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iTunes to offer movie downloads on day of disc release

Apple brings almost all major studios on board

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Apple will today announce that almost all of the major movie publishers will begin offering new titles as iTunes downloads on the day the films are released on disc.

So claims US Home Media Magazine citing unnamed sources.

Apple has been selling movie downloads for some time, but it's yet to gain widespread studio support. Back in January, it said it had, however, persuaded all the majors to offer their content on a rental basis.

If HMM's moles are correct, that presumably provided the Mac maker with the opportunity to revitalise its efforts to persuade studios not delivering downloads through iTunes to begin doing so.

According to the magazine, Universal, Fox, Paramount, Warner, Sony, Lionsgate and others will today say they will allow iTunes to sell new movies for $15 on the day those films are released on DVD. They will also begin offering back-catalogue movie downloads for $10 a pop.

Disney already offers iTunes movie downloads from the day of the DVD release.

The list of studios isn't complete, but Apple now has the backing of the studios offering the vast majority of movie releases.

It's not clear whether any or all of these will also be offered in HD. Current movie downloads are standard definition, but since Apple is offering HD rentals - 720p versions, at any rate - it's surely only a matter of time before downloads go that way too, especially since it'll be hoping Apple TV owners will use their HDTV-connected boxes to buy films.

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