Apple TV is a TV connected box and, optionally, a subscription service called Apple TV+.
Apple TV has a history. If you trace it back far enough you get to Steve Jobs seeing the potential of Pixar animation studio. Apple got a direct connection to the world of Hollywood. iTunes became the software that connected the Mac to the iPod. It was also the place to download music, movies and TV. Eventually Apple made a box that connected to your TV and launched Apple TV+.
Today you can buy or rent TV programmes and movies. You can display content on your TV via an Apple TV box or an app on your smart TV. If that isn't enough Apple goodness you can subscribe to their TV+ service at £4.99 per month or through the Apple One subscription. Apple One being their subscription bundle.
A good number of people are paying nothing for this right now. Between free offers and trials you can try it all out for nothing. After buying an iPhone in 2020 I got a year free. A few days ago my LG TV gave me three months more for free. I suspect the aggressive use of free subs is allowing millions of people watch for free,
This will all settle down at some point but there is a reason for the service being "free" for so many. It's because it is different from other streaming services. Many people subscribed to Netflix because it had everything. Netflix was able to do this because it bought the rights to content at a good price. TV and movie studios didn't see value in streaming and saw Netflix as a opportunity to make money out of old content that they had made profit on already. Whether it be old episodes of Star Trek or comedy from the 1990s.
Later on this changed. Viewers started moving to on-demand models and content owners such as Disney, Paramount, and so on created their own streaming services. They had long running franchises of popular movies and TV they could show and attract subscribers. They moved from Netflix and opened their own storefront.
Amazon has recently purchased MGM for this reason.
Apple is on a slow burn route. It's Apple TV+ subscription model is relying on it's own original content. You can still rent or buy movies and TV from other producers. You keep them in a digital library and play them as needed. Subscribers will get Apple Originals. Content Apple create or specifically commission.
Apple are being quite ambitious. They have deep pockets to pay for this. Over time having original content that is exclusive can be an attractive proposition as long as it's what people want to watch.
Connected to all of this is Apple's service strategy. Apple wants to build it's ecosystem so you think first of Apple Music, Apple TV or maybe Apple Fitness.
The problem I have is that Apple is a clean living worthy service. It commissions things that no one will be offended by. Often drama, comedy and even science fiction is good because it's challenging. Other streaming services seem to delight in some things that part of the audience will hate, while another part of the audience will love. My observation is that the content of Apple TV+, so far, is bland but of high quality.
Keep your eyes out for free offers. There are plenty around. If you have an Apple product there is probably an offer on there right now.