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Thursday, March 29, 2012, 09:30 am PT (12:30 pm ET)

In-depth review: Apple's third generation 1080p Apple TV and Software Update 5




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TV Shows

Select the second TV Shows button and you'll see square art representing your Purchased shows and other Top TV Shows available for purchase.

After briefly experimenting with the option to rent TV shows, Apple canned the idea and now only sells TV content. Netflix also offers access to its own library of TV shows, but these are all found within the Netflix app. There's no option to download TV shows from other sources, including websites like Hulu.

That was the strategy originally initiated by Google TV, which resulted in a backlash from TV studios that simply blocked Google from accessing their content for use on TV, something that violated their existing structure of contractual programing rights negotiated between cable operators and broadcasters.

Apple has been careful to keep publishers involved in its efforts to make their content available on the Mac, iOS devices, and on Apple TV. That process has taken more time, but has now resulted in a quite flexible array of options, where users can buy individual shows or a Season Pass to a year's episodes, and then download these to any iTunes compatible device as needed via iCloud.



Click the TV Shows button and you get six movie subcategories. Purchased shows everything you've bought, categorized into genres. Top TV Shows similarly presents categories of available episodes in iTunes.



Genius makes suggestions based on previous purchases, and Genres similarly presents shows by topic, type or audience.



TV Network listings

Unique to TV Shows, Networks presents shows by the producing network.

Select Comedy Central's Adult Swim for example, and you get all the shows they air that are available on iTunes. Click a show for detail and you get a synopsis, an option to buy specific episodes, add the show to your favorites, or buy a Season Pass.







On page 4 of 7: Music, iTunes Home Sharing & Radio