Here’s an interesting twist in the Apple TV lifetime story. Monday saw a system software update that began to allow Apple TV owners to stream iTunes TV content over the Internet, effectively lifting the Airplay only restriction that had been in place. What motivated this move, whether it was due to consumer demand or mounting pressure in the Internet TV connected-device markets, the company did not say. One might believe it to simply be the way the market was moving and so to compete, it was a necessity.

It honestly didn’t make any sense in the first place. You purchased a copy of the show but then were unable to access it on anything that wasn’t connected via Airplay. Monopolistic? It certainly seemed like it and perhaps that is why they have lifted the restriction. Of course, it’s entirely possible that it was a licensing restriction but I find that hard to believe.

99-cent rentals are now available from companies like ABC, BBC America, Disney and FOX. The latest update (to version 4.3) allows for not only downloading of the shows to iOS devices, but also the ability to purchase right from the set-top itself. According to the change log, content from Vimeo was also made available.

Apple TV Software Update 4.3 Features

Here are the main new features, according to the release:

  • 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 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.

To Update your Apple TV:

  1. Select Settings > General using your Apple Remote.
  2. Click Update Software. At this time your Apple TV checks to see if an update is available and a download message should appear if an update is available.
  3. Click Download and Install to start the download process (or Download Nowon an Apple TV 1st generation with Apple TV software 1.x).ImportantDo not disconnect your Apple TV during the update process. An Apple TV (1st generation) may flash an amber light; this is expected behavior.
  4. On an Apple TV (1st generation) with software version 1.x: When the update has finished downloading, an Update Now message should appear. To start the update process, click Update Now.

Now, fanboys, before you flame me for whatever reason. I have not got an Apple TV unit. They deigned me unworthy of a review unit, which is fine, as I have been streaming all my content through the Internet all this time. Seriously, having not used the unit I can only talk about information that I’ve been given in regards to its capabilities. Either way, this definitely sounds like a good thing for Apple TV owners.