Why you don't need to download anymore
Whenever I have questions about listening to music, or watching videos, on my iPhone or my iPad, and I Google for information, I see people mostly talking about "downloading". And it's kind'a sad.
If you're still hung up on downloading, you're like the person who prints out your emails to read them. Yeah, I understand, that works for you. But it's an unnecessary step. And it's left over from how things used to be. And downloading is just the same type of wasted step.
Your movies and your videos on iTunes don't need to be downloaded onto your device to work. That is, you don't need to go find the icon that has the little arrow, and go through a lot of steps. You just push play.
My entire iTunes library, including all of my music, all of my movies, and all of my TV shows, isn't on my iPad, or my iPhone. There just wouldn't be enough room. They are stored (stay with me on this) on a server, remotely. That server is managed by Apple and I can access it by using my id and password. If the server recognizes me, and my password, it will let me watch a movie that I own. It's the same way with my Apple TV. I don't download stuff, and store the files on a device, it just streams in.
Well, kind'a. To watch a movie on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, it does have to download, in a way. The digital information needs a place to go, and the movie (or parts of it) are temporarily loaded onto your device. That's why you'll get an error message if you don't have enough space. But when you finish watching the movie, it's gone. You don't need to go into your Apple TV and delete files (not that you could!) nor do you need to do it on your iPhone or iPad. Watch all the movies you want, and never think about the digital files - they'll take care of themselves. That's how it works.
Still, this is a VERY difficult concept for many people to understand. And it's probably because we want to go get stuff, and store stuff. I've used a computer for many decades, and the whole point of a personal computer is that you could store your stuff right there, on it. That's why everyone wanted so much storage space. They were gigantic warehouses of digital information.
Then, with High Definition movies, it all changed. Yes, I can store all fifty of my HD movies on my mondo iMac, but not on my iPhone, or iPad, which is where I watch them the most often. And the question doesn't even arise with Apple TV.
So, here's the human dilemma: Most people don't consider owning something unless they have it right there. It's very strange to pay for something and leave it at the store, which is exactly what you're doing when you buy a movie from iTunes, and don't bother to download it. It's a matter of trust. And so go ahead and download your movies onto your computer, but don't bother doing it on your iPad, your iPhone, and don't worry that it isn't happening with your Apple TV.
I hope this helps.
Posted by Brad Hall