Practical Technology

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Apple TV Rentals Get Better


When Apple first talked about movie rentals, one of the downers about it was that movies would be released 30-days after they appeared in DVDs. Well, maybe some studios are holding out on Apple TV and video iPod customers, but many are letting Apple sell and/or rent movies at the same time as they appear as DVDs.

For example, one of my personal favorite movies from last year, the legal thriller Michael Clayton, is now not only available as a DVD, but from the iTunes Store as a rental in both SD (standard definition) and 720p HD (high definition). Other movies are also being released via iTunes in sync with their DVD releases. For example, the comedy No Reservations and the indy western, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, both came out on iTunes either on the same day or within a few days of their DVD release.

Since I would much rather rent movies on my Apple TV than wait on Netflix or—please no—go to a Blockbuster, I’m very pleased to see this development. This, this is how movies should be rented, right from my couch.

I’m also pleased to report that Apple is now re-releasing one movie a week, on Thursday, that will be available for rent for 99-cents for the usual 30-days to keep, 24-hours to watch. It appears that these 99-cent specials will be released at that price on Thursday and then remain available for that price until the following Monday.

The first such film out will be The Hours. This was, I found, a fascinating movie on a novel by the same name about how Virginia Woolf’s great short novel “Mrs. Dalloway” affected the life of three women over the 20th century. It’s perhaps best known as the movie for which Nicole Kidman won her best leading actress Oscar.

At a guess, Apple will be releasing other movies like this one. By that, I mean I expect to see the other 99-cent weekly rental specials to be well-reviewed, good films but not blockbusters. I, for one, will be happy to spend a buck a week on these kinds of movies.

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