Feeds

Apple looks to movie rentals to revive Apple TV box

Price cut, new system software coming

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Things are looking up in Flappy Bird sequel
'Swing Copters' offers the same gameplay but in a different direction
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.