Windows Vista 32Bit but cannot download HD films on itunes

Hello, my first post.
I have previously purchased films from iTunes including HD films (probably 720p). I've never had a problem streaming them to my iphone via home sharing and playing them on my HDTV via the digital AV adaptor.
I recently took the plunge and bought a 2TB external hard drive in order to rip all my personal DVD collection and I also purchased an Apple TV 3 on the basis that future purchases would be from itunes in HD instead of blu-ray. However I have now noticed on itunes that I cannot purchase HD films as the option is greyed out and it merely says underneath (THE HD VERSION OF THIS ITEM IS AVAILABLE ON MAC OR WINDOWS 7 COMPUTERS WITH HDCP)
Firstly how do I find out if my computer is HDCP compatible?
Second why does my PC need this as I have no intention of watching my HD movie purchases from itunes but instead intend on streaming them via home sharing over my wi-fi network (would use ethernet but a separate apple tv 3 issue) as my Apple TV 3 is capable of dealing with 1080p and I have a 1080p HDTV connected to it with an HDMI cable?
Surely if I did watch the film via my PC then it should revert to the standard definition version.
I realise my PC has windows vista not 7 but is there a way to tweak my system to allow the purchase because my computer is certainly capable of storing HD video and streaming it to my apple TV.
If I cannot tweak my system to allow the purchase is it possible to circumvent this by purchasing the same HD film direct from my Apple TV 3?
My only question then is, if I do this how does it work?
The Apple TV 3 has no hard drive does it just stream it from the internet? or does the HD version then download to my iTunes on my PC so any future views of the HD film are instead then streamed via my home sharing as opposed to streaming/downloading it from the internet each time?
Hope the above makes sense. Would like to know a definitive answer as opposed to just guessing and purchasing films to test my theory and also don't really have to want to fork out to update my operating system from Vista to Windows 7 or 8.
Thanks in advance.
For info I have the following system.      Dell Inspiron 530S Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit PC with Intel core 2 Duo CPU E8200 2.66GHz with 2GB of RAM and a 250GB HDD with about 90GB unused. My graphics card is a ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro.

Ok I downloaded a HD film to my iPhone 4 via the itunes app. Although it took a while to download. I then loaded up iTunes on my PC and looked at my purchases section. The HD film was there ready to be downloaded from the cloud onto my iTunes. I pressed the download button but I received a warning stating that you won't be able to view the film on your PC as it's not HD compatible (words to that effect).
Next I connected my iphone to my PC and selected iPhone on the iTunes source menu and set what I wanted synced from itunes to my iPhone but I also selected "back up to this computer" (hoping everything purchased on the iPhone would back up to itunes)
It went through its process and near the end stated "Transferring purchases" it did the apps then did the HD film I purchased. Once completed I went to the movies section on the source menu in iTunes and there was my newly purchased HD film.
I tried to view the film on my PC. It came up with a warning unable to view on this computer. Not a suprise but I didn't actually want to view it on my PC I want to stream it over my wi-fi to my Apple TV which is HDCP compatible.
If it works it will be great, if not, a long winded way to go about this silly issue..
However for those of you out there without an iPhone or iPad then the only way to view HD movies on Apple TV will be to upgrade your PC/Mac and Monitors and graphics card so you can purchase the HD movie from itunes OR
purchase the HD movie from your Apple TV and each time you want to view it re-download it from the internet on ATV. Not ideal if you ask me.
I'll report back on whether ATV3 can stream this newly purchased HD film from "Computers" section. fingers crossed!

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