Apple extends iTunes movie rental viewing window to 48 hours

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited September 2017
To coincide with the launch of Apple TV 4K and iPhone 8 series, Apple on Friday updated its website with new information regarding movie rentals, saying viewers now have up to 48 hours to complete their rented titles after first pressing play.




Prior to the change, iTunes Store customers had to finish watching, or replaying, a rented movie within a 24 hour period. Today's change, quietly announced through an updated support document covering movie rentals, doubles the previous limit.

As usual, customers can watch and re-watch a rented movie as many times as they like within the 48 hour window. As noted by Apple, users who download movies for offline viewing are still subject to the 48 hour timer.

Not much else has changed beyond the extended viewing time limit. Users still have 30 days to start watching a movie after it is first rented. If a movie goes unwatched, customers must rent the film again, which grants another 30 days of access.

Before today, Apple's most recent change to the iTunes movie rental process came in March, when the company added multiscreen viewing to with iTunes 12.6. The feature allows users to rent a movie once and watch it on any device provisioned with the same Apple ID.

The movie rental change arrives as Apple TV 4K devices reach pre-order customers and Apple store retail locations. An incremental upgrade over last year's fourth-generation set-top streamer, the new hardware features an A10X Fusion processor capable of pumping out 4K resolution content in multiple HDR protocols. Apple this week issued tvOS 11, which delivers a revamped TV app that will allow users to stream live sports later this year.

For more on the new Apple TV 4K, check out AppleInsider's first look at the device.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Good!  What happened to me all the time is my wife and I would rent a movie and start it one night.  She would get tired and want to go to bed with the plan to finish it the next night.  Then we’d be rushing to start watching it in time to finish before it expired.  Almost always a pain.
     
    To be fair, there were several times where we had an hour or so to go and only have a half hour left in our 24 hour window, but the movie would play to the end.  I always appreciated that and hope that extra time remains.
    king editor the gratetokyojimuMplsP
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Dear Apple, thx  :)
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,647member
    Finally! I know my wife and I weren't the only ones who need 2 nights to watch a movie!
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,141member
    Hasn’t it always been 48 hours? At least I’m sure it was in the UK
    coolfactor
  • Reply 5 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,257member
    saarek said:
    Hasn’t it always been 48 hours? At least I’m sure it was in the UK
    Outside the US Apple was either able to secure better deals with content owners (or maybe there are laws that forced a longer minimum, like how Italy requires a 2 year warranty for vendor warranties). As @ihatescreennames states, having that second day really makes a difference. Hell, even making it 30 hours would've at least allowed for finishing the next evening without feeling like you had to start it before your start time the night before. I'm hoping a lot of these consumer-negative limitations will be a thing of the past now that internet-based content is commonplace.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Most people rent, finish watching movie on the same day but 55 hours would be much better if someone starts watching on Friday evening than have until Sunday late night to finish it. Monday to Friday are work days.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,299member
    wood1208 said:
    Most people rent, finish watching movie on the same day but 55 hours would be much better if someone starts watching on Friday evening than have until Sunday late night to finish it. Monday to Friday are work days.
    Oh look, the predictable ‘not good enough’ response.
    MacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Canada and U.K. have had 48 hour rental windows since the very beginning (9 years!). How are these details missed by the editors? Or is AppleInsider specifically interested in American readers only?

    https://www.macworld.com/article/1133769/48hours_itunesrentals.html

    edited September 2017 brucemc
  • Reply 9 of 20

    saarek said:
    Hasn’t it always been 48 hours? At least I’m sure it was in the UK

    Yup, U.K. and Canada have had 48 hours rental periods since 2008. But the editors are pro-U.S. and sometimes forget that there's a larger world outside of their borders.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,257member
    Canada and U.K. have had 48 hour rental windows since the very beginning (9 years!). How are these details missed by the editors? Or is AppleInsider specifically interested in American readers only?

    https://www.macworld.com/article/1133769/48hours_itunesrentals.html
    I'm confused by your statement. Where did AI ever state this is new for the UK or Canada?
    jbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,257member
    saarek said:
    Hasn’t it always been 48 hours? At least I’m sure it was in the UK
    Yup, U.K. and Canada have had 48 hours rental periods since 2008. But the editors are pro-U.S. and sometimes forget that there's a larger world outside of their borders.
    It would be nice if they added a few extra characters to denote that this a change to the US market, and in this case that it's existed elsewhere, but it's kind of like adding USD at the end of every article that mentions the dollar. Is it conducing when AI lists prices as '$' without denoting it's only the US dollar or without converting the value for every country in which they have readers or in which Apple sells a product? Maybe I don't see this being a major issue because I'm American, but I do read quite a bit online that predominately focuses around different country without feeling like a second-class reader. For example, I was just reading about a BBC series without feeling like they need to tell me that it's not on BBC America or licensed to PBS for the States.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 12 of 20
    I just rented an iTunes movie with my 4K ATV and I only got 24 hours to finish watching it. Why?
  • Reply 13 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,257member
    siretman said:
    I just rented an iTunes movie with my 4K ATV and I only got 24 hours to finish watching it. Why?
    Their update has permeated to ever account or title? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Nothing in this support page indicates that it's not 100% yet or that certain content owners still have 24 hour time frames. If you're concerned you can always let Apple know and I assume they'll give you free rental if 24 hours isn't enough time.

  • Reply 14 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,367member
    Good!  What happened to me all the time is my wife and I would rent a movie and start it one night.  She would get tired and want to go to bed with the plan to finish it the next night.  Then we’d be rushing to start watching it in time to finish before it expired.  Almost always a pain.
     
    To be fair, there were several times where we had an hour or so to go and only have a half hour left in our 24 hour window, but the movie would play to the end.  I always appreciated that and hope that extra time remains.
    I agree 100% with your comment had similar scenario quite a few times.  With us it's unexpected visitor or a long phone call ends up forcing us to push to next night only to forget to start watching soon enough and get caught by the 24 hour limit.  Love this move.

    To posts about US centrism on AI, well I have to say it's nice to catch up with Canada and the UK at last, we poor Americans never seem to have the same advantages...   ;)

    On my serious post point, we watched Wonder Woman last night on Apple TV Mk4, only HD version obviously, with a 150 Mb/s download speed from XFinity or FiOS (that's two of or main providers for high speed internet for UK folks information in case I'm being too US centric here).  For the first time ever with Netflix we had the picture quality drop several times for several minutes to low resolution and on a very large screen it's almost impossible to see what is going on.  Is this coincidence or related to contention ratio issues on the server coping with 4K?  Hope I'm being paranoid here.  Excellent movie by the way. :)
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 15 of 20
    MacPro said:
    Good!  What happened to me all the time is my wife and I would rent a movie and start it one night.  She would get tired and want to go to bed with the plan to finish it the next night.  Then we’d be rushing to start watching it in time to finish before it expired.  Almost always a pain.
     
    To be fair, there were several times where we had an hour or so to go and only have a half hour left in our 24 hour window, but the movie would play to the end.  I always appreciated that and hope that extra time remains.
    I agree 100% with your comment had similar scenario quite a few times.  With us it's unexpected visitor or a long phone call ends up forcing us to push to next night only to forget to start watching soon enough and get caught by the 24 hour limit.  Love this move.

    To posts about US centrism on AI, well I have to say it's nice to catch up with Canada and the UK at last, we poor Americans never seem to have the same advantages...   ;)

    On my serious post point, we watched Wonder Woman last night on Apple TV Mk4, only HD version obviously, with a 150 Mb/s download speed from XFinity or FiOS (that's two of or main providers for high speed internet for UK folks information in case I'm being too US centric here).  For the first time ever with Netflix we had the picture quality drop several times for several minutes to low resolution and on a very large screen it's almost impossible to see what is going on.  Is this coincidence or related to contention ratio issues on the server coping with 4K?  Hope I'm being paranoid here.  Excellent movie by the way. :)
    While your tap is 150Mbs, I doubt you get that kind of speed right to Apple's doorstep... Do a trace when this happens to see where the blockage is).
  • Reply 16 of 20
    MacPro said:
    Good!  What happened to me all the time is my wife and I would rent a movie and start it one night.  She would get tired and want to go to bed with the plan to finish it the next night.  Then we’d be rushing to start watching it in time to finish before it expired.  Almost always a pain.
     
    To be fair, there were several times where we had an hour or so to go and only have a half hour left in our 24 hour window, but the movie would play to the end.  I always appreciated that and hope that extra time remains.
    On my serious post point, we watched Wonder Woman last night on Apple TV Mk4, only HD version obviously, with a 150 Mb/s download speed from XFinity or FiOS (that's two of or main providers for high speed internet for UK folks information in case I'm being too US centric here).  For the first time ever with Netflix we had the picture quality drop several times for several minutes to low resolution and on a very large screen it's almost impossible to see what is going on.  Is this coincidence or related to contention ratio issues on the server coping with 4K?  Hope I'm being paranoid here.  Excellent movie by the way. :)
    For me it isn’t particularly uncommon to get a few seconds of low resolution out of Netflix, and our downloads regularly test in the 230-250Mbps range (using Speedtest on TV).  When it happens it’s usually at the start of whatever we’re watching OR when we restart after pausing or rewinding.  I didn’t realize Wonder Woman was on Netflix already.

    I’m slightly confused by the statement early on in your quote that you were watching the HD version but toward the end you’re wondering if the server was having trouble coping with 4K.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,257member
    MacPro said:
    Good!  What happened to me all the time is my wife and I would rent a movie and start it one night.  She would get tired and want to go to bed with the plan to finish it the next night.  Then we’d be rushing to start watching it in time to finish before it expired.  Almost always a pain.
     
    To be fair, there were several times where we had an hour or so to go and only have a half hour left in our 24 hour window, but the movie would play to the end.  I always appreciated that and hope that extra time remains.
    On my serious post point, we watched Wonder Woman last night on Apple TV Mk4, only HD version obviously, with a 150 Mb/s download speed from XFinity or FiOS (that's two of or main providers for high speed internet for UK folks information in case I'm being too US centric here).  For the first time ever with Netflix we had the picture quality drop several times for several minutes to low resolution and on a very large screen it's almost impossible to see what is going on.  Is this coincidence or related to contention ratio issues on the server coping with 4K?  Hope I'm being paranoid here.  Excellent movie by the way. :)
    For me it isn’t particularly uncommon to get a few seconds of low resolution out of Netflix, and our downloads regularly test in the 230-250Mbps range (using Speedtest on TV).  When it happens it’s usually at the start of whatever we’re watching OR when we restart after pausing or rewinding.  I didn’t realize Wonder Woman was on Netflix already.

    I’m slightly confused by the statement early on in your quote that you were watching the HD version but toward the end you’re wondering if the server was having trouble coping with 4K.
    It's a very uncommon occurrence for me and I'm only at a fraction of what you guys get at 60Mibps, which is still more than enough for Netflix. With an Apple TV that supports HEVC I would hope this gets reduced even further as I assume that Netflix's service and costs are greatly benefited by smaller file sizes.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Soli said:
    MacPro said:
    Good!  What happened to me all the time is my wife and I would rent a movie and start it one night.  She would get tired and want to go to bed with the plan to finish it the next night.  Then we’d be rushing to start watching it in time to finish before it expired.  Almost always a pain.
     
    To be fair, there were several times where we had an hour or so to go and only have a half hour left in our 24 hour window, but the movie would play to the end.  I always appreciated that and hope that extra time remains.
    On my serious post point, we watched Wonder Woman last night on Apple TV Mk4, only HD version obviously, with a 150 Mb/s download speed from XFinity or FiOS (that's two of or main providers for high speed internet for UK folks information in case I'm being too US centric here).  For the first time ever with Netflix we had the picture quality drop several times for several minutes to low resolution and on a very large screen it's almost impossible to see what is going on.  Is this coincidence or related to contention ratio issues on the server coping with 4K?  Hope I'm being paranoid here.  Excellent movie by the way. :)
    For me it isn’t particularly uncommon to get a few seconds of low resolution out of Netflix, and our downloads regularly test in the 230-250Mbps range (using Speedtest on TV).  When it happens it’s usually at the start of whatever we’re watching OR when we restart after pausing or rewinding.  I didn’t realize Wonder Woman was on Netflix already.

    I’m slightly confused by the statement early on in your quote that you were watching the HD version but toward the end you’re wondering if the server was having trouble coping with 4K.
    It's a very uncommon occurrence for me and I'm only at a fraction of what you guys get at 60Mibps, which is still more than enough for Netflix. With an Apple TV that supports HEVC I would hope this gets reduced even further as I assume that Netflix's service and costs are greatly benefited by smaller file sizes.
    I don’t know what bandwidth Netflix requires but I doubt they’re anywhere near what we can pull down.  The same thing used to happen when we were at 25Mbps and it’s basically been no different at 10 times the speed.  Just for clarity, when I say ‘isn’t particularly uncommon’ I mean maybe once a month.  We tend to use Netflix fairly frequently, not quite nightly but close, and that’s probably at Netflix’s busier time so I think any hiccups like that are probably more on their end then ours, just dealing with load.

    As you mentioned, we’ll probably see even less of it if they start supporting HEVC, and why wouldn’t they if they can reduce/better optimize their bandwidth?

    BTW, we have never had that same low-resolution watching anything on Hulu, for us it’s only Netflix.

    Oh, and we rented WW on iTunes tonight.  44 minutes in and my wife is ready for bed so I’m glad that 48 hour window has taken effect.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,367member
    MacPro said:
    Good!  What happened to me all the time is my wife and I would rent a movie and start it one night.  She would get tired and want to go to bed with the plan to finish it the next night.  Then we’d be rushing to start watching it in time to finish before it expired.  Almost always a pain.
     
    To be fair, there were several times where we had an hour or so to go and only have a half hour left in our 24 hour window, but the movie would play to the end.  I always appreciated that and hope that extra time remains.
    On my serious post point, we watched Wonder Woman last night on Apple TV Mk4, only HD version obviously, with a 150 Mb/s download speed from XFinity or FiOS (that's two of or main providers for high speed internet for UK folks information in case I'm being too US centric here).  For the first time ever with Netflix we had the picture quality drop several times for several minutes to low resolution and on a very large screen it's almost impossible to see what is going on.  Is this coincidence or related to contention ratio issues on the server coping with 4K?  Hope I'm being paranoid here.  Excellent movie by the way. :)
    For me it isn’t particularly uncommon to get a few seconds of low resolution out of Netflix, and our downloads regularly test in the 230-250Mbps range (using Speedtest on TV).  When it happens it’s usually at the start of whatever we’re watching OR when we restart after pausing or rewinding.  I didn’t realize Wonder Woman was on Netflix already.

    I’m slightly confused by the statement early on in your quote that you were watching the HD version but toward the end you’re wondering if the server was having trouble coping with 4K.
    I already stated it has not happened to us before and coincided with the start of 4K, so I joked perhaps I was being paranoid.  No confusion required, I was watching HD but wondered if there was additional stress the first few days 4K was also being streamed on Apple's end.  That's what 'contention ratios' refer to, shared stress if you will. Normally it refers to the user end, I was again joking about it applying to Apple's end.  Sorry sometimes my humor goes over heads.   Your right I meant on iTunes.  We rented it.  I watch so much Netflix it's become my go to term for all streamed content, be it Amazon, Netflix or iTunes.  My bad.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 20 of 20
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,257member
    Soli said:
    MacPro said:
    Good!  What happened to me all the time is my wife and I would rent a movie and start it one night.  She would get tired and want to go to bed with the plan to finish it the next night.  Then we’d be rushing to start watching it in time to finish before it expired.  Almost always a pain.
     
    To be fair, there were several times where we had an hour or so to go and only have a half hour left in our 24 hour window, but the movie would play to the end.  I always appreciated that and hope that extra time remains.
    On my serious post point, we watched Wonder Woman last night on Apple TV Mk4, only HD version obviously, with a 150 Mb/s download speed from XFinity or FiOS (that's two of or main providers for high speed internet for UK folks information in case I'm being too US centric here).  For the first time ever with Netflix we had the picture quality drop several times for several minutes to low resolution and on a very large screen it's almost impossible to see what is going on.  Is this coincidence or related to contention ratio issues on the server coping with 4K?  Hope I'm being paranoid here.  Excellent movie by the way. :)
    For me it isn’t particularly uncommon to get a few seconds of low resolution out of Netflix, and our downloads regularly test in the 230-250Mbps range (using Speedtest on TV).  When it happens it’s usually at the start of whatever we’re watching OR when we restart after pausing or rewinding.  I didn’t realize Wonder Woman was on Netflix already.

    I’m slightly confused by the statement early on in your quote that you were watching the HD version but toward the end you’re wondering if the server was having trouble coping with 4K.
    It's a very uncommon occurrence for me and I'm only at a fraction of what you guys get at 60Mibps, which is still more than enough for Netflix. With an Apple TV that supports HEVC I would hope this gets reduced even further as I assume that Netflix's service and costs are greatly benefited by smaller file sizes.
    BTW, we have never had that same low-resolution watching anything on Hulu, for us it’s only Netflix.
    I seem to recall reading that Netflix actively uses all sorts of bitrates for content based on your location, plan, bandwidth, the content, and other factors. If that's what's going on I'm guessing that Hulu isn't nearly as aggressive in that regard. Maybe it comes down to play v buffer/time out.
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