Revenge of Apple TV – coming January 15th to a living room near you?

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes that iTunes Store movie rentals could happen as soon as January’s Macworld Conference and Expo.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is scheduled to deliver his Macworld Conference and Expo keynote presentation in San Francisco on Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 9:00-10:30am PT.

Don Reisinger blogs for CNET, “Munster also believes the Apple TV will play a key role in the launch. ‘If Apple begins renting movie downloads on iTunes, we expect a related software update to the Apple TV enabling movie rentals direct to the Apple TV. In fact, the Apple TV software currently includes ‘iTunes Store settings’ in its settings menu, but the option is essentially inactive,’ he wrote. ‘We expect this setting to be activated soon; users will likely be able to log into their iTunes accounts directly from the Apple TV and browse movie rentals, then download them directly to their Apple TV.'”

Reisinger reports, “Munster explained, ‘We have been expecting iTunes movie rentals for nearly one year, but due to pricing disagreements and DRM-related issues, the studios and Apple have not yet come to an agreement.'”

“And therein lies the rub,” Reisinger writes. “Once again, we’re at the mercy of a group of movie studios who have no idea what we want or how to bring it to us. Why should we not be given the service we want because some idiot at MGM is deathly afraid of his precious B-movies getting pirated? Got news for you, friend: it’s already happening, and adding more DRM won’t work.”

“While Steve Jobs called the device a ‘hobby,’ and most are speculating that it’s an 18-month trial product to see if there’s any interest from consumers, iTunes movie rentals could have a profound impact on Apple TV sales, if integrated with the device properly,” Reisinger writes.

Full article here.

40 Comments

  1. I want an AppleTV box, but have been holding off until two things were fixed: The ability to directly download content from the iTMS and the availability of HD-equivalent movies and TV. If Apple could address those two issues, I think AppleTV would really take off.

    One other nice-to-have enhancement would be the ability to use an AppleTV box as a hub, like an Airport Express.

  2. “… and most are speculating that it’s an 18-month trial product…”

    That’s a leap. Who has speculated that? And besides, what is speculation but someone’s guess. The industry is strewn with the bodies of pundits trying to outguess Steve Jobs.

  3. I’m waiting on movie rentals. As soon as they allow me to rent HD movies from iTunes, I’m buying one.

    Comcast’s HD OnDemand is great – provided they have a movie you actually want to watch. I’d much rather rent from iTunes than haul it to Blockbuster. I’d much prefer to rent via iTunes – even if it’s not instantaneous – than watch some crappy direct-to-tv Comcast HD movie too.

    It’s a complete ballbuster that the movie people haven’t figured out that downloadable movies is where it’s at.

    C’mon people!

  4. If HD movie rentals become available from iTunes then this could essentially end the Blu Ray and HD DVD war. There would essentially be no need for either. Microsoft and Sony would hate that. I bet the studios signed on for HD DVD and Sony Pictures would not make their movies available for rent, or if they did they wouldn’t be HD. Then we’d end up with 3 formats and the consumer would end up being confused and frustrated and would stick with their good ole DVDs until the stupid content providers get their acts together.

  5. What was the length of time from when the iTunes software application was released until the iPod?

    What was the length of time from the iPod until the iTunes Music Store?

    I gotta be honest here – the sitcom length attention span of the world these days is pathetic. Watch the blocks being methodically assembled!

    Jobs attacks markets in a state of flux where there is no dominant player and those remaining are financially weak compared to Apple.

    The only consumer service hated more than cellular is cable, and that industry is leveraged to the hilt.

    $190 a share is gonna seem cheap. And there is nobody who can stop them. Nobody.

  6. I agree that DVD players eventually go away. If my cable company can rent me movies on-line no reason not to expect it from Itunes. I have not gotten an ATV simply because I am waiting for the next release. I don’t want to be the last guy to get the old model

  7. I dont personally see DRM as the problem, the problem is not giving individual users enough usage rights. iTunes music’s DRm has never been a problem for me personally because the rights are so liberal. Lock it to the device, so what, especially if it’s a rental, but at least allow us to watch it when we are ready and as many times as we want before returning it.

    If it becomes a Netflix style service, with the same terms, then im all for it, provided it’s in HD.

  8. Love my AppleTV! I’ve ripped about 130 of my Movies (Handbrake!), that’s right, I own the DVD’s. I have all of my HD content from my Sony HDV Camcorder, edited in Final Cut Express, my 40GB of music, my 60GB of Photo’s, and All of my favorite Podcasts (many in HD!) available from my living room chair. They look amazing on my 50″ Plasma and they stream flawlessy (24″ Aluminum iMac\Apple Extreme Router (802.11n)\500GB WD External USB2 HD). This is a great product that works exactly as advertised and will really go over the top when rentals become available! Can’t Wait!!!

  9. The Macmini and Apple TV are gonna merge and add HD and Tivo…not only are you gonna have movies, etc…you also are gonna have your computer in your living room…the only major issue is zoomable iSight for videoconferencing. Soon all of Apple is going to be from the comfort of your couch.

  10. “And there is nobody who can stop them. Nobody.”

    I the movie studios don’t license that could be an issue and if internet providers are able to start charging tiered rates for higher bandwidth usage that could be an issue as well.

    Otherwise I think you are right.

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