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Apple launches iTunes movie rental, Digital Copy services

Apple has launched an upgraded iTunes Movie Rentals, a service that lets users rent movies and watch them on their computer, iPod, iPhone and Apple TV. The Apple TV 2 version delivers DVD-quality video.

By the end of February, iTunes Movie Rentals will offer 1,000 titles from movie studios such as 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.

Over one hundred of these titles will be in high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. These titles can be rented directly from a TV using Apple TV 2 version. iTunes movie rentals are priced at $2.99 for catalogue titles and $3.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are one dollar more with catalogue titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99. The HD movies are encoded in 720 progressive (720p).

Titles will be on offer on iTunes 30 days after the DVD release. Once downloaded, a film is available to watch for 30 days. Once a movie has been started, customers have a 24-hour window to watch it.

In separate developments, 20th Century Fox and Apple have unveiled iTunes Digital Copy, a service that provides customers who purchase a DVD with a free iTunes Digital Copy of the movie.

Just like movies purchased from the iTunes Store, an iTunes Digital Copy can be transferred to iTunes and then viewed on a PC or Mac, iPod with video, iPhone or on Apple TV.

Once a customer buys the DVD, they insert it into their computer, enter a unique code into iTunes and iTunes automatically copies the movie to their iTunes library. Customers own the iTunes Digital Copy of the movie and it has all of the same viewing options as other iTunes Store video content. Each DVD will only transfer its iTunes Digital Copy to one iTunes library.

The first DVD to make its debut with iTunes Digital Copy is the DVD premiere of the Family Guy Star Wars spoof, Blue Harvest. Fox and Apple are planning to deliver more DVDs with iTunes Digital Copy this year. (Source:

Story filed 16.01.08

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