Report: Apple, Fox sign movie rental deal for Macworld

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple is likely to use Macworld as the venue for an announcement which will see 20th Century Fox license its movies for an iTunes on-demand rental service, according to an article by the Financial Times.



The report -- which cites only a "person familiar with the situation" -- alleges that the deal will follow the pattern of similar rental services, which allow users to download a complete copy of the movie that only lasts for a set amount of time before it becomes unplayable.



As an exchange, Fox DVDs will include a copy protected version of the movie that can be transferred to a computer and, ultimately, an iPhone or iPod. This will help users watch the movies in portable form without having to break the DVD's copy protection, which occupies a legal gray area, the Times says.



No mention is made of whether either the rentals or DVD copies will sport enhanced quality. Apple has not increased the resolution of videos on iTunes since fall 2006, when it began selling videos at NTSC television resolution (640x480) or lower. Viewers have complained that image quality suffers when viewed on HDTV sets and that the iPod maker is underusing the Apple TV, which can play back video at an HD-grade 720p (1280x720) resolution.



Other studios are said to be in talks for similar deals, but may not strike their agreements in time for Macworld's mid-January keynote speech.



Regardless of the output quality, the business model is expected to help drive sales of Apple hardware due to the lower cost to watch videos. It will "help Apple sell a load more video iPods," a studio executive has purportedly told the paper.



Expectedly, neither Apple, Fox, nor other studios have been willing to comment on the matter.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    I really like the idea of a portable version of the film included with DVDs. DVD ripping is a huge pain in the ass.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    I still say Apple should buy Netflix and TIVO with some of their cash and roll it all into iTunes and Apple HDTV
  • Reply 3 of 47
    It's not a rumor, it's a story on MarketWatch... here .



    Oh, nuts... it is a rumor. It cites the FT article also. Oh, well.
  • Reply 4 of 47
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Aren't current iTunes video downloads running about 1 GB for a movie? That's going to take out a chunk of available space on a DVD. If they downsize it to iPod/iPhone screen resolutions it would save space, but then I'm right back to having to rip the DVD for Apple TV playback.



    It will be interesting to see what compromises they make. For $3 I'd be willing to occasionally rent at iTunes current resolutions for movies that don't have a lot of action and visual/special effects. But they'll need to up the resolution and provide 5.1 surround for to make the "blockbusters" watchable (at maybe $4). Sure the file size will be bigger, but it's only temporary since it's a rental.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    solsunsolsun Posts: 763member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    Aren't current iTunes video downloads running about 1 GB for a movie? That's going to take out a chunk of available space on a DVD. If they downsize it to iPod/iPhone screen resolutions it would save space, but then I'm right back to having to rip the DVD for Apple TV playback.



    It will be interesting to see what compromises they make. For $3 I'd be willing to occasionally rent at iTunes current resolutions for movies that don't have a lot of action and visual/special effects. But they'll need to up the resolution and provide 5.1 surround for to make the "blockbusters" watchable (at maybe $4). Sure the file size will be bigger, but it's only temporary since it's a rental.





    $3 or $4 sounds great, but I'm guessing it will be more like $4.99, which is still cheaper than most on-demand services.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,361member
    Finally. Sounds pretty good. The user should then be prompted with an alert saying "Your rental movie "x" expires today. If you pay $y today you may keep it. ( Pay ) - - ( Expire ). Still waiting for this movie business to happen internationally though... it's just bla bla over here until the service arrives for real.
  • Reply 7 of 47
    nceencee Posts: 857member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ifiredmyboss.com View Post


    I still say Apple should buy Netflix and TIVO with some of their cash and roll it all into iTunes and Apple HDTV



    I agree. Not only does it get them a jump / add to their customer base, but gets rid of some part of the competition.



    Of course getting Netflex, then would mean, changing it completely, as Netflex does the mail thing, and I'm reasonablely sure Apple doesn't want to get into that.



    Skip
  • Reply 8 of 47
    I don't think we should be surprised to see the Disney catalog as part of this deal also.
  • Reply 9 of 47
    It seems that many people prefer rentals but I prefer to buy so hopefully Fox movies will also be available to buy via iTunes, especially if the rental price is $3-4. Rentals would need to be closer to $1-2 since it seems more cost effective to just buy it if you plan to watch it more than once at $4-5. This smells of a desperate attempt by Fox to drive DVD sales which continue to drop.
  • Reply 10 of 47
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,075member
    I would rent at $3.99, which is the cost of new releases at my local video rental store. $4.99 seems a bit dear. I think that they will get a lot more rentals at $3.99 than $4.99.
  • Reply 11 of 47
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ifiredmyboss.com View Post


    I still say Apple should buy Netflix and TIVO with some of their cash and roll it all into iTunes and Apple HDTV



    I don't know about tivo, apple could probably make strides in that market on their own if they tried hard enough, but I think buying netflix would be awesome, that'd be a game changer.
  • Reply 12 of 47
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,745member
    Sounds great ... I have to think ABC and Disney will be on board too for obvious reasons and also .... fingers crossed it is 720p
  • Reply 13 of 47
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,075member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Sounds great ... I have to think ABC and Disney will be on board too for obvious reasons and also .... fingers crossed it is 720p



    I would rather have 480i, actually - how long would a 720p download take? I don't want to wait 5 hours to watch my movie, and on a 50" plasma 480i is fine. How about $2.99 for 480i rentals and $4.99 for 720p rentals?
  • Reply 14 of 47
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,530member
    Buying either Netflix or TiVo is a really bad idea.



    There is not one thing Apple would gain from either purchase, other than to saddle itself with the deals both companies have made already, which Apple can't break out of, without destroying those businesses.



    Since what those businesses do is something that Apple isn't interested in doing, there is no point in destroying those businesses for?what, exactly?
  • Reply 15 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galley View Post


    I really like the idea of a portable version of the film included with DVDs. DVD ripping is a huge pain in the ass.



    My thoughts as well.



    Handbrake is nice but it takes so damn long to encode video.
  • Reply 16 of 47
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post


    I would rather have 480i, actually - how long would a 720p download take? I don't want to wait 5 hours to watch my movie, and on a 50" plasma 480i is fine. How about $2.99 for 480i rentals and $4.99 for 720p rentals?



    Do you watch your 50" plasma TV from the other side of a football field? 480i looks fine?



    I only have a 37" 1080p LCD and anything standard def from the cable company looks pretty darned crappy. I know that's partially the cable's fault, but even watching a DVD without anamorphic encoding is equally painful (but thankfully a rare thing).



    Having already invested in Blu-Ray, I'd rather just spend the extra $15 and own the movie in 1080p. I pretty much know what I want to own or not, and really at $5 a rental, I only ever need to watch the disc 3 more times and it's money well-spent.
  • Reply 17 of 47
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,530member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Do you watch your 50" plasma TV from the other side of a football field? 480i looks fine?



    I only have a 37" 1080p LCD and anything standard def from the cable company looks pretty darned crappy. I know that's partially the cable's fault, but even watching a DVD without anamorphic encoding is equally painful (but thankfully a rare thing).



    Having already invested in Blu-Ray, I'd rather just spend the extra $15 and own the movie in 1080p. I pretty much know what I want to own or not, and really at $5 a rental, I only ever need to watch the disc 3 more times and it's money well-spent.



    Of course, with a 37", and Blu-Ray, you can't sit more than five feet away and still see all of the 1080p resolution.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,075member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Do you watch your 50" plasma TV from the other side of a football field? 480i looks fine?



    I only have a 37" 1080p LCD and anything standard def from the cable company looks pretty darned crappy. I know that's partially the cable's fault, but even watching a DVD without anamorphic encoding is equally painful (but thankfully a rare thing).



    Having already invested in Blu-Ray, I'd rather just spend the extra $15 and own the movie in 1080p. I pretty much know what I want to own or not, and really at $5 a rental, I only ever need to watch the disc 3 more times and it's money well-spent.



    12 feet away. I actually have a $2500 video scaler that I don't use for cable, because if I go to a higher resolution than 480i my "stretch the edges of 480i to fit widescreen" function no longer works, and I hate black bars more than I like the slightly better picture quality.
  • Reply 19 of 47
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,530member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post


    12 feet away. I actually have a $2500 video scaler that I don't use for cable, because if I go to a higher resolution than 480i my "stretch the edges of 480i to fit widescreen" function no longer works, and I hate black bars more than I like the slightly better picture quality.



    If you sit that far away, don't bother with the video scaler. 480 is all you're seeing clearly anyway. 10 feet is the furthest you can sit to see the full 720p rez.
  • Reply 20 of 47
    This was on the BBC news this morning too.



    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7161609.stm



    We've not got movie sales yet here in the UK on iTunes. Rental for movies always struck me as a better idea though.



    Tivo doesn't exist in the UK btw. It was totally outgunned by Sky+ here which coincidentally is owned by News International as are Fox.



    I'm not sure buying TiVo would do anything for Apple here when they could just implement a Freeview DTT tuner and the Freeview Playback PVR spec in AppleTV.
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