Edit: New AppleTV is $229, a price cut. Additionally, all of the new features are available on the old version as a free software upgrade. Available in two weeks. Nice.
Conceding that its foray into movie download sales on iTunes has failed to meet expectations, Apple has announced the launch of iTunes Movie Rentals, featuring the films of all major movie studios. By the end of February, more than 1000 films will be available. Older titles are $2.99, new ones $3.99. You’ll get a 30 day window to watch, but just 24 hours to finish once you start (so forget about watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy all at once).
There is some really cool stuff here, however. Movies will start playing within 30 seconds of starting to download. You can transfer the file to an iPod or iPhone while watching it on a computer. It runs on Mac, PC, iPods, iPhones, existing AppleTV and an all-new high definition AppleTV. The new AppleTV can sync files from its hard drive back to your computer. That said, it’s a true stand-alone solution. No computer required.
Intriguing. Still not sure the AppleTV will ever take off. Still no price announcement. Will update when it gets posted to Wired.