Apple TV update introduces show streaming, Vimeo support

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Apple rolled out an update to its Apple TV software Monday that introduces a bunch of new features. (Hat tip to Daring Fireball.) The update is available now and allows you to stream TV shows you purchase through iTunes, along with providing access to Internet video site Vimeo. The update is only available for second-generation Apple TVs.

The new TV show streaming feature lets users buy episodes directly from Apple TV and stream them from Apple’s servers. It also grants users access to TV shows previously purchased through iTunes without the need to download them to your iTunes library first. (It looks like all shows are available, but there’s no official word yet on whether all content providers are on board.) It’s a nice feature addition that Apple is probably hoping will encourage more users to buy content rather than rent, and it likely also represents one of the new uses of Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina. It also seems to be U.S.-only for the moment. In other words, any TV shows you’ve purchased from iTunes are now stored, and streamable, from the cloud.

Vimeo is also now available in the “Internet” section of Apple TV. Like YouTube, Vimeo provides access to a huge library of user-uploaded video content, but the site focuses more on creative artistic projects and auteur short films. You can now navigate Vimeo’s library on Apple TV, check your video inbox and mark videos for later viewing. Vimeo introduced an iPhone app earlier this year that allows shooting and editing, as well as uploading of mobile video.

Apple’s additions to the Apple TV are coming somewhat sporadically and slowly, but it is doing a great job of improving the appeal of the device and providing a stronger supporting content library. Here’s hoping the feature additions keep trickling out.

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