Movie and TV downloads via Apple TV

Access to all the iTunes Store content is easy with Apple TV. There are most of the latest HD movies and TV programmes and series to download.

But iTunes movie/TV content isn’t cheap.

Season 1 of House costs almost as much as a minute in American healthcare: £26.99. You can buy that DVD via Amazon for under a tenner. Season 7 of House on HD is £39.99 on iTunes; but just £17 on DVD. Catching up with the first six seasons of House on iTunes will cost you £179.79. You can pick up the DVDs on Amazon for £57.52, and resell them on eBay for at least half that if you don’t want to keep them.

Movies are cheaper. The Adventures of Tintin is £9.99 to buy on iTunes, or you can rent it from iTunes for £3.49. District 9 is £7.99 on iTunes HD. Via Amazon you could buy the DVD of Tintin for the same £9.99 (£15 on Blu-ray), and the District 9 DVD for £3 (or £6.49 on Blu-ray).

There are lots of iTunes movies at 99p and a range under £5 so it’s worth looking around for bargains when you’re unsure what to watch.

Citizen Kane costs under £4 on DVD. On iTunes, it’s … not there.

And that’s another fault with online downloads – the range of what’s on offer is miniscule compared to standard DVD and Blu-ray formats.

But it can’t be beat for immediate gratification. Missed the latest episode of Alcatraz? Bing, it’s there on iTunes and therefore on your TV in minutes.

Rainy weekend and kids getting bored? Apple TV’s near-immediate downloads could save your sanity.

Apple TV iTunes Store Expensive

You can also watch movie trailers and read user reviews via Apple TV, and even let Genius recommend stuff based on your previous viewing habits – all of which makes renting a dud slightly less risky.

Apple TV offers access to movie/TV renting service Netflix. Netflix costs £5.99 a month for unlimited downloads. The trouble is that the number of telly programmes and movies on Netflix is limited – very much so.

The same is true of the available online downloads from Netflix UK rival LoveFilm, not yet part of Apple TV’s connected services. But LoveFilm (£4.99/month for unlimited online downloads) has an excellent DVD/Blu-ray disc-renting service from £5.99/month (3 discs a month) or from £7.99/month for as many discs as you can watch and post back plus the online downloads.

If you watch a lot of movies at home and don’t need instant access to the very latest films and TV series Lovefilm’s disc-renting service is much better value than iTunes.

Both Netflix and LoveFilm’s online downloads don’t require Apple TV if your telly is Internet-ready. If your TV isn’t Internet ready then Apple TV is a neat solution for adding Netflix.

Sky TV’s Box Office Sky Store also hosts a wide choice of the latest movies at the same price, or often cheaper than iTunes. Nobody ever accused Apple of cutting prices…

What’s on Apple TV

Aside from iTunes and Netflix access, Apple TV offers up access to YouTube (also usually available on internet TVs), Vimeo videos and flickr photos, and a couple of very US-centric services Wall Street Journal Live and Major League Baseball TV.

Apple TV services YouTube Netflix Photos MLB WSJ

(Even if you are a baseball fan you don’t get to watch MLB.TV for nothing: a subscription is required to watch live and archived games.)

What’s missing from Apple TV that might make it really great in the UK (instead of WSJ and MLB)? BBC iPLayer, Channel 4’s 4oD or any of the other UK TV station on-demand services. With these Apple TV would be a brilliant product.

Next page: Apple TV, Photo Stream and your computer, plus AirPlay