Movies for Australian iTunes store finally arrive

As we predicted back in July Apple today announced the immediate availability of Movies in the Australian and New Zealand iTunes store. The announcement marks the first official movie download service available to both PC and Mac users. The announcement is also accompanied by a significant price drop on Apple TV.

Movies from most major studios including including 20th Century Fox The Walt Disney Studios Paramount Pictures Warner Bros. Entertainment Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) Sony Pictures Television International andLionsgate are available in the store. The store is launching with 700 titles with new releases available for purchase on the same day as their DVD counterpart.

In my experience with Apple TV most regular movies are around 1.3GB in size and start playing within a minute of clicking play. HD movies are typically between 2 — 3GB and can take longer to begin playing. Consumers interested in the service should first check they are on the appropriate broadband plan as movie downloads generally count against download limits. So far iiNet are the only ISP in Australia to offer ‘unmetered’ iTunes downloads which now includes movies.

Movies are available to buy for prices ranging from $9.99 to $24.99 or to rent for $3.99 to $5.99 for new release movies. Where available HD movies can be rented for an extra dollar.

In an Australian first restrictions on movie rentals are more relaxed than on the US store. Rentals can be watched up to 30 days after download and expire in 48 hours (24 hours more than in the US store) from the first viewing.

According to Eddy Cue Apple’s vice president of Internet Services (which now by the way includes MobileMe) ‘iTunes has quickly become the world’s most popular online movie store with customers renting and purchasing over 50000 movies everyday.’

Rented or purchased movies are available for viewing on iPhones iPods (including Classic Nano and Touch) or via iTunes.

Apple have also quietly lowered the price (40GB is now $329 and 160GB is now $449) on the Apple TV in a hope to make the company’s ‘hobby’ more appetizing to consumers.