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Key Takeaways

  • EE is restructuring its consumer-facing business, and part of this includes offering a customised Apple TV 4K box with bespoke TV services for EE customers.
  • This new approach to EE TV will change the TV landscape in the UK, as it allows for live broadcast across all terrestrial channels without the need for an aerial.
  • EE wants to be seen as more than just a mobile phone company and is expanding its product and service offerings, including hardware devices, subscriptions for digital services, and a central app to manage everything.

EE is in the midst of restructuring its consumer-facing business and alongside a number of announcements is a new approach to EE TV. For the first time, Apple is going to allow its Apple TV hardware to be customised with bespoke TV services for EE.

EE TV hasn't seen many headlines recently, with the service bubbling alongside BT TV. But EE has been redefining its customer proposition, with EE taking the lead as the consumer brand for mobile, TV and broadband. It's a corporate rebranding exercise on one hand, but it's going to change the TV landscape in the UK on the other.

The new EE will offer a new take on EE TV, which is where the customised Apple TV 4K box comes in. When you go to choose your EE TV, you'll have a choice of EE's own boxes - the TV Box Pro or the TV Box Mini (pictured down below) - or the Apple TV 4K box. The Apple TV will come with an EE-branded remote, giving you direct access to live TV and the guide.

Apple TV 4K device images photo 1

When power-up the Apple TV 4K box, you'll find EE TV as one of the shortcuts you're immediately presented with and that will give you all of the UK's free-to-air channels. Essentially it's like a Freeview experience, but there's no need for an aerial, it's all streamed over Wi-Fi. That means you can have terrestrial television, live on your Apple TV, anywhere you have an internet connection.

Currently, that experience isn't available elsewhere: you get access to UK-based TV apps on a regular Apple TV, but not live broadcast across all the terrestrial channels. You'll also get access to all the other Apple TV 4K features, with all those streaming services, AirPlay and everything else.

EE TV boxes

Naturally, you'll get access to that EE Apple TV 4K box through an EE TV subscription, with EE wanting you to take a bundle of broadband and TV services. You're not going to be able to go out and buy the box separately, but the option to have an Apple TV 4K instead of a traditional EE-branded piece of hardware will be appealing to a lot of customers, as Apple TV 4K remains a desirable option for streaming TV content.

New EE is here: But what does it mean?

The announcement of the new TV arrangements for EE comes on the back of a restructuring of EE's customer offering. With a heavy emphasis on pushing the "new EE" message, the company is evolving with broad ambitions to be a one-stop-shop for all connected devices and services. What EE doesn't want to be seen as is mobile phone company. It's now much bigger than that, offering a wide range of products and services - and not just centred around connectivity.

new EE branding on stage

EE has grown into one of the biggest retailers of hardware devices in the UK and that's something that's going to be leveraged as the company moves forward: it wants to sell you an Xbox, provide the Game Pass, provide your gaming-optimised broadband connection, as well as selling you the games.

That also extends to subscriptions for digital services - for things like Netflix - and key to EE's plans moving forward is to consolidate all the strands of its offering under one EE ID, with a central app where you can basically do everything - shop for devices, manage your broadband, sign-up for additional services.

Interestingly, EE doesn't want to limit the offer of the new app to EE customers: as a retailer, that makes perfect sense, because it wants to reach as many customers as possible. In the short term, the offer of an Apple TV 4K to slot under the TV and run TV services from EE has immediate appeal, and helps reinforce the message of being a connected company, with reach far beyond its origins as a mobile phone provider.