Don’t rent movies on an iPad if you want to watch them on your Apple TV


I did something obvious, rented a movie on my iPad, with the intention of watching it on my TV using Airplay and an Apple TV. The simple answer is Nooooo. I got an incomprehensible message “the connected display is not authorized to play protected movies”. Having googled I got no-where trying to understand it, so sent a support query to Apple who quickly confirmed:

  • “you cannot view movie rentals downloaded from an iPad on your Apple TV since it cannot be transferred or be AirPlayed.”
  • “If you download a rented movie on your iPhone 4 or later, iPad, iPod touch (4th generation or later), or Apple TV: It is not transferable to any other device or computer.”

There are at least two ways around this ridiculous restriction:

  1. Rent the movie on your Mac or PC, and then transfer it to your Apple TV
  2. Rent the movie on your Apple TV directly (as I did) and watch it there.

It brings to mind Apple’s slogan “it just works”, apart from when “it just doesn’t”. There’s nothing about this that seems simple, I thought the point of Airplay was to ‘beam’ content from one device to another, not to watch it on two devices at once. Quite puzzling and stupid. Anyone else come across this?

UPDATE May 13th from Apple:

I have made an extra investigation about this case and have found that the reason why you can only view a movie on one device at a time and the reason why you cannot view movie rentals using AirPlay feature is that they are DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected. DRM is used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders, and individuals with the intent to control the use of digital content and devices after rentals or sales. So this is not with iTunes as a whole but it is being imposed by the movie distributors.

DRM, seek to control viewing, copying, printing, and altering of works or devices.