service Watchever only launched for the web on Wednesday, but it's already officially listed as a content provider for Apple TV, and Matthew Panzarino at The Next Web reports that the Watchever app is already rolling out to boxes. This is the fastest a new service has reached Apple TV on record — especially noteworthy considering that Vivendi and Watchever didn't even advertise Apple TV in its inaugural press release (PDF).
No Netflix in Germany, no Lovefilm on Apple TV
Watchever is also the only region-specific video service on Apple TV apart from Hulu Plus, which is only available in the US and Japan. But although it's for German viewers, it's largely not German content. Watchever includes TV series from HBO, the BBC, and ABC, a few new shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, plus classic series, children's shows, and a small but solid catalog of American and European films. Although the HBO series are largely limited to back catalog content like The Sopranos or Sex and the City, it's still the first time anywhere that you can watch an HBO-owned series on an Apple TV without buying it through iTunes. At 9 Euros a month, Watchever is a fair online-only competitor to the well-established, Amazon-owned Lovefilm — which has had streaming video in Germany for years, but is notably not available on Apple TV. (Lovefilm fans with Apple TVs should be frustrated here.) Meanwhile, Netflix, like Hulu, isn't yet available in Germany.
Apple is still avoiding partnering directly with television stations, cable providers, or direct competitors like Amazon, preferring to deal with intermediaries for everything besides iTunes. But bit by bit, Apple is turning its TV box into something more than just a hobby, cutting deals with old and new powers around the world.