ESPN, HBO come to Apple TV

Users of Apple's set-top box who want to watch a game of baseball followed by a "Game of Thrones" are in luck. HBO and ESPN apps are now available, but you need a pay-TV subscription for most content.

Screenshot by Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Apple TV is getting live sports and "Game of Thrones" beamed straight to its box, as Apple announces Time Warner's HBO Go and Disney's WatchESPN apps are now available.

But confounding would-be cord cutters, most of the content appears limited to people who already subscribe to a pay-TV provider. It was a sticking point Apple had reportedly fought against.

Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of software and services, predicted in a statement that HBO GO and WatchESPN still will be "huge hits on Apple TV," given the two apps are some of the most popular for iOS.

Apple's set-top box currently hosts a number of apps for Apple's own services like iTunes and Apple movie trailers, but also includes third-party streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Now, HBO Go users get unlimited access to HBO shows, plus bonus features and special behind-the-scenes extras. WatchESPN on Apple TV delivers live access to ESPN and its related channels.

Additionally, curated ESPN on-demand video such as highlights and news clips from will be accessible through WatchESPN for the first time via Apple TV to all users.

Apple also added three other, lower-profile content providers to Apple TV Wednesday: British news broadcaster Sky News, Asian-focused entertainment provider Crunchyroll, and Qello, a service streaming concert films and music documentaries.

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