Yesterday the Canadian iTunes store added movies (for purchase or rental) to their offerings bringing us a step closer to getting what our friends south of the border have. However the TV show offerings still leave a lot to be desired, unless you want to watch Canadian shows.
By adding movies to the store for download, it now makes sense for Canadians to buy an Apple TV. Apple TV is a box that connects to your TV and allows users to rent and buy movies, TV shows and video podcasts from the iTunes store and watch them on their big screen TV. The box can also stream video and audio content from your PCs or Macs via iTunes to the Apple TV. The original (although with version 2 software and 40 GB hard drive sells for 249.00 CDN and a 160GB version that sells for 349.99.
The Apple TV has been available for a while in Canada but without the movies on the iTunes store it wasn’t really worth purchasing.
Most of the movies available are in standard definition but if you have an Apple TV only you can rent HD movies. Movies sell for roughly the same as a DVD in stores (in some cases a little more) 14.99 to 9.99 however I have seen some movies for 19.99. Rentals cost 4.99 and you have 30 days from the time of rental to watch and 48 hours after you have started watching to finish it. After these times expiry the movie will disappear.
As with most other iTunes products you can transfer purchased content to up to 5 PCs or Macs. Purchased movies can be burned to DVD (or copied to an external drive) for backup purposes but not for watching (basically you are burning a data DVD). Purchased and rented movies can be transferred to an iPod to take with you when you head out.
Movies can take from 20 minutes to 3 hours to download to your PC depending on the speed of your Internet connection. You can start watching once enough of the movie has been downloaded.
From what I understand video quality is not bad and the HD rentals are slightly lower quality than an HD DVD or Blu-Ray Movie.
Personally I do find the idea intriguing. I still like the idea of purchasing a movie on a DVD disk to get all of the extras on the disks as well as the portability of the disk. I can take a purchased DVD disk over to my parents place with me, not so for the downloaded movies. As for selection of movies it does not look too bad but it is limited. As I have stated as for TV shows there is not much available and if you are looking for US network shows, forget about it on the Canadian store.
One thing to note. I have heard that the Apple TV does get extremely hot to the touch. There is no fan in the system to keep it cool so it uses the case as a large heat sync. Be careful not to leave items sitting on top of it.
I might try out renting a movie by connecting my MacBook Pro to my HD TV and downloading one just to see what happens. If I do so I will post my results here and let you know what it looks like.