Apple has always considered its Apple TV device to be a "hobby" rather than a product that was heavily marketed. However, according to a new report on Apple Insider, a new software update to the AppleTV device will not only allow its users to purchase TV shows from the device via iTunes but it also lets users stream those TV episode purchases to the Apple TV box.
Previously, Apple TV only let its users purchase TV episodes via rentals at 99 cents a piece, so this software update is a huge change for the product. In addition to the Apple TV update, iTunes itself has gotten its own update that allows users to stream previously purchased TV shows to the PC, Mac or iOS devices. However, Apple Insider notes that not all TV networks are making their shows available with this new feature; CBS and NBC are apparently not involved.
In addition to the new streaming TV shows update, Apple TV now supports watching Internet videos from the Vimeo service. The update also allows users to access their own Vimeo inbox. Apple TV previously had support for Netflix's streaming video service along with YouTube, Flick, and more Internet videos.
The current hardware version of Apple TV first launched in 2010 for $99. The device has reportedly only sold 500,000 units since it launched, which is tiny compared to the millions of units for Apple's iPhone and iPad devices. There have been rumors in the recent past that Apple is planning to launch a television line with integrated iOS software.