When Apple unveiled the new Apple TV and the updated user interface the other day, they intentionally left out a few details. One of the most interesting details is the option to make your DVD and Blu-ray movies available in iCloud and stream the same movies to all your Apple or iTunes-enabled devices – including the Apple TV. Only in the US right now.
DVD & Blu-rays in iCloud
Not too long ago Apple introduced iTunes Match that makes all your music tracks - legal or illegal - available in iCloud. By making content available in iCloud users can access it on all Apple devices or PCs with iTunes. Apple is now quietly introducing a similar service for your DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Get access to your DVD and Blu-ray movies in iCloud – for example on the Apple TV box
This basically means that you can take a DVD or Blu-ray movie from your movie collection, insert it into your PC or Mac (Macs do not come with Blu-ray) and register the “redemption code” from the movie cover (not all movies come with these codes) in iTunes for your digital copy. The service is only available in the US right now and Fox and Universal have not joined the iCloud movie initiative yet but they will eventually, it has been reported.
The beauty of it all is naturally that you can only use a Blu-ray or DVD disc in your movie player but access a cloud-copy from any device, anywhere in the world.
Users can also expect a few other surprises along the way. When movies are made available in iCloud they are also available with 1080p resolution and Dolby Digital sound – even though it has been imported from a low-quality DVD disc. And some users report that after deleting the imported movie and re-downloading it from iCloud, complete iTunes Extra material is accessible – even though it was not included on the original DVD.
When video, music and pictures are stored in iCloud you can stream or download the content to any Apple or iTunes-enabled device
The digital import function is not new but the option to access it from iCloud is. Movies are accessed through the "Purchased" section on the Apple TV and can either be streamed or downloaded (onto for example a Mac, iPhone or iPad).
Apple has not decided to officially promote the function but it works and will probably be extended in the future – hopefully to markets outside of the US as well.
Most TV manufacturers joined forces last year to promote a similar service that would make DVD and Blu-rays available in the cloud. The initiative was called UltraViolet but so far it has been a failure – primarily because only very few hardware devices support it.