How Charter Communications and Apple TV are making cord cutting even easier

At WWCD 2018, Apple announced a couple of interesting bits of news for cable customers. Well, mostly for Charter cable customers, but the announcements were still pretty neat. For instance, Charter customers will soon be able to get an Apple TV through Charter, and the company will make their live and on-demand TV app available for Apple TV later this year.

Apple is also making it a lot easier to sign in to apps that let you use your cable account credentials to access their live and on-demand content. That will also start with Charter, but will include other cable providers as time goes on.

Here's what you need to know about Apple's latest efforts to replace your cable box with an Apple TV.

Zero Sign-on

Hundreds of content apps let you sign in with your cable account credentials in order to offer you on-demand, and sometimes live, access to their content. Apple has attempted to make this process easier though Single Sign-on, which allows you to sign in to your cable account in the Settings app of your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and have apps recognize that sign-in to give you access to their content without having to sign in to your cable account multiple times.

With tvOS 12's new Zero Sign-on, this process is even easier. If you get both cable and broadband internet service from the same provider, when you're on that broadband network, tvOS and iOS will automatically unlock all of the supported apps, meaning that you shouldn't even have to sign in once.

Zero Sign-on will be available later this year for Charter customers and will expand to other providers over time. And speaking of Charter...

Charter partnership

Apple is partnering with Charter Communications, the second-largest cable company in the United States, to bring Charter Spectrum, its cable TV service, to the Apple TV via an app. The app will offer customers access to all of the same channels that they can currently watch through their cable boxes with their Charter subscription, and the app will also integrate with the TV app and Siri.

Additionally, Charter will begin offering its customers iPhones and iPads as it grows its mobile presence. Customers will also be able to get the Apple TV 4K through Charter, rather than a more traditional cable box. Apple already has similar arrangements with other content providers, including Canal+ in France, Salt in Switzerland, and DirecTV Now in the United States.

It's important to note here that you'll still subscribe to Charter Spectrum outside of the Apple ecosystem. You won't be able to buy a cable subscription through Apple.


If you want to know anything else about Apple's latest cable partnership and new Zero Sign-on feature, let us know in the comments.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

  • Will people who don’t have physical access to charter (it’s not in my area) be able to purchase cable packages to stream on our Apple TV’s? Will it require charter internet to use the Apple TV as a set top box?
  • No. Sounds like they’re just gonna make an AppleTV version of their iOS app (already available for the iPad). With the app you can bypass using the cable box. I have a copy on my iPhone and it also works like a remote. Not sure what thier plans are for the DVR though, probably going to the cloud. The big take away here is you won’t have to pay for the cable box/DVR.
  • Right now you must have a DVR box. Even their Streaming Only service called Choice requires a DVR box to be installed in your home for recording. No Cloud DVR yet.
  • You can do this now with directv now.... stream live tv on your Apple TV device. Dump charter!
  • I have DTVN and I had Spectrum and the On Demand is slightly better on some "Cable Type" channels for Spectrum with availability of the latest episodes and the DVR on DTVN is still a little spotty and unreliable.
  • Once Charter Communications acquires *** Communications and other smaller cable companies, you/we should no longer be having that dilemma ----> " it's not in my area ".
  • Been waiting for this. I can ditch my TIVO boxes and stop using m X-Box for charter app.
  • Well this is confusing because you have always been able to use the Spectrum app on your computer and all sorts of devices like the inexpensive Roku. Also the Spectrum app is limited if you are away from home and further limited if you don't have Spectrum Internet and Spectrum Choice is unavailable completely without Spectrum Internet - so there that
  • From all the other cable providers charter is one of my favorite company and from all the other phone companies Apple is my favorite.