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Apple, Fox sign iTunes rental deal?

updated 11:05 pm EST, Wed December 26, 2007

Apple, Fox iTunes rentals

Apple has reportedly signed 20th Century Fox to a new rental service that it is starting, allowing users to rent new releases by the studio, providing a download that expires after a given amount of time. According to The Financial Times, Fox studios will be the first of many to provide media for this rental service, and will also be the first to use Apple's own FairPlay protection service outside of its own products, such as iTunes and the iPod. In addition to offering the rentals, Fox will be including a FairPlay-encoded version of the film with each of its physical DVD products, effectively allowing users to rip an iPod-quality version of the film that can not be distributed on the internet.

In addition to a probable increase in iTunes subscriptions, Apple also stands to gain additional sales of its video-capable iPod nano, Classic, and Touch media players.

While this is not the only online video rental service that exists, iTunes' broad range of appeal will certainly give weight to the deal, which will most likely result in more studios signing up to offer the same type of content. "Fox and potentially other ­studios are coming around to the idea that there is nobody out there to challenge iTunes," said Jonathan Weitz, a principal with IBB Consulting. "This deal is a sign that media mobility is coming to the mainstream."

Walt Disney is so far the only company selling new releases through the iTunes store, with Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Lionsgate selling many of their older titles.

The deal will supposedly be announced in an official manner at the Macworld Expo on January 14th, and looks to shake the foundations of current media distribution techniques. Apple is understood to be in talks with Sony, Paramount, and Warner Brothers about similar deals, but none of the parties involved could comment on the situation.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Peter753

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is really exciting

    It'll be nice to finally see a reasonable amount of content on iTunes. Way to go Apple; With enough patience and manipulation I'm sure you will contractually entitle yourself to a larger and larger piece of the movie industry's pie.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    me too!

    Entitlement.. well, that's a bit far, but they'll have EARNED that slice. No one else has worked so hard to get an enjoyable, useful, and reasonably priced media model out there. I'm not going to cite details because no one really cares. We're all just happy to be able to rent via the internet.

    Now the question is, do we get hi-def, mid-def, or low def? Currently, iTMS gives the basic DVD resolution of a film (usually a tad smaller when you compare to Handbrake rips). Will we get that, or an additional ipod/iphone-sized version to take the video with us? Or, will those with Apple TVs finally be able to put those pixels to use with a hi-def rental version? Each has its own problems when working with full-downloads, esp. for those with slower connections.

    My preference would be to get the hi and low-def versions together in one pacakge because what's a couple hundred more megs once you've set your DL for the gigs a hi-def movie will cover. Perhaps we'll see a amazingly simple portable, pauseable streaming service for wifi-equipped idevices, but, correct me if i'm wrong, there's no way you could have streaming for hi-def set up, even with the awesome compression ability.

    Rental is one area people would probably shrug off some of the banes of compressed media, since it's only a passing interest. But then again, those who have the appleTVs and have invested in the fancy hardware would prolly want their theatre to look and feel like a theater.

    I'd really love to see some more details, MacNN. You're so good at waxing poetic over every little tidbit of info, so I expect to see some soon.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969



    DVD quality is good enough for me, downloading 5+ GB to rent one movie sounds crazy. It will take forever and ruin the experience, rental has to be almost instant. The movie trailers now look very good and start playing almost instantly, perfect.

    Now update it into iTV (and a european subtitled service) and i'll buy (sry rent) for sure.

  1. stovelkor

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I want to own my music because I listen to the bands I like over and over. I don't want to own movies because I never come close to watching them as much as I listen to an album, so the notion of renting movies from iTunes appeals to me very much. I hope the other studios will jump on board. I presently DL movie torrents, but if I can easily rent one from the iTunes store and take it with me on my Touch when I fly or take a long train ride, I'd gladly pay.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You all are missing the bigger points.

    a) apple may finally allow someone to make Fairplay content (although it would be more impressive if they allowed a player to play fairplay content

    b) How do they plan on keeping people from just ripping the DVD they have, rather than using the limited and restricted fairplay version on the disc? Or is it just another one of those lame attempts at DRM like they tried with CDs a year and two ago?

  1. Toyin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hidef is downloadable

    Watching Hi-Def movies works great on X-Box 360. After purchasing a rental, it starts downloading it. The entire movie doesn't need to be downloading it, you can start watching movie from beginning to end after about 10 minutes.

  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If pricing is set at a low enough price point, it'll almost be worth just downloading to watch instead of the rip/compress/wait that you have to go through to get a movie ripped from a DVD.

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