Apple TV Update: Hands-On with 4.3

August 1, 2011

Today, Apple TV version 4.3 build 2557 was pushed to the one million plus little black boxes out there. In particular, this version adds access to the Vimeo service as well as the ability to purchase TV shows directly from Apple TV. Before this update, you had to purchase TV shows from your computer unlike rentals which could always be purchased directly from Apple TV (ATV2).

Apple TV Update Version 4.3
Apple TV Update Version 4.3

Purchase TV Shows

Not only can you now purchase TV shows with your Apple TV, but previous purchases made on iTunes via your computer are also accessible. In the past, iTunes had to be running on your PC or Mac to view purchased TV shows on Apple TV. Now, Apple TV directly streams these shows from the cloud just like TV and movie rentals. In theory, while you don’t need to store the shows locally for Apple TV, you still do for off-line viewing (i.e. syncing them to your iPad or iPhone). Update: From the iPad, you can directly download shows from Apple. Apparently, you can also do this on the iPhone and the iPod Touch as well but my second generation iPod Touch doesn’t seem to support it.

Apple TV iTunes new purchased option on the home screen
The new “Purchased” option on the home screen

If Your Previously Purchased Shows Are Missing:

The first time you access the “Purchased” menu from the main Apple TV screen, it prompts you to confirm your Apple id and reenter your password. At this point, Apple TV quipped “You have not purchased any TV shows.” In fact, the Hub has bought a few shows from iTunes over the years. If your previously purchased shows do not show up, do the following:

  • Make sure iTunes is running on your computer and on the same network as your Apple TV.
  • Confirm that “Home Sharing” is enabled on your computer’s iTunes (‘Advanced’ on the menu bar).
  • Confirm that “Home Sharing” is enabled on your Apple TV (You should see your computer name listed under computers. If not, go to Setup->Computers).
  • Select your computer under “Computers” on the Apple TV. Go into the “TV Shows” folder
  • Voila! If you go back under “Purchased” off the main Apple TV menu, you should now see your shows.

When you view your purchased TV shows, you’ll notice the new cloud icon indicating the video is streamed from Apple’s cloud as opposed to a local machine.

Cloud icon added to episode on Apple TV
Notice the cloud icon on the right (click to enlarge).


Vimeo, the HD video sharing service, is a great addition to the Apple TV. True to form, Vimeo has been skinned to be consistant with the rest of Apple TV’s user interface. An entry was also added to the parental controls screen for Vimeo as well.

What’s next
Apple has done a great job adding quality apps and features to the Apple TV since its launch. The next logical step is to add movie purchases to the box as well. With the rumored Apple acquisition of Hulu, maybe an all you can watch subscription service is in the works as well.

Update: Apple TV has now been updated to version 4.4 which includes functionality for Airplay mirroring, Netflix closed captions and iCloud support among other features.

Related Posts:
Apple TV’s Quiet Update
Netflix Tips on Apple TV

Tags: Apple TV

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