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Buy and Rent Media Using the Apple TV

Hey, wait a second, the Apple TV is connected to the Interent—you don't need no stinkin' iTunes! With version 2.0 of the Apple TV software, you can purchase media and rent movies, directly from the Apple TV.

Browse for Content

The Apple TV provides complete access to the three main sections of the iTunes Store—Movies, TV Shows, and Music—as well as Music Videos found within Music. (Podcasts are also available, but I cover them in Chapter 6.)

Here's how to get started:

  1. Press the Menu button on the Apple Remote.
  2. On the left side of the menu, select one of the media types by pressing Select/Play/Pause.
  3. Scroll to one of the submenu choices (such as All HD under Movies or Top TV Shows), and press Select/Play/Pause.
  4. Scroll through the list that appears on the next screen, then press Select/Play/Pause to view a title.

Search for Content

The top–level sections of the iTunes Store are great for browsing new releases and popular titles, but if you know what you're looking for, you can search for it directly.

  1. Press the Menu button to call up the main menu, choose the media type you want to search, then select Search from the right pane of the menu.
  2. Use the remote to scroll through the alpha–numeric palette and press Select/Play/Pause to make a selection. (Choose the #+= button at the bottom to switch to a palette of special characters.) A list of artists and titles appears on the right side of the screen (Figure 4.15).
    Figure 4.15

    Figure 4.15 Searching for movies also locates actors and directors.

  3. Continue making selections to narrow your choice, then press the Next/Fast–forward button to jump to the list of search results.
  4. Press Select/Play/Pause to view media available for purchase or rent, then Select/Play/Pause again to view a title.

Buy or Rent

Now that you've found what you want, here's how to get the media onto your Apple TV.


After selecting your title, you'll find an overview page with a short synopsis, movie rating, and details such as actors, directors and movie length. You then have two or three options: the ubiquitous Preview button plays the film's theatrical trailer, and one or two Rent buttons correspond to SD (standard–definition) and HD versions (Figure 4.16).

Figure 4.16

Figure 4.16 Rental buttons.

To rent a movie, do the following:

  1. Select one of the two rental options and press Select/Play/Pause.
  2. On the confirmation screen, select OK to move on.
  3. The Apple TV contacts the iTunes Store and a Rented Movies screen appears, collecting all of the movies you've rented with the download progress appearing below the film's poster.

After the movie has downloaded a bit, a message appears telling you the movie is ready to watch. You don't have to wait for the entire movie file to download before you begin watching (depending on the speed of your Internet connection, of course).

Press Select/Play/Pause to begin watching immediately (remembering you have just 24 hours to complete the viewing), or press the Menu button to watch later (Figure 4.17). If you do begin to watch your film, you'll see how much the movie has downloaded on the progress bar at the bottom of the screen (press Select/Play/Pause to call it up; it will disappear again after two seconds). For more about watching movies, see Chapter 5.

Figure 4.17

Figure 4.17 Once you start watching, you have 24 hours to finish viewing the movie.

TV Shows

When you select a TV Show, you're presented with a list of available single episodes to buy (no renting) as well as an option to buy all the episodes you see in one fell swoop (Figure 4.18). If more than one season is available, you'll see an option for that with a greater–than symbol (>). Scroll through the list and view the details for each episode (including original air date and length).

Figure 4.18

Figure 4.18 Choose individual episodes, or buy all at once.

To make a purchase, press Select/Play/Pause to get to the overview screen, then navigate to the Buy button and press Select/Play/Pause. At the confirmation screen, just select OK and begin downloading.

As with Movies, you can begin watching a TV show shortly after it begins downloading, or return to it later by selecting My TV Shows from the main menu. For more on watching TV Shows, see Chapter 5.


The purchasing process for Music is similar to TV Shows. Whether a full album or just an E.P., most titles come with several songs, so you get the option to buy the entire album at the top of the list. Otherwise, you can select an individual song, choose the Buy button on the overview page, and go through the confirmation screen to buy the song.

Unlike Movies and TV Shows, the Apple TV won't inform you that your new music is ready for listening. You'll need to find your new purchases by visiting My Music on the main menu (under Music in the left pane). And when you next sync to your PC, you'll find a new Purchased item (with the name of your Apple TV) in the Store section of the left–hand column in iTunes (Figure 4.19).

Figure 4.19

Figure 4.19 Purchases made on the Apple TV get synced to iTunes.

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