Apple launches iTunes Movie Rentals service | iLounge News


Apple launches iTunes Movie Rentals service

Apple today launched its new iTunes Movie Rentals service, which will offer films in both DVD and HD quality which can be transferred between, and played on, Mac and PC computers, the Apple TV, all video-enabled iPods and the iPhone. The service features films from all six major studios, including 20th Century Fox, Universal, Sony Pictures, Disney, Warner Bros., and Paramount. Rentals will cost $2.99 for library releases and $3.99 for new releases in DVD quality; HD versions of the films will run $3.99 and $4.99, respectively. The films will be available for viewing for 30 days, and will remain active for 24 hours once the user has begun watching the film. In addition, HD versions of films will offer 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound; however, HD movie rentals can only be purchased and viewed on the Apple TV. “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.” Apple has said that it hopes to offer 1000 films by February, and plans to launch the service internationally later this year. iTunes Movie Rentals require iTunes 7.6, which is a free update for all iTunes users, and is available now from

Related Stories



Launched today? Umm, where?

Posted by jordan on January 15, 2008 at 3:10 PM (CST)


“The iTunes update server could not be contacted. Please check your Internet connection, or try again later.”

Posted by Tommy on January 15, 2008 at 3:25 PM (CST)


I have been able to update iTunes, just no options to rent movies yet.

Posted by jordan on January 15, 2008 at 3:28 PM (CST)


Same here. Upgraded my iTunes, but no sign of the word ‘rent’ anywhere.

Posted by Chris on January 15, 2008 at 3:33 PM (CST)


Does anyone know if this will work with the video ipods? Steve’s comments today were that it will work with “all currently shipping ipods”

Posted by mark on January 15, 2008 at 4:44 PM (CST)


Mark, there’s a footnote on the press release that specifies iPod classic, video iPod nano, iPod touch, and iPhone.  So no 5th gen iPods.

Can’t wait to get the full scoop on this from iLounge.  I’m already confused by the hidden stuff, like the above question from Mark.

Also, it looks like DVD-quality and HD-quality movies can only be rented using Apple TV.  It appears that renting using iTunes, will only give you the 640 x 420 versions.

And if you transfer the rental from iTunes to a portable device, it deletes it from your hard drive.  It doesn’t specify if you can transfer it back to your computer.

I really hope that this new service won’t be crippled by the studios’ hackneyed, backwards-thinking DRM.

Posted by alexarch on January 15, 2008 at 4:54 PM (CST)


I like this in theory, but in practice, the 24-hour viewing window will be a major turn-off for me. As a parent of a young child, I find we often split a movie over two nights, which would be difficult/impossible to do with a 24-hour window. Even a 28/36 hour window would work for me, but preferably 48-72…

Posted by booyah on January 15, 2008 at 5:03 PM (CST)


Yeah.  It looks like Apple got jerked around with this deal.  $2.99 is what I pay at Blockbuster for a heck of a lot more selection and at least a two-night rental.

Posted by alexarch on January 15, 2008 at 5:12 PM (CST)


What do they mean by DVD quality?  Is this the 640x480 they currently have which is really sub-DVD quality?  And what about HD quality?  I’m sure it’s not 1080p, probably 720p.

I guess I’d be more excited about this if the rental prices and terms were better.  $4 SD, $5 HD for 24-hour rental are exactly the terms I already have for VOD from my cable company, which doesn’t require me to buy a $229 box plus either a wireless router or run an ethernet cable from my modem to my living room.

I might try it out to rent a movie for my iPhone for my next plane trip though.  That’s one thing my cable company can’t do for me and $4 might be worth not having to spend the time ripping a DVD.

Posted by dodo on January 15, 2008 at 5:33 PM (CST)


Netflix, Redbox, ect. are still a much better deal. With Redbox I’ll rent a movie and watch it over 2 to 3 nights. Rebox only charges a dollar a night. The itunes rentals are just not a good enough deal.

Posted by scott on January 15, 2008 at 5:34 PM (CST)


I’m also disappointed that Apple TV didn’t get a capacity bump.  It would have been awesome if it got the capacity options of Time Capsule: 500 GB or 1 TB.  I have 130 GB just in music plus maybe 30 GB and growing in home movies plus many GB of converted DVDs, so 160 GB isn’t enough to fit it all on an Apple TV.  I’d want at least 250 GB, and preferably more to leave some growing room.

Posted by dodo on January 15, 2008 at 5:37 PM (CST)


The 24-hour window to watch, which XBox Live Marketplace also uses, is too stingy. Basically, what XLM and now iTunes says to the consumer is, “By God, don’t hit play until you’re ready to watch it all the way through.” Frankly, it’s not always possible to relax and finish a movie in one sitting. I appreciate the fact they offer 30 days as opposed to XLM’s 14-days-to-play content, though.

This could work but they need to make sure New Releases drop to Library price quickly. I hope they will offer some price breaks on older films.

This kind of thing is a windfall for the content provider. Brick-and-mortar stores and Netflix still require custody and care of physical discs.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on January 15, 2008 at 5:52 PM (CST)


The only way the price will drop is if price keeps people from using the service. I doubt prices will be lowered any time soon.

Posted by Androgynous Cowherd on January 15, 2008 at 6:31 PM (CST)


Is this working yet?

Posted by aj on January 15, 2008 at 8:36 PM (CST)


I see the “Top rentals” sidebar in iTunes…so what’s the deal?

Posted by Chris on January 15, 2008 at 10:14 PM (CST)


Not being able to watch HD rentals on a Mac is probably due to it not having an HDMI output.  The same reason that only the current generation of IPods i supported is that they support Apple’s new AV cables which have authentication chips in them.  It’s the studios that makes these demands because they fear piracy.

Posted by Galley on January 15, 2008 at 11:15 PM (CST)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy