Updated Wednesday, July 2, at 5:37 AM PT to highlight the difference between Younity’s iTunes media streaming and Apple’s “Home Sharing” feature
iTunes shows and movies are protected by digital rights management (DRM) software, which limits how people can share and view them. But thanks to a file-sharing startup, iTunes videos are getting Netflix-style streaming capabilities — and it’s 100 percent legal, the company claims.
Entangled Media today updated its Younity iOS app, enabling your iPhone and iPad to stream videos stored on your computer’s iTunes library, no downloading or syncing required.
“You and I both know that people almost never sync their devices and downloading HD content like a movie can take an eternity,” Erik Caso, Entangled Media’s chief executive, told VentureBeat. “And both rely on there being storage on your device, which is a rare commodity.”
The Younity app already enabled access to your files that doesn’t have DRM protection on your desktop — including your music and video libraries — on your iPhone or iPad. It even temporarily shares those files through its ephemeral file-sharing feature. But this is the first time the app has dealt with DRM.
To avoid legal troubles, Younity won’t share content purchased through iTunes, as you can with other content. Also, the app will send you over to Safari to stream your videos.
“We’re obviously not going to strip off the DRM, because that would be illegal,” said Caso. “We effectively had to reverse-engineer using your Apple ID and your DRM key and insert them into your stream, which we could do in the Safari browser but not our own media player.”
iTunes videos will stream in their original, full resolution, and you can view them while you are anywhere in the world. That might be slower than a transcoded stream, noted Caso, but if the company optimized the video playback for streaming, that would violate the content’s DRM.
Caso says he isn’t aware of any other services that offer this iTunes streaming functionality. There’s Apple’s “Home Sharing” feature, but that only works over your home Wi-Fi network.
“I know a few other services have tried it, but I’ve never seen it working.”
Entangled Media’s long-term goal is to offer access to all of your data — files stored locally and files stored in the cloud — across all of your devices. Its software is currently available on Windows, Mac, and iOS. Learn more about the company in our earlier report.