Apple quietly added two major new features to the Apple TV Mondays with the release of Apple TV Software 4.3. The first is support for purchasing TV shows through iTunes on the device, and the second is direct support for Vimeo, a video sharing service that competes with YouTube.
Before Monday’s update, Apple TV only supported renting TV shows, shows that were streamed from Apple’s servers to the device. This limitation was due to the lack of storage on the device, which in and of itself was part of Apple being able to offer it for US$99.
Apple is leveraging its burgeoning iCloud infrastructure to get around this limitation and allow users to not only purchase TV shows, but to watch other TV shows that had been purchased through their Macs, PCs, iPhones, and iPads. It does so by streaming them from iCloud to the Apple TV, making local storage a non-issue.
Vimeo is nowhere near as popular as YouTube, but it is a bona fide competitor. What may be even more important to Apple, however, is the fact that Vimeo isn’t owned by Google, Apple’s own ardent competitor (and sometime partner) in smartphones and tablets. By boosting exposure for Vimeo, Apple is able to both make its Apple TV more attractive and useful to end users, while simultaneously weakening Google, if only by the tiniest increment.
Apple’s patch notes:
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.
You can download and install the update through iTunes on Mac and Windows.
Apple TV Update Screenshot