Apple introduces new Apple TV software, lowers price to $229; rent HD movies directly from your TV

Apple StoreApple today unveiled all new software for Apple TV that allows movie fans to rent movies on the iTunes Store directly from their widescreen TV, and lowered the price of Apple TV to just $229. With iTunes Movie Rentals and Apple TV, users can just click a button on their remote to effortlessly rent movies from a catalog of over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in stunning high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, with no computer required. 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.

“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 Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in the press release. “No more driving to the video store or waiting for DVDs to arrive in the mail.”

iTunes Movie Rentals feature iTunes’ legendary ease of use, which makes discovering and enjoying movie rentals as simple and easy as buying music on iTunes. 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 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 enjoyment on their computer, all current generation iPods or 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.

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 US$229 for the 40GB model and $329 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(R) games will not play on Apple TV. iTunes Movie Rentals are available in the US only.

27 Comments

  1. Awesome! To the pundits and analysts who made their snarky comments about Apple TV being a failure — iFail and such — your crow is served. Steve made the case by “admitting” that Apple had not understood the market, but has now corrected that. SJ had the morons in the media and the Wall Street bozos all ready to hear about the new hardware. Bzzzzzt, schmuckos, it’s software.

    Behold the power of OS X. The required capabilities were always a software update away. I wonder how many of the negative jackasses will now learn the lesson of the devastating advantage OS X gives Apple over its competitors. Not many, I’ll bet. Stupidity has no cure.

  2. too expensive

    $5.00 for a HD rental? for $16.00 I get as many as I can watch in a month from NetFlix.

    Yes, it may take a day or two to arrive, so iTunes has that going for it, but still…. it seems expensive.

  3. Way to expensive. Im sure the studios demanded the premium prices for HD and new releases. I bet they come down soon when very few rent 5 dollar movies. Apple needs a subscription plan. Netflix can rest easy for now.

  4. I agree-mass acceptance is going to hinge on price and right now and in the foreseeable future you get much more for your money with Netflix. I am hopeful that the price decreases and the selection increases dramatically!

  5. Agreed. Too expensive, and too short a time period in which to finish watching.

    Between the video rental place, supermarket, and library near me, SD DVDs are between free and $4 to rent. The free to $1 options are only for a day, but you get at least a week from Hollywood Video. Same deal with their HD rentals, granted it appears that iTunes has, or will have a larger selection.

    And what’s with the 30 days after DVD release? That just blows.

  6. You can compare to Netflix, but it is not the same game. iTunes delivers movies in 30 seconds, not days. iTunes allows portability; view on TV, iPod, iPhone. That’s BIG.

    The 24 play is fair and is the going rate. Most cable VOD limits to 24 HR.

  7. 24 hours is just fine. People most likely to use this service will be using it like this:
    – They sit on their couch, thinking what they’d do tonight
    – “Hey, let’s watch that movie XYZ!”
    – Instant downloading
    – Instant viewing

    24 hours is quite enough for that. If you’re a movie buff, you’ll buy your movies on a HD disk. Joe Sixpacks use AppleTV.

  8. 30 seconds folks. That’s all it takes to get DVD on demand. No monthly subscription fees. Sometimes I watch many movies and some months I don’t. No scratched discs. No snail mail. 24 hours is plenty time to finish watch a movie once I start watching it.

    So if you want to keep paying netflix, good for you. But don’t say Aple TV is not totally sweet. And now also HD rentals. And movies are just a fraction of what it can do. Apple is not asleep at the wheel unlike some of these other companies.

    Its worth every penny.

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