With the recent release of iOS 5.0 for Apple TV, I was eager to check out one new feature in particular: Streaming Movies from the iTunes Cloud.
One of the improvements touted in the release announcement was that users would be able to stream their previously purchased movies directly from the cloud in the same way as they could with TV shows and music. Early reports from people who updated their second generation Apple TV to iOS 5.0 also suggested that this applied to the “Digital Copies” of movies included on many Blu-Ray discs as well.1
But what at first seemed to be a clear step forward for movie lovers turned out to be, predictably, more complicated.
“When purchased, this movie will not be available from iTunes in the Cloud”
After updating my Apple TV to iOS 5, I was mystified when it told me that I had no purchased movies. I don’t generally buy movies from iTunes, but I have purchased a few — and so the notion that “The Princess Bride” wouldn’t be available to stream like Apple said it would be was sort of inconceiv… uh, I just found it hard to believe.
Peter Kafka2 from All Things D is now reporting that Fox and Universal have an existing deal with HBO which currently prevents these movies from being available via iCloud. These movies have a disclaimer on their iTunes Store purchase page — “When purchased, this movie will not be available from iTunes in the Cloud”.
You can still use Home Sharing to stream them from your computer to Apple TV but, for now, Apple’s promise of making purchased movies available from the cloud has a big asterisk next to it.