June 11, 2007
Apple TV Movie Rentals
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And the other shoe drops... if the rumors are true, that is. Since the Apple TV was rumored, I figured that it was useless just as-is--after all, you can string an RCA cable from your computer to your TV and get the same effect. I had trouble believing that people would pay $300 or $400 for what you could accomplish with a $20 converter and a $10 cable.
However, in a discussion with my family, the idea of movie rentals came up, and suddenly the Apple TV made sense. Without the ability to either record TV like a TiVo or rent movies, the Apple TV just wouldn't be worth it. But as a DRM box to hold movies and videos, the Apple TV could be enough of a nod to piracy-nervous studios but DRM-transparent enough so that consumers won't mind.
And now it looks like that early guess was spot-on: Apple is reportedly in talks with the studios about securing their movie content for rental purposes. The reported deal would allow for a 30-day rental for $2.99, and would allow the movie to be viewed on an iPod or iPhone as well as your computer and TV. That sounds pretty good to me; though I never considered buying an Apple TV before, this could tip the balance for me.
It might even have a bonus feature for me if it works the same way as the iTunes music store: I live in Japan, but can use the U.S. music store if my credit card delivers to a U.S. address. If the same is true with the movie rental service, then I could see movies in Japan sometimes even before they get to movie theaters here. That would be nice for me, better if the films had the option of subtitles for Sachi (she does well even with English subs).
This is the killer app that Apple needs to get their media box off the ground. The timing of the rumor's release is a bit suspicious--it could be something that Jobs will uncover tomorrow at the WWDC... or not.
In the meantime, there is a German site claiming to have a complete outline of tomorrow's keynote (English translation here). Having read it, I am pretty sure that it's a fake. It is essentially a rehash of all the rumors that have been flying around for several months now, with a few extra products that make little sense. In any case, the real keynote begins in about 12 hours, so we'll know soon enough.
Posted by: Sean P. Aune at June 12, 2007 02:36 AM