DVD’s “special features” come to iTunes as “extras” hits Apple TV

Apple TV owners know all too well that digitally downloaded movies are so much easier than going to the video store and renting a disc or two, but those extra features that come with DVDs are missing in action. Until now, that is.

Rolling out this week is an update for Apple TV that will let owners of HD movies see the extra features that come with the movies, just like you would see if you had bought the DVD or Blu-ray disc.

Called “iTunes Extras,” it’s a feature that was previously only accessible through a computer, with Mac and Windows PCs able to download and access the special features through a copy of iTunes. These extras could behind-the-scenes docos, short films, photo galleries, storyboards, and even audio commentary, just like you’d find on the physical media release of that movie, with the availability of the features totally dependent on what was released with the movie.

From today, though, a PC or Mac is no longer required, as Apple TV gets the access for any HD movies purchased through the service, with Apple telling GadgetGuy that the support will also extend to the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod touch when iOS 8 is released later this year.

There is a catch, and you’ll have to have bought the movies, not just rented them. It’s not like when you go to the local rental store — the few that exist — and rent a DVD or Blu-ray title, finding the features available to you for the rental period. No, on Apple TV, these extra features will only be available if you buy the title.

That said, at least the option is out there.

We’ve been itching to watch the extra mini-movies from “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,” especially if it involves Steve the Monkey. We’re weird like that.