In their rush to announce the new iPad on Wednesday, Apple hurried through the details of their new Apple TV and didn’t talk much about the new ability to stream your movies straight from iCloud to your Apple TV or iOS device. What’s awesome about the new feature is that it works for movies that you didn’t even buy from iTunes: iTunes Digital Copies.
iTunes in the Cloud for movies works in similar fashion to iTunes Match in that the software scans your library for movies, and rather than uploading the entire movie to iCloud the system allows users to stream Apple’s iTunes copy for free straight to your Apple TV. Most DVD and Blu-rays now include a bonus iTunes Digital Copy disc that can be imported to iTunes so users can watch the movie on their Mac and it looks like this is what Apple is using to verify the legitimacy of the video files.
Writing for Tech of the Hub, Gabe Gagliano made the discovery:
I purchased the 2009 release of Star Trek on Blu-ray which came with a digital copy… In the earlier versions of the Apple TV software, I was able to watch it via iTunes home sharing, streaming from my iMac (and iTunes had to be running). However, I can now stream the movie directly from Apple’s cloud. Star Trek shows up under my purchased titles and the iCloud icon appears with it. It’s just like iTunes match for music!
Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud for movies service doesn’t go as far as iTunes Match for music though because it doesn’t grab any video file it sees. It must find a legit iTunes Digital Copy before it will add it to your available iCloud movies – meaning all those pirated movies on your hard drive won’t be streamed via iCloud. The feature is also limited to those films which are available in the iTunes Store. However, the feature is a great convenience for users, and with the upcoming addition of AirPlay video streaming in OS X 10.8 we think the Apple TV is finally starting to get its wings for mainstream users.