Apple TV’s new single sign-on feature eschewed by Comcast, Charter, other top cable operators

Apple TV
Image: Apple TV

Cable operators don’t appear to be offering support for a new Apple TV feature that lets users authenticate their pay-TV subscription just once for all multiscreen viewing across programmers. 

Apple unveiled its new single sign-on feature over the summer at its developer’s conference, generating excitement with a new software capability that lets users bypass the hassle of having to authenticate their subscription for every multiscreen app they use.

Unveiling last week the latest iteration of its Apple TV app, which includes the feature, satellite operators DirecTV and Dish Network were the only major pay-TV operators listed as supporting Single On.


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FierceCable emailed out notes to Comcast, Charter Communications, Altice USA and Cox Communications this morning to find out if any of those cable companies have plans to support single sign-on. We did hear back from Cox: "It won’t be available at launch, but we’ll keep an eye on it like any other new developments," Todd Smith told us in an email.

RELATED: Apple’s new TV app aggregates content on iOS, tvOS, but leaves out Netflix

Apple did list “DirecTV, Dish Network and more” as single sign-on supporters in its press release for the new app, but, “if they had more they would have written them out. It’s not like the list was so long they had to omit them!” noted website, which originally reported on the lack of cable participation. 

The hassle of authentication has often been cited as a key reason why usage of pay-TV multiscreen apps has been finite. 

With single sign-on, a Dish Network subscriber can authenticate his or her subscription for, say, Watch ESPN, and not have to go through the ordeal again when trying to watch HBO Go. 

"When you enter your cable or satellite subscription credentials on Apple TV, you get immediate access to all the apps in your pay TV package that support single sign-on. So you authenticate once and you're done,” Apple said in its release. 

Apple last week announced a new app, appropriately named TV, which aggregates TV and movies from multiple apps into one unified search platform available on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad.

Content partners include HBO, Hulu and Showtime, but not Netflix. Additional reports suggested that Amazon Prime Video is also not included in the TV app.

UPDATED: This article was updated to include the correct name of the Apple TV authentication feature. 


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