Apple is a company that makes consumer electronics, and its best-known products are Macintosh computers, iPods and iPhones. In addition, Apple operates an online business called the iTunes store and through it has become American's largest music retailer. Via download, the iTunes store sells not only music, but other digital media, including audiobooks, games, movies and television shows. You can also rent movies there. You pay for each rental separately, and prices are generally $2.99 to $3.99 per title.
To interface with the store you need special software known as iTunes, which is available as a free download on the Apple Website.
Unless you have some special equipment and/or connections, you'll have to watch movies and TV shows from the iTunes store on your computer screen, an iPod or an iPhone. However, there are ways of watching on your television screen, including via a set-top box called Apple TV.
Finding a Title
You can rent a movie from Apple on either a Mac or a PC. To begin, you can bring up the iTunes software and click on iTunes Store. Various kinds of digital media are offered, including a few movies. To see a wider selection, click on the word Movies in the list under the heading iTunes STORE. Eventually you have to navigate to a specific title, and there are several ways to accomplish this. If you're looking for something currently popular, you will in many cases see a link to it, which you can click. If you know what title you want, you can type it in the box at the upper right labeled Search iTunes Store. If you're not sure what you're after, the user interface is sufficiently intuitive that you should have no difficulty browsing around until you come across something that suits your fancy. For example, you can look at lists of titles by genre.
When you click on a specific title, a page comes up that describes the movie. That page has a button you can click which will allow you to watch the trailer free. When you're finally on the page for the specific title you want, click RENT MOVIE. You will then be led through a series of steps to pay the rental fee.
Downloading a Movie
After you complete the payment procedure, the movie will begin downloading. You don't have to wait for the download to finish before watching the movie. However, there is a delay between the time a download starts and the time you can begin watching. The length of this delay depends on the speed of your Internet connection. A message will appear when the download has progressed far enough for you to begin watching.
You can watch the downloaded movie as many times as you wish in a continuous 24-hour period within the next 30 days. The clock starts ticking on the 24 hours when you begin to play the movie. Rentals delete themselves when the time you have to watch them has expired.
The downloaded movie is stored on your computer, so you don't have to be connected to the Internet to watch it. Also, you can transfer it to your iPod or iPhone. If you watch part way through on your computer, then transfer to iPod or iPhone, the movie will pick up on the portable device where you left off on your computer.
For about $230 you can buy a set-top box called Apple TV that allows you to watch iTunes rentals on your television screen. Apple TV has its own menu system through which you can choose movies and download them directly to the set-top box. However, movies rented on an Apple TV are not transferable to any other device.
Some iTunes store titles can be rented in high definition on an Apple TV. These cost a dollar more per than the same title does in standard definition.
- You can choose a title and begin watching it shortly thereafter.
- No need to go to a store — everything is done over the Internet.
- Good selection of titles.
- Rentals can be watched on a PC, Mac, iPod or iPhone.
- Some titles are available in high definition for viewing via Apple TV.
- You can watch rentals without being on the Internet.
- Unless you have special connections and/or equipment, you can't watch rentals on a TV screen.
- The selection of rental titles is less than that of some of the better brick-and-mortar video stores.
- If you don't have a very fast Internet connection, you may be dissatisfied with the speed of service.
Renting movies from the iTunes store seems to be especially appealing to people who own Macintosh computers and are generally into the Apple world. Such people often have the equipment, lifestyle and mindset that fit in well with the services offered.
But even if you own a Windows PC, you should consider renting movies from the iTunes store, particularly if you have a very fast Internet connection. The service is definitely competitive with Blockbuster downloads and Amazon Video on Demand.