One little software update later, and Apple TV owners will now get to bask in all of the extra content that, previously, only those purchasing movies via the desktop- or laptop-based iTunes application could enjoy.
That's right — iTunes Extras are now viewable directly on your Apple TV. This concept of a shared experience across devices is an important part of the entire iTunes ecosystem that Apple has been a smidge slow to improve. Although iTunes Extras debuted in 2009, it's taken just shy of five years for them to make it to the Apple TV; longer still to make to iOS (it's expected that iTunes Extras will hit iOS 8 with the new operating system's release this fall).
We don't mean to get overexcited. These are just movie extras, typically coming in the form of some kind of director commentary, some extra images, behind-the-scenes tidbits, et cetera. You know, the kind of thing one usually skips over on a Blu-Ray until one has watched one's favorite movie 35 times and finally feels like firing up some of the bonus content (for lack of anything else to do).
That said, the availability of iTunes Extras does nicely coincide with the extraordinarily fast digital release of Bong Joon-Ho's Snowpiercer movie. The sci-fi-on-a-train film hit theaters as part of a limited release on June 27, and is now already available on iTunes in addition to a wide list of digital competitors: Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, and the movie stores on PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
"The launch coincided really well with Snowpiercer because we were launching in their platform at the time when they are really bringing extras to the front," Caroline McKenzie, director of marketing for Radius-TWC, in an interview with USA Today.
Another part of Apple's push on iTunes Extras is the exclusivity factor: Namely, that Apple is hoping that interested viewers will purchase films via its iTunes platform if they can receive exclusive content when doing so. Enter, Snowpiercer; the exclusive additional bits of content attached to the film might not matter that much to your average movie-watcher (we speculate), but they might very well tip the scales in Apple's favor for those who want to get their hands on as much content about a film they're interested in — especially if the iTunes version cost just as much as the purchasable versions from Apple's rivals.
To get started with all of these movie extras, you only have to ensure that your Apple TV is fully updated to the latest version. It should do this automatically; if not, you can trigger a manual update by going to Settings > General > Update Software. From there, just fire up a film (with extras) and indicate that you want to watch the special features instead of the main flick.
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The Engine is forever! The Engine is eternal!