Apple TV users have long been receiving access to Hulu Plus, Netflix, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr, and The Wall Street Journal among other “channels as well as connectivity to the iTunes store and the wealth of programming available for purchase.”

Apple tv

Today marks the day that users of Apple TV’s second- and third-generation Apple TV devices will be able to download version 5.3 free-of-charge and will no longer have to rely on “workarounds” in order to enjoy HBO GO, WatchESPN along with Sky News, Crunchyroll and Qello.

“HBO GO and WatchESPN are some of the most popular iOS apps and are sure to be huge hits on Apple TV,” said Eddy Cue, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We continue to offer Apple TV users great new programming options, combined with access to all of the incredible content they can purchase from the iTunes Store.”

Apple TV Still Requires a Cable Subscription

Users will still require a cable subscription that includes HBO and ESPN in order to access this content but many already do, and anticipation is running high. Crunchyroll and Quello are worldwide services providing Japanese anime, Asian media, on-demand concerts and music documentaries respectively.

The real story, however, is the addition of original HBO programming, movies, sports, documentaries, comedy specials and more on HBO GO.

WatchESPN provides access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line for those who already pay for the service on affiliated cable providers.

While this should help Apple TV compete with Roku, Roku still offers over two hundred content sources compared to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s offering of a few dozen. Apple also repeated to users that when iTunes Radio is released this fall with iOS 7 and its new desktop OS X, it will also be made available to Apple TV viewers.