Apple just made it that much easier to watch movies without leaving your house:
"Apple® today announced that new movie releases from major film studios and premier independent studios are available for purchase on the iTunes® Store (www.itunes.com) on the same day as their DVD release. New releases and catalog titles will be available from 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, Image Entertainment and First Look Studios. Movies purchased from iTunes can be viewed on an iPod® with video, iPhone™, Mac® or PC or on a widescreen TV with Apple TV®, with new releases priced at $14.99 and most catalog titles at $9.99."
To date, Apple has over 1,500 films available for purchase from the iTunes Store--200 of which are available in high definition. This recent deal with the movie studios should help to quickly grow the iTunes movie catalog. This deal also increases the level of competition Apple already has with other online-based, on-demand movie sources, such as Amazon's Unbox, Netflix, CinemaNow, and Blockbuster's MovieLink. One distinct advantage iTunes has over these other services is that iTunes is the only option that currently works on Macs--although Netflix claims to be working on a Mac version.
There is no word yet on whether these same-day-as-DVD-release purchases will also be available that same day as iTunes movie rentals. Another question is how many of these titles will also be available in high definition? We have a query into Apple about these questions and hope to have an update soon.
Update: Apple confirms that all movie titles will be available as rentals, generally 30-days after they are available as purchases. This is in step with Apple's current practices. As to if we'll see a higher percentage of HD movies in the future, Apple has no comment. Right now, only about 13 percent of the movie titles available are in HD.