Vudu comes to Apple TV, but you can’t buy on the box


–Walmart’s Vudu app finally arrives on the Apple TV streaming box, but unlike Apple’s own iTunes service, it doesn’t allow purchases. We go hands-on.

The Apple TV streaming box might not be as big a seller as Roku, Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV, but it still has a loyal following, especially among people committed to Apple’s ecosystem of iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and software.
Since its streaming box launched, Apple has maintained a jealous hold on purchases of TV shows and movies made through the device: you can only use iTunes to buy or rent individual episodes, seasons and films. Now for the first time, a big iTunes competitor has an app available on the box.

Vudu, the movie and TV streaming service owned by Walmart, launches on Apple TV Monday. The app allows you to watch stuff from your Vudu library, including UltraViolet movies redeemed from Blu-ray discs and DVDs, and you can browse Vudu’s collection of free movies and shows.

What you can’t do is rent or buy anything directly from the on-screen app. The only way to do that on an Apple TV is via iTunes. The same restriction applies to Apple’s iOS devices like the iPadand iPhone. But you can still buy videos through your browser — or on other devices, like Roku — and they’ll be accessible from your Vudu collection on the Apple TV almost instantly.

Apple has also announced that Amazon Video is coming to Apple TV later this year. We don’t have any additional details at the moment, but don’t be surprised if, like Vudu, the Amazon app doesn’t allow purchases. The reason? Doing so would require Vudu and Amazon to give Apple a percentage of each sale.

I took the new Vudu app for a spin and, aside from the inability to buy anything directly, it’s polished and well-executed, with a simpler design than on other streaming services like Roku. Here’s a peek.