One of the little known features of the Apple TV, is the ability to subscribe to some content services, and bill this back to your iTunes account. Similar to In-App purchases in your favorite apps on your iPhone or iPad, which are taken out of your iTunes credit before eating into your credit card, the same process exists on the Apple TV.
There are very few apps on the Apple TV that support these ‘in-app purchases’ with iTunes as your billing method, but two of them in Australia are Stan, or Netflix. While the Stan and Netflix iOS apps don’t support in-app purchases, the Apple TV ‘apps’ do, meaning you must have an Apple TV, and can’t make use of this trick with an iPhone or iPad.
A benefit of using iTunes as a purchase method, is that iTunes credit is very often on sale, and it’s not unheard of to get around 20% (or more) off prepaid iTunes credit. To keep track of the sales, a great resource is ‘Gift Cards on Sale‘, which can also be subscribed to in your favourite calendar app (or even directly on your iPhone). Once you’ve grabbed your iTunes credit, jump on the iTunes Store and redeem your code.
Now, jump on your Apple TV, and select Netflix or Stan. The easiest way to get started is to sign up on the Apple TV for an account, rather than use an existing account. This way you’re set to use iTunes for billing from the start.
However, if you’ve got an existing account, this can make things a little trickier. For Netflix, you must jump on the website, and cancel your membership. It will tell you that your account will continue to be available as usual until the next billing date. After your membership expires, log in on your Apple TV – you’ll get the option to reactivate your Netflix membership and use iTunes for billing. For Stan, I haven’t yet tested this so I’m not sure if this is an option, or if you must sign up on the Apple TV to take advantage of iTunes.
(if you signed up for Netflix on your Apple TV and need to log in on another device, here’s how)
And, done! Now your Netflix/Stan subscriptions will be slowly eating away at your iTunes credit, making this cheaper than directly paying via PayPal or a credit card.
If you ever want to cancel the iTunes billing, you should do it through iTunes itself.