Apple announced its new stuff at MacWorld today with the first announcement being that all major film studios will now be renting movies via iTunes. The good news is that Apple priced the digital rentals right with older library titles renting for only $2.99 and new releases going for $3.99.
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Users who have a PC or HDTV capable of displaying HD content can rent HD versions of some films for $3.99 on library titles and $4.99 for new releases. I had said before that if Apple priced the movies right and the flicks started playing very quickly rentals via iTunes could be huge.
Apple certainly priced the rentals right, I pay that same amount at my local movie store. What remains to be seen is how fast the films are ready to play. Apple says you can watch the rented movies on your PC, Mac, iPod, or on your TV with Apple TV. This could finally be the killer app that the Apple TV needs to stay alive. You get 30 days to play the movie you rent and once playback begins you have 24 hours to finish watching the film. You can watch the film multiple times in the 24 hour period if you desire.
The time frame Apple gives you to watch the film is the only downside compared to my local movie store. I get five full days with them to watch the movie as many times as I wish. However, there have been many occasions where I rented films and didn’t get around to watching them before the five day rental was up and returned the movies unseen. The Apple rental program is definitely better in that you can keep the films for 30 days before you watch them.
"iTunes Movie Rentals instantly brings great movies from all the major studios directly to your iPod, iPhone, TV or computer -- without having to drive to the video store or wait for DVDs to arrive in the mail," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Movie lovers can now discover and enjoy movies as simply and easily as music lovers discover and enjoy music today on iTunes."
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