Feeds

Apple looks to movie rentals to revive Apple TV box

Price cut, new system software coming

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Macworld Expo Apple is to re-launch its Apple TV set-top box as a movie rental system, offering HD content for $4.99 a pop as a direct download. The hardware's getting cheaper too.

Regular, DVD-quality programming will be on offer to, CEO Steve Jobs said, at a lower price: $3.99 for new titles, $2.99 for old ones.

Viewers will have just 24 hours to finish watching a rented movie once they've started watching it. But they'll have up to 30 days to press Play before the content vanishes from the Apple TV's hard drive.

The downloads will incorporate a Dolby 5.1-channel soundtrack, and they'll also be available to Mac and PC users through iTunes in the usual way, and with the same restrictions. Jobs claimed movies can be watched almost as soon as they've started downloading.

They'll also play on iPods and iPhones - hence the addition of chapter marks, subtitles and different-language soundtracks to those two devices.

Jobs said all the major studios, including Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, Newline, Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Sony and Warner, had agreed to provide rental content - a big improvement on the turn out for iTunes movie downloads, launched last year. Then a much smaller number of studios were willing to participate.

Still, Apple managed to sell 7m movies in the last 12 months, though Jobs admitted this figure was lower than Apple had been anticipating.

Apple TV will also gain the ability to show photos stored on Flickr and websites hosted by Apple's own .Mac service. It'll now display video podcasts as well as the audio variety.

Movie rentals will become available in the US later today. The rest of us will have to wait until later this year. Similarly, Apple TV owners will be able to buy music and movies directly too. Purchased tracks and videos can then be synched with an iTunes library, much as iPhone downloads are today.

The new Apple TV will cost $229 for the 160GB version, down from $299. Presumably the 40GB model's for the chop.

Jobs said the new Apple TV system software will be available in two weeks' time.

Related Reviews
Apple TV 160GB

Macworld Expo Stories
Apple NAS box ties in to Leopard's Time Machine
It was the MacBook Air sub-notebook
Apple looks to movie rentals to revive Apple TV box
Apple to charge $20 for iPod Touch update

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.