Apple announces iTV and iTunes movie service

By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: Apple has today unveiled the latest incarnation of its online music and video store, iTunes 7, which will see users able to download full-length movies as well as TV shows and music, while also announcing the new iTV set-top box.

iTunes 7 will offer over 75 movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films, available at $US12.99 for pre-ordered new releases, $US14.99 standard new releases and $US9.99 for back catalogue titles.

“Here we go again. First music, then TV shows, and now movies,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

“In less than one year we’ve grown from offering just five TV shows to offering over 220 TV shows, and we hope to do the same with movies. iTunes is selling over one million videos a week, and we hope to match this with movies in less than a year.”

The new iTunes movie service will serve as a precursor to the release of Apple’s new iTV player, which will, according to Apple, complete the entertainment picture.

The iTV set-top box (RRP $US299) will stream high definition audio and video from a users iPod or PC via USB 2.0 connectivity with both wired and wireless ethernet. It will also feature HDMI, component RCA video and optical digital audio outputs, and will be available early next year.

“Now I can download content from iTunes, enjoy it on my computer, my iPod and my big-screen television in my living room,” said Jobs.

While there has been no set international release date for the iTunes movie service, Jobs has announced that international roll out is expected in 2008.

The iTunes movie service will initially feature titles such as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Shakespeare in Love, The Princess Diaries, National Treasure, Toy Story, The Rock, The Rookie and The Incredibles

All videos purchased from iTunes 7 will download in near-DVD quality at a resolution of 640×480, which is four times higher than previously available.

“Steve Jobs and Apple have consistently demonstrated that they have their finger on the pulse of today’s audience with regard to legal downloads of music and television shows, and our presence on iTunes will now allow us to deliver Disney’s films in this popular and convenient format,” said Walt Disney Studios chairman, Dick Cook.

“Not only are we proud to be expanding our association with Apple, but we feel that this new venture meets a growing demand for movie viewing that will ultimately expand the market for our films.”

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