January 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

Apple offers movie downloads via iTunes

Apple Inc. is offering iTunes rentals of movies from all major film studios, for viewing on Macs or PCs, all current generation iPods, iPhone and Apple TV.

Apple Inc. is offering iTunes rentals of movies from all major film studios, for viewing on Macs or PCs, all current generation iPods, iPhones and Apple TV.

Launched this week, iTunes Movie Rentals will offer 1,000 titles by the end of February, including 100 titles in high-definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, which users can rent directly from their widescreen TVs using Apple TV software. Movie rentals are priced at $2.99 ($3.99 for high definition) for library titles and $3.99 ($4.99 for high definition) for new releases.

“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,” says 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.”

Once a movie is rented at the iTunes Store, it starts downloading directly to iTunes or Apple TV. Users with a fast Internet connection can start viewing the movie in seconds, Apple says. Customers have up to 30 days to start watching it, and once a movie has been started, customers have 24 hours to view it.

The all-new Apple TV software allows movie fans to rent and watch movies right from their widescreen TVs, with no computer required. Users also can view photos from their computers, Flickr and .Mac Web Galleries as slideshows or screen savers on their TVs. Introduced last year, Apple TV is a wireless network device that allows content stored on computers to be viewed on television sets.

Apple TV users also can browse the iTunes Store podcast directory of over 125,000 video and audio podcasts, view videos from YouTube, or choose from a selection of six million songs, more than 600 TV shows and 10,000 music videos to purchase directly from their Apple TV.

Apple TV software will be available as a free automatic download later this month. Apple TV is available from the Apple.com Apple retail stores and Apple authorized resellers for a suggested retail price of $229 or $329, depending on the model.

Movie studios offering rental through iTunes include 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Lionsgate and New Line Cinema.

Apple is No. 15 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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