Presenting at the Macworld Expo on Tuesday, Apple unveiled an all new version of its Apple TV software that allows movie fans to rent movies on the iTunes Store directly from their widescreen TV, and also lowered the price of Apple TV hardware to just $229.
DVD-quality iTunes Movie Rentals are $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99. Apple will provide the new Apple TV software free of charge to existing Apple TV owners when it releases the new Apple TV priced at $229 in about two weeks, the company said.
"With the new Apple TV and iTunes Movie Rentals, movie lovers can rent DVD-quality or stunning HD movies from their couch with just a click of a button," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. "No more driving to the video store or waiting for DVDs to arrive in the mail."
Once a movie is rented, it starts downloading from the iTunes Store directly to Apple TV, and users with a fast Internet connection can start viewing the movie in seconds. Customers have up to 30 days to start watching it, and once a movie has been started customers have 24 hours to finish it — or watch it multiple times.
With Apple TV, users can also view photos from their computers, Flickr and .Mac Web Galleries on their widescreen TV as slideshows or screen savers, and anytime photos are updated on Flickr or .Mac, they are automatically updated on Apple TV.
Apple TV users can now also browse and enjoy the iTunes Store podcast directory of over 125,000 video and audio podcasts, view over 50 million originally created videos from YouTube or choose from a selection of six million songs, over 600 TV shows and 10,000 music videos to purchase directly from their Apple TV. Purchases downloaded to Apple TV are automatically synced back to iTunes on the user's computer for playback on their computer, all current generation iPods or the iPhone.
Apple TV easily connects to a broad range of widescreen TVs and home theater systems and comes standard with HDMI, component video, analog and optical audio ports. Using high-speed AirPort 802.11 wireless networking, Apple TV now automatically plays all of your iTunes content without setup or management.
Pricing & Availability
The new Apple TV software will be available as a free automatic download to all Apple TV customers later this month. Apple TV, which includes the Apple Remote, is available from the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $229 (US) for the 40GB model and $329 (US) for the 160GB model (US and Canada). Apple TV requires an 802.11g/n wireless network or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking, a broadband Internet connection and a high definition widescreen TV. iPod games will not play on Apple TV. iTunes Movie Rentals are available in the US only.