iTunes movie rentals coming at Macworld, 20th Century Fox 1st confirmed

Valleywag points us to the Financial Times who is outing Apple (try shutting them down!!) and 20th Century Fox’s love affair on the home movie front.  They are the first outted studio to offer movie rentals – most likely to be announced at Macworld.  Sony, Paramount, Warner Bros. and, of course, Disney are expected to be announced at the event but others including internationals should follow.

"Apple has signed News Corp’s 20th Century Fox studio to a new online video-on-demand service in a deal that could change the way people pay for online film content," Matthew Garrahan and Kevin Allison report for The Financial Times.
"The agreement will allow consumers to rent the latest Fox DVD releases by downloading a digital copy from Apple’s iTunes platform for a limited time, according to a person familiar with the situation," Garrahan and Allison report.

"The Apple-Fox deal, likely to be announced at the Macworld show on January 14, has the potential to transform film distribution. Apart from letting people rent online, Apple will also for the first time extend its FairPlay digital rights management system beyond its own products," Garrahan and Allison report. "A digital file protected by FairPlay will be included in new Fox DVD releases, enabling film content to be transferred or ‘ripped’ from the disc to a computer and video iPod."

"Apple, whose shares hit $200 for the first time yesterday in intra-day trade, is understood to have been in talks with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount and Warner Bros about making their new releases available on iTunes to buy and rent," Garrahan and Allison report."

These movies will be available for view on iTunes and through the network on the AppleTV.  This will hopefully be the killer App of the AppleTV which has been lackluster in performance as well as sales up until this point.   Most likely it was the studos who have been dragging their feet up until this point.

Also, according to

One interesting twist that will help, though: Besides the online rental deal, a digital file protected by Apple’s DRM scheme FairPlay will be included in new Fox DVD releases, enabling film content to ripped to a PC and video iPod. DVD content can already be moved to an iPod but this requires a bit of an effort.

To review:  Apple WILL announce movie rentals at Macworld.  Prices will start at about two bucks each.  Expect movies to be viewable for 24-72 hours but perhaps up to a week.  The data will still take a considerable time to download – up to a few hours o the slower broadbands.  But it is what it is. 

It is about time.



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