Apple has released a new iOS 4.3.3 firmware update to the AppleTV device that will not only allow its users to purchase TV shows from the device via iTunes but it also lets users stream those TV episode purchases to the Apple TV box.
Previously, Apple TV only let its users purchase TV episodes via rentals at 99 cents a piece, so this software update is a huge change for the product. In addition to the Apple TV update, iTunes itself has gotten its own update that allows users to stream previously purchased TV shows to the PC, Mac or iOS devices. However, Apple Insider notes that not all TV networks are making their shows available with this new feature; CBS and NBC are apparently not involved.
In addition to the new streaming TV shows update, Apple TV now supports watching Internet videos from the Vimeo service. The update also allows users to access their own Vimeo inbox. Apple TV previously had support for Netflix's streaming video service along with YouTube, Flick, and more Internet videos.
|TV show purchases||Purchase TV shows on Apple TV. Shows purchased on Apple TV can be re-downloaded on other iOS devices. Shows purchased on other iOS devices or with iTunes automatically show up as available to play on Apple TV.|
|Vimeo||Browse and watch millions of user-uploaded videos found on the Vimeo service, for free.|
Apple also made some back-end changes to the iTunes Store cloud. As you can see from the above screenshot, it's now possible to re-download purchased television shows in iTunes through the Purchased tab in the iTunes Store section of the iTunes desktop app.
The Purchased tab is also available via the iTunes app on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, allowing you to re-download previously purchased shows directly to those devices.
This latest addition comes on top of the ability to re-download purchased apps, e-books and music in desktop iTunes, which has been in place for some time.
The feature also ties in nicely to the latest Apple TV software update which lets you purchase television shows through the device (see pic below), not just rent them as before. Presumably, content begins streaming on the Apple TV (due to its small storage), with your other iOS devices and computers automatically downloading the purchase if you have enabled Automatic Downloads in Settings > Store.