Apple releases Apple TV ‘Take 2’ software update

Apple today released all new software for Apple TV that allows movie fans to rent movies on the iTunes Store directly from their widescreen TV.

With iTunes Movie Rentals and Apple TV, users can just click a button on their remote to 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.

From our updated Apple TV, there are currently 75 HD movies available for download. AirTunes is now active for Apple TV! (Choose you Apple TV from the list and your iTunes output will play out of your Apple TV).

DVD-quality iTunes Movie Rentals are $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, and HD versions are just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99.

Apple’s new Apple TV software is free of charge to existing Apple TV owners. In addition all new Apple TV units (starting at US$229) ship with the new software.

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.

MacDailyNews Note: Please see related article: Apple allows for extending iTunes Movie rental period past 24-hours – January 24, 2008

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 any time 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.

Apple TV is compatible with enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080p/1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz.

Go get your new Apple TV software now: Apple TV > Settings > Software Update…

After a festival of progress bars, Apple logo flashes, and restarts, you will have a brand new Apple TV!

MacDailyNews Take: 800,000-1.2 million Apple TV units are suddenly ready to begin renting movies via iTunes. We expect Apple to rent a heck of a lot of movies starting now.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Mike in Helsinki” and “bbtylrv” for the heads up.]

46 Comments

  1. So I installed it and it’s very slick and all…

    But I must say that I really want to ditch my DirecTV, but unless Apple offers a “subscription” option, I just can’t do it.

    That and the restrictions are ridiculous. Once you “start watching it” you should be able to take all the time you want to finish! I wanted to watch the first bit of the Ghost and the Darkness, but alas I’m afraid to as I don’t think I can finish tonight…

    For $4.00, that restriction should NOT be there.

  2. @effwerd

    I initially used mine with an analog TV. I liked the results.

    It has a 640×480 setting and defaults to it. But, you do need component inputs.

    But, I am using it now with a Pioneer 6010FD 60″ Plasma. Big change!

  3. Maybe that’s why my Internet connection seems so slow today.

    I don’t even have an HD TV yet… I wish Apple would sell the HD rentals through iTunes on the computer. It’s probably part of the mega agreement with studios, but I can see Apple doing it as a choice to (1) increase sales of Apple TV and/or (2) intentionally reducing the potential hit on its download servers (from the much larger HD files) during the initial roll-out period of the rental service.

  4. @Turbine:

    If you can’t finish the movie, you can pause it and come back to it 2 days later and it will still play. The restrictions only apply after you’ve finished watching the movie. Ultimately, after 30 days, the movie will just not work at all.

  5. @turbine: I am not 100% sure but I think I heard or read that once you start the movie, you can pause it and finish it whenever you want. I don’t remember the specifics but if you go through the MDN archives back a couple of weeks, you might be able to fine what I am talking about. Hope that helps…

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