back to article Brits get iTunes movie downloads, rentals

Apple has finally allowed UK iTunes users to buy or rent SD oldies and HD blockbusters. From today, Brits will have access to films from a selection of studios, including Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios and Paramount Pictures. US-based iTunes users already have the service, but it was predicted last week that Apple was close …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward

    Oh goody...

    Just in time to hit my new Virgin STM limits then.

  2. Steven Raith


    I'm sure someone will beat me to it, or eleventy other people will post the same comment, but while this seems like a decent service from Apple, how long before the ISPs start moaning about bandwidth usage, a la iPlayer?

    Steven R

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "Library titles cost £7"

    or pop to tesco and get one for £2.99 and it comes with a free shiney disc and box.

  4. Rich Silver badge

    Not cheap though

    "Library titles cost £7 (€9) to download permanently to your hard drive, whereas the latest movies are priced at £11 (€14) each"

    Ok, it's pointing out the bleedin' obvious, but that's not much less than you'd pay for many DVDs (if you shop around) and they have the distinct advantage that you don't have to buy them again when your computer breaks down or your hard disk goes "bang".

    ...and are the downloaded ones full DVD quality or have they been re-encoded into a somewhat-less-than-sparkling quality?

  5. James Robertson


    cheaper than my video shop then thats not bad.

  6. Chris Morrison

    Three quid 50!!

    Is it only me that thinks this a real rip off.

    The video shop down the road from me charges £3.50 for rentals of new DVD's. Now they have to pay rent and council rates on their property, heating, staff costs etc. The DVD itself costs them money and the DVD needs shipped form a warehouse to their store.

    How come then apple can't better the video shops prices substantially given that Apple has none of these costs?

    When Sky and NTl first launched pay per view you paid extra for the convience but I don't buy that any more. We are just being ripped off. If amazon didnt beat bookstores prices for just about every book then hardly anyone would use them. Why not so for Saint Jobs' shop?

  7. Chris
    Jobs Horns


    Nice to know us Brits gets shafted again on the cost of the downloads...

  8. Steven


    Was looking forward to the iTunes movie downloads, but it seems once again us Brits are paying way more than the Americans...

    £11 for a film that will take a fair few hours to download when I can go the the Supermarket in 10 minutes get the film about the same price and get all the box/packaging etc. No brainier.

    If the price drops to be more in line with American users, I definitely use it.

  9. Steve

    This is great news...

    I've been looking for a way to get rid of this big pile of money while simultaneously feeling that I'm not really getting good value for it. Now I can accomplish both of those without leaving the house.

  10. Liam
    Thumb Down

    hmm no thanks!

    HD quality? is this from the same people that call divx DVD quality? also apple dont support surround as far as i know...

    so, they are charging the same if not more than Blockbuster etc, for a copy you have to download (ooh 50gb over english Bband - that will be fun), with considerably worse sound and no extras (so maybe 40 gb?)

    wow, where do i dign up.. glad i didnt waste any money on an apple tv box

    its not like the 60gb model will be able to hold much HD content is it?

  11. Ricky Cann

    HD downloads on Apple TV only!

    BIG mistake! I have been waiting a long time for an online service where I can legitimately buy/rent HD films and now we have one I have to go out and buy an under powered Apple TV box. I don't want an Apple TV box, Steve. I already have a high end PC that more than meets my entertainment needs. It has exactly the hardware and software spec I have carefully researched and chosen and is capable of playing one HD movie whilst encoding a second to a Media Center extender in another room. Let me buy/rent HD content on iTunes on my existing hardware you ring fenced twit!

  12. TimM
    Thumb Down

    as predicted

    Almost £ = $

    US $3 for library and $4 for new

    UK £2.5 for library and £3.50 for new

    Which of course still makes the UK vastly more expensive. And before anyone says "ah yes but UK VAT etc"...

    US $3 = aprox £1.53 + VAT = £1.79

    US $4 = aprox £2.05 + VAT = £2.40

    Thus, rip off Britain still applies.

  13. RichyS
    Paris Hilton


    By 'Apple has finally allowed', I think you really mean 'the theiving money grabbing Studios have finally allowed'.

    And how nice of them to force the price so high for movie purchases.

    Paris 'cos she knows all about effective film distribution.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Oh goody...

    Damn that's some bad luck.

    Still, it's about damn time Apple pulled their fingers out and got some decent stuff for my iPod Touch. I just wish they'd finish adding the remaining seasons of Babylon 5.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Before the haters jump in...

    Let me just point out the difference between the US and UK prices here matches the same price difference mark up (the 'Brit Tax') every other major technology company (hardware/software/service-based) does too, so don't start crying wolf over it and singling out one company unfairly unless you do it about every other piece of technology or service released here by the hundreds of other companies which do exactly the same.

    Personally regarding this news, i think the prices are fair for non-new releases and for rentals (compared to what my local video stores and Virgin/HMV/etc stores charge) and will definitely take advantage of rentals and the odd movie purchase.

    I like not having the hassle of dealing with video returns and the convinience of having the video in format ready for on-the-move, but for new releases it makes buying the DVD cheaper, so unless Apple drop the prices there i wont buy it then.

  16. Anthony Shortland

    Sky boxoffice prices

    Wonder if sky will consider lowering their boxoffice movie prices now in competition?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ RichyS

    "And how nice of them to force the price so high for movie purchases."

    The prices are way too high... I wonder how much of that is due to Movie studios greedy demands and how much to Apple's greed.

  18. Tom
    Thumb Down

    Not just England getting ripped off

    Canada now has movies too, but the one I checked (Nacho Libre, used by another site to compare) is $14.99 from Apple, or I can get the DVD from for $12.79 with free shipping.

    So I can have better picture, better sound, extras, a disc I can lend to a friend / give away / sell... and pay less too? But I might have to wait a day for it to arrive.

    I expect Apple hopes to break even on the service and sell more hardware, with the MPAA and friends sucking up most of the cash. But they will not be getting any from me, it has to cost a lot less then the DVD before I'd even think of going for a download.

    The Canadian dollar is more or less at par with the US dollar.

  19. Gareth Irwin


    Don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant mate. DIVX is PC stuff never supported or even mentioned by Apple.

    The apple TV supports full 5.1 surround sound as well as HD output.

    Whilst we are about it how many HD dvds can you rent from UK block buster for £3.50?

    Get back to me.

  20. Jon Jardine
    Jobs Halo

    Great for Rural Folks

    My local video store (or indeed HMV) is a 40 mile round trip from my place at the start of the Highlands so being able to download reasonably recent movies is *great* for me - and I'm sure its the studios who have dictated the pricing...

  21. Andy

    Just import stuff, much cheaper!

    I was gonna make some comment about the pricing, but it appears everyone got there first.

    To be honest, we should have expected it, it's the same on games. A title in the US for about $40 retails over here in Blighty for £40. Which is why I usually import titles cause even with the postage, some of the discount offers you get mean I can get a 40 game for about £18 to £22.

    Still another reason to stick with the PSP and forget bothering with Apple iWhatevers. And I can play games on it too!!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Purchases overpriced, rentals reasonable

    No surprises - the 'to buy' downloads are far too expensive, but the rentals are OK-ish value for the convenience of not having to go hunting for content at your nearest rental shop.

    I'm just trying Batman Begins to see if the quality of the service and of the playback is any good (fwiw, it's more than good enough for my 24" iMac's screen). The problem is that it is a 1.56 GB download. Can't do too many rentals a month otherwise I'll soon blow past my 25GB cap on usage.

  23. foof
    Jobs Horns

    Canada to get it in 2010

    or sometime thereafter...

  24. GumboKing
    Jobs Horns

    Also in Canada

    I just got an email from iTunes saying that Movies are also now available in Canada. For those of you in the UK thinking you were getting the shaft pricewise, you are not alone.

    Prices in Canada are $C4.99 for rental and $C19.99 for purchase. Considering the Loonie (Canuck Buck) is pretty much on par with the US Greenback, I'm not sure why it is $4 more for purchase. I'm not sure if the 5% GST is included in the price or not, but I would guess that it is not.

  25. Robert Simmons
    Jobs Halo

    RE: Surround Sound

    Since AppleTV OS 1.1 - it has supported surround sound. Apple updated their H.264 MP4 implemenations in Quicktime to support AC3 soundtracks in addition to AAC. Their content also includes both AC3 and AAC, so that even if you don't have an AC3 decoder - the AppleTV will simply fall back to AAC.

    Still, glad they finally launched it in the UK even if it isn't all that cheap.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    just d/l'ed the first movie

    The kids chose "Enchanted" at £3.49, the sixty minute download 1.28GB .M4V file is now being backed-up as my apple streamer PC wishes to 'transfer' (seemingly once and forever) the data file to the AppleTV device. They'll be able to watch it tomorrow! excellent service considering I'm 1340 kilometres south of Solihull! (UK 'refurb' AppleTV with UK debit card purchasing)

    One minor weakness of the AppleTV is the weedy HDD, needs to grow a lot bigger soon! I wonder how long it'll take DVD_Jon's programs to strip/port the movies to xubuntu/vlc on the kids' eeePC?

  27. Simon

    An absolute bargain!

    So I could rent a movie from iTunes, paying the £3.50 and getting it fairly sharpish.

    - OR -

    I could drive to Blockbuster, pay £4 to rent it, £35 in petrol, including £34.99 in tax and have to deal with the spotty teenager behind the desk who thinks Donnie Darko was a life changing experience, and not a load of pretentious nonsensical pap.

    I chose the I'll my coat not because I want my coat, but more because it looks like someone's nicking stuff out of my pocket. Although I can't decide whether it's Steve Jobs or the Studios. Ah screw that, it's Gordon bloody Brown isn't it.

  28. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    The Freetards are laughing at you

    Like modern day Robin Hoods they steal from the rich (the paytards) to give to the poor (the morally bankrupt).

  29. Dan P
    Thumb Down

    I can't see that taking off...

    With prices like that, where's the benefit in renting them online, other than the convenience factor? I'd personally much rather get a case, sleeve and disk for the same price tbh, and not have it tied to being played with AppleTV. If they were to half the price they might have something interesting, but when you can buy the physical disk for the same price (or possibly even less with a bit of research) there's no USP here at all.

  30. Cosimo
    Thumb Down

    HD downloads on Apple TV only! Pt II!!

    Totally aggreed Ricky!

    Why could i not move the content to a DLNA sever and have top quality 1080p resolution (should the file provide) from my PS3!

    POOR, POOR, POOR!!!!

  31. Scott Mckenzie

    HD Quality

    All the HD ones are 720p with DD5.1.... i personally think that is perfectly acceptable.

    Though no doubt there will be all the people who *HAVE* to have 1080p on their 32" screen that they sit 20ft from because (they can see the difference"

    720p h264 encoded is a perfectly acceptable compromise in my opinion, it's a significant step up from DVD quality!

    I also don't think the price is bad at all.... have a fast broadband connection and the convenience factor is massive!

  32. TimM

    720p vs DVD?

    "720p h264 encoded is a perfectly acceptable compromise in my opinion, it's a significant step up from DVD quality!"

    Don't know about that. UK DVDs are 576i. Difference between the two is minimal, especially with inherently progressive displays (LCDs etc). More so with even a cheap upscaler. I wouldn't say it's significant, especially for anyone with a TV 32" or less sat at a sensible distance from it. Thus it comes down to whether the price justifies it.

    Personally I wouldn't bother with the HD downloads for such a small improvement over DVD (and potential artefacts by the compression levels used). But then currently I have a vast source of £5 1080p HD DVD titles thanks to them losing the format war, so don't care anyway :) !

  33. DrXym Silver badge

    You'd have to be stupid to buy to own

    Just when vendors are finally getting a clue concerning music downloads and offering it in an open format, along comes video with DRM even more hideous than last time around.

    I can see the attraction of renting. After all, who cares about DRM or disk storage space, or proprietary lock-in with a rental. But owning? You'd have to be mad to buy to own an Apple movie and lose such basic rights as being able to play the movie anywhere on any device, to loan it to a friend or resell it. And for those prices DVDs probably work out the same any way.

  34. Steve

    DVD vs H264

    @ TimM

    DVDs are encoded with mpeg2. Mpeg4 H264 is far superior for the same filesize. I have the same films on original DVD and smaller file H264 720P - in comparison the DVD looks like a pirate copy.

    Upscalers do nothing for quality (epsecially if there is subsequent pixel sharing in the display device).

    @ Scott Mckenzie

    I agree for the most part. Films that are encoded in 1080p rarely have better resolution than those in 720P (excluding animations), but they do appear smoother (less jaggies) when viewed close up; however, most people won't be able to see the difference when viewed from any nominal kind of distance.

    IMO, H264 on DL-DVD is enough. The only reason why the two blue disks came out was to help prevent people 'backing up' their movies.

    Me? I'll stick with iMule for now :c)

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    HD? More like Mid-Def

    Why oh why do we have so many different definitions of HD? HD should be a 1080p picture, streaming at 20mbps+ (and not in MPEG2) with either a Dolby TrueHD or (preferably) a DTS Master Audio soundtrack.

    The "HD" that Apple peddle is way short. There should be a new "Mid Def" definition - "better than you're used to, but not as good as it could/should be!"

  36. Ascylto

    Oh, come off it, Apple!

    I'm an Apple fanboi and fanatic.

    Buy an AppleTV? At the prices they want? NO CHANCE!

    Buy a movie from iTunes when I can get the same movie delivered free on a DVD at less than half Apple's price? NO CHANCE!

    Apple, you are ripping us off in the UK ... and this is from a fan.

    OK, I'm leaving ... no need for the 'cuffs.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like