Renting movies from Apple’s iTunes Store

We’ve received many questions about Apple’s new iTunes Movie Rentals, so here’s the deal in a nutshell. Apple’s U.S. iTunes Store now offers movies you can rent. You can play rented movies in iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC, on your iPod or iPhone, or using Apple TV (once the new Apple TV software arrives. It will be available as a free automatic download to all Apple TV customers later this month).

Users with broadband connections will be able to begin watching rentals within 30 seconds of initiating the rental download. Standard definition DVD-quality iTunes Movie Rentals are priced at US$2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases.

According to Apple’s iTunes 7.6 Help page “Renting Movies from the iTunes Store,” Standard definition DVD-quality movies downloaded via iTunes on a Mac or PC can be transferred to an iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV. Either device remembers where you stopped watching on your computer and picks up right where you left off. After the movie downloads to your computer, to transfer the rental to an iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV, connect the device, select it in iTunes, click the Movies tab, select the movie, and then click Move. After you transfer a rental, it is removed from your iTunes library.

To rent movies from the iTunes Store:
1. In iTunes, click iTunes Store.
2. Select the movie you wish to rent.
3. Click Rent Movie.

Movies downloaded directly via Apple TV are only playable on Apple TV. If you plan to watch a rented movie using Apple TV, you’ll get the best-quality video by renting it via Apple TV. High Definition (720p) movies with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound will be downloadable later this month only via Apple TV and will cost $3.99 for library titles and $4.99 for new releases. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound is not available with all HD rentals. Standard definition DVD-quality iTunes Movie Rentals will also be available for Apple TV and will be priced at US$2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases.

Use the included Apple TV remote to browse rentals by Top Movies, Genres, and All HD. Or search for what you want to watch. Apple TV displays a movie poster for every rental. When you find a movie you like, click it to view a detail screen with a plot summary and a list of cast and crew. Choose your rental by quality and/or price and sit back and enjoy.

A rented movie expires 30 days after you rent it or 24 hours after you begin playing it, whichever comes first. Movie rentals disappear when they expire, so they won’t take up storage space.


  1. This is not what I have read ,

    “Now, users can rent and buy movies, as well as buy music, music videos, and TV programs directly from the iTunes Store using the simple remote control. While music and video purchases can be synced back to a desktop iTunes library, just like the new WiFi Store on the iPod Touch and iPhone, video rentals ordered on Apple TV can’t.

    You can rent movies directly from iTunes for playback on iPods, but those can’t be synced to the Apple TV. Therefore, you have to choose whether a rental you order is something you want to watch on TV or anywhere else, before you actually rent it. Given that rentals are $3.99 and $4.99, that decision isn’t as deeply ponderous as it might initially seem to be.”

    Before I read this, I rented a movie via iTunes, and can not get it to AppleTV, and if I have read this correctly, I will not be able to,

  2. The way I read it, and many others on Apple forumns, you have to decide if you want it on hand helds (iPhone iPod) or computer, you down load thru iTunes, if you want it on AppleTV buy from there.

    I purchased a rental thru iTunes, and can not get it to AppleTV, and no one else has either

  3. While watching periods of greater than 24 hrs would be great, I’m sure that the studios balked because of existing VOD services that function this way today. The only advantage over existing VOD is legal portability of video content.

  4. I just found out today that my 9 month old iPod 5th Generation 80GB (with video) CANNOT PLAY ANY RENTALS. Apple confirmed this in an email. They told me to upgrade to a Classic at the least to play rentals.

  5. cepin I rent movies on my cable video system as a ppv and I record it to my dvr. It stays there for as long as I want and we have watched it over and over and over and over. Yeah well you know kids they can watch a movie like cars or toy story ad infinitum. I have literally kept a movie on my dvr for 6 months or more. No 48, or 24 hours etc.

    I hate the time length. I would like to see the rental as 30 days, period. Then I can watch it as often as I like, at my leisure and I am not depriving the users at the itunes store of my copy.

    The big boys just don’t get it, there are too worried about collecting duckets and not pleasing the consumer.

  6. What if you just reset your computer’s clock? I do it with my VMWare Windows virtual machine all the time and it isn’t smart enough to notice. There has got to be some way to fool a Mac or an iPod into thinking that the 24-hour window is still open.

  7. Gee.

    Movie rentals.

    Never heard of such an innovative thing before. My god, think of the possibilities!

    This is going to revolutionize living! Humankind is on the verge of an evolutionary leap — the likes of which has never been witnessed during the age of the earth!

    OH! MY! GOD!


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