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Apple UK set to flick the switch on iTunes movie downloads

It's been quite some time coming, but Apple Inc. later this month will finally extend iTunes movie and TV show downloads to iTunes customers in the United Kingdom.

Citing "trusted sources within the company," ArsTechnica reports that UK residents will have to wait just a couple more weeks before their local iTunes store begins serving up feature films and television shows. The backend technology and media catalogs are said to be in place, and all that's required to get the ball rolling from here on out is a simple 'flick of the switch.'

iTunes customers in the UK have been waiting patiently for the proliferation of digital video downloads to make its way overseas. Apple's customers in the United States have been privy to TV show downloads since October of 2005 and feature films since last September.

While licensing issues are believed to have delayed the rollout thus far, Apple Europe boss Pascal Cagni in April went on record in saying that Europeans would gain access to movie downloads through local versions of the iTunes Store by the end of the year.

As Ars notes in its report, the verdict is still out on when other European countries will be given access to Apple's vast catalog of commercial video content. Similarly, details are scarce on specifically which shows and movies will initially be made available in the UK.

During a question and answer session with members of the media on Tuesday, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs hinted that his firm would "have some news" related the company's video-centric Apple TV digital media hub in the new future, but that a Mac event was not the place to make such revelations.

Apple's U.S.-based iTunes service is presently the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store featuring a catalog of over five million songs, 550 television shows and 500 movies.