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Apple TV adds Yahoo, PBS channels

Apple's streaming box adds the Yahoo Screen app with clips from shows like "The Daily Show" and "SNL" plus snippets by Yahoo itself. PBS, with "Downtown Abbey" in tow, joins up too.


Apple has widened the net of its Apple TV streaming video box to include Yahoo and PBS apps.

The Yahoo Screen video app rolled it out last month on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The app has videos, mostly short, from the likes of "Saturday Night Live," "The Colbert Report," and "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," plus live news and events and music. Many of those are items you can watch through Apple TV's Hulu Plus app in full, but the Yahoo Screen app also has original programs from Yahoo, such as a program in which John Stamos interviews actors and comedians about losing their virginity or a parody of ESPN's "30 for 30" docu-drama film series based on the premise that the plot of "Space Jam" actually happened.

Hulu Plus requires a paid subscription, while Yahoo Screen does not.

PBS, which also has an iOS app, said its Apple TV offering has full-length episodes and clips from shows it currently airs and those dug up from its library, including "Frontline," "Masterpiece," and "Nova." Users can personalize their PBS channel by creating a profile and identifying their local PBS station. Many programs will be available for viewing via the app within 24 hours of their broadcast.

A PBS spokeswoman said "Downtown Abbey" episodes will be available for a limited window following their on-air broadcast. Stations are airing "Downton Abbey" second and third seasons episodes through December, and new episodes from the fourth season begin in January.

Roku, Apple TV's main competitor, has a PBS channel, but not Yahoo Screen. Yahoo Screen will be moving to more devices soon, the company said in a post on its Tumblr page.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For Yahoo, Apple TV is an additional indication of Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's renewed attention to video. Under Mayer's leadership, the company's most headline-grabbing moves have been in segments other than video, such as the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr and relaunching of flagship products like Flickr. Yahoo has been putting more emphasis on e-mail, search, and other tech-focused areas, as well as making a bigger push in mobile rather than in media.

Lately, however, video has been getting more of the spotlight, with Yahoo striking deals with top content providers like NBC Sports and Viacom and poaching former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue to make clips for the site as he spearheads more tech-news coverage.

Apple TV, for its part, has been bulking up with additional channels this year, adding features like Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Watch ESPN, and Major League Soccer. Apple has also been said to be working on a deal for Time Warner Cable channels, and CW President Mark Pedowitz earlier this year said the CW network would be on Apple TV imminently -- though an app for the channel had yet to materialize.

The biggest omission from Apple on the TV front has been a long-rumored flat-panel television from the computer maker. Hype about an Apple television stretches as far back as 2009, but hopes for such a product have been pushed out to late 2014 -- or even further.

UPDATE at 8:36 a.m. PT: with PBS joining Apple TV lineup.