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iTunes to launch film rental service

Apple to rival traditional rental methods

Film rentals in the US will be soon be available from iTunes. Apple is expected to launch the service, which will complement its current download-to-own offering, at this year's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, which starts tomorrow.

Titles will be downloaded from the iTunes store for $3.99 and consumers will have 24 hours to watch each one. The films can be played on iPods, iPhones, computers and Apple TV. The service will rival those currently available in the US including Amazon's Unbox, which lets consumers download a film and watch it within a specified period. Once the period is up, the movie is deleted from the viewer's playlist.

Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney are among the Hollywood studios that are believed to have signed deals with Apple. According to Richard Greenfield, an analyst at Pali Capital, once a couple of studios sign up, it will only be a matter of minutes before others come on board too.


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