With CEO Steve Jobs describing Apple’s set-top-box, AppleTV, as a DVD player for the Internet age, it should come as no surprise that movie rentals could soon find their way onto iTunes, putting the company’s video download service in direct competition with other online movie rental services including Netflix, Movielink, Microsoft’s Xbox Live, and Amazon’s Unbox — along with a plethora of cable and satellite Video-On-Demand offerings.
The Financial Times has some details on the service.
A film would cost $2.99 for a 30-day rental. Its digital rights-management software would allow films to be moved from a computer to at least one other device such as the video iPod or iPhone. The software would prevent movies being copied.
However, it’s not clear which of the big studios are yet on-board as Apple continues to aggressively pitch the service. “Paramount Pictures currently in favor and… Universal Studios currently opposed”, reports the Wall Street Journal.
It may be that download rentals will be an easier sell to the major studios compared with Apple’s download-to-own service, where Hollywood fears that traditional DVD sales will be impacted in return for less profit. Disney (where Jobs is the biggest shareholder) is the only major to have signed up to iTunes’ download-to-own movie service.
A rental download service may also be more popular with consumers, as unlike music, most people don’t want to own a movie so they can watch over and over.