Apple is currently in talks with Hollywood studios, including Universal and Paramount, for a movie rental deal delivered via its iTunes store.
This proposed rental service is said to cost US$2.99 for a 30-day rental, after which the stored movie would expire and no longer be available for viewing.
Apple presently has movies for purchase and download from its iTunes store, at US$14.99 each for new releases and US$9.99 for library titles.
The digital rental service is said to include an option, through digital rights management (DRM), to transfer at least one copy to another media device such as the video iPod but the movies would be protected against multiple copying and distribution.
Apple already has distribution deals with Paramount and Walt Disney. Other companies in the film industry are reluctant to collaborate in digital downloads for fear of falling DVD sales.
Currently, Apple has no movie download option for Irish iTunes customers, except for Disney’s animated Pixar shorts.
Although US retail chain Walmart already has its own digital movie download service, the mainstream method for accessing movies online is still ordering physical DVDS through a website like Netflix.com.
By Marie Boran