Macworld 2008: Apple relaunches Apple TV with HD movie rentals, cheaper price

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macworld-keynote.jpgApple TV hasn’t been a roaring success for Apple, but that hasn’t stopped the company announcing a second-generation version at Macworld 2008. Apple TV ‘Take 2’ will let you rent HD movies for $4.99 a pop, with 100 available immediately.

It’ll also access video and audio podcasts, browse photos from Flickr and .Mac accounts, and synchronise with your iTunes libary. The HD movies will be available with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, and you’ll also be able to buy music from the Apple TV too.

All this is a free software update for existing Apple TVs in a fortnight’s time – good news for early adopters. The price of Apple TV has also been dropped from $299 to $229 in the US (that’ll be £199 in the UK). It’s not clear if the HD movie rentals will be available outside the US then too, though.

The HD movie interface looks pretty good, though. You’ll be able to preview films on your TV, and see what other people have rented too, in an ‘if you like this, you might like that’ stylee. Apple is keen to stress the feature of starting watching a movie straight after clicking to rent it, thanks to swizzy streaming technology.

I have no shame when it comes to HD hype: THIS WILL KILL BLU-RAY AND HD DVD! Maybe. Oh, alright, it might not, but digital distribution of this kind is surely the future. By linking the Apple TV directly to a movie rentals service, Apple has also potentially found the box’s killer app. Finally.

Check out our Macworld 2008 Keynote Liveblog for the latest news

Stuart Dredge