NFL Now, which officially launched earlier this month, is a digital network that offers free on-demand videos from across the league's video catalog, including game highlights, press conferences, and videos produced by NFL Films and the 32 NFL teams. The network was already available through Roku and Microsoft's Xbox streaming services, as well as on Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices, and online at NFL.com/Now.
A person familiar with the service told CNET earlier this month that Apple TV was expected to become a partner a few weeks after the service launched. Also, the NFL previously indicated that NFL Now will be available on the Kindle Fire, Amazon Fire TV, Yahoo Screen, and Yahoo Sports by the start of the 2014 NFL regular season, which kicks off September 4.
NFL Now is the league's latest effort to offer up more NFL information and videos over the Internet, as it seeks to join in on the growing popularity of on-demand streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Also, Apple TV now matches Roku for this particular channel. However, Roku is approaching 2,000 channels while Apple TV's more selective approach means it has only about two dozen content partners.
Apple, which confirmed Wednesday's announcement, has been working on adding more content to the $99 Apple TV streaming-media box, including bringing Fox News and CNBC at the end of July. Still, the device has often been overshadowed by Apple's much bigger moneymakers, the iPhone and iPad.
In addition to highlights and historic game footage, the NFL Now network includes original content, including NFL Now shows and features. Still, the network doesn't include live games.
A premium version, NFL Now Plus, is available for $1.99 a month in the US (with varying costs elsewhere). It provides near-instant in-game highlights and NFL Films' entire vault of historical footage, shows, and documentaries. Parts of the NFL Films library are already available elsewhere, including HBO and the NFL Network, but NFL Nows' premium service brings the whole catalog on demand and in one place.
The service is among a handful of digital offerings from the NFL, including NFL.com and NFL Mobile, an app with news, game updates, highlights, real-time scores, and stories.
Update, 11:20 a.m. PT: Adds more background information.