Apple launches iTunes UK film downloads

Apple has finally given the go ahead so that movie fans in the UK can now rent and buy films through Apple's iTunes music store.

The company announced a series of deals with major Hollywood studios enabling them to offer films to the UK market. Customers will be able to download the films to their computers, and watch them on a PC or Mac, or transfer them to their iPod, iPhone or Apple TV set-top box. The cost of buying a film will range from £6.99 for classic "library" titles to £10.99 for new releases.

Movie rentals will start at £2.49 for library titles, and £3.49 for the latest blockbusters. High-definition versions of movies will costs £1 more in all instances. The prices offerings mean UK customers will pay significantly more for their movie rentals than their US counterparts. Classic movies cost $2.99 (£1.50) to rent in the US, with new releases priced at $3.99 (£2).

Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, has in the past blamed such pricing discrepancies on VAT, and the fact that doing business in the UK is "more expensive" than in the US.

Apple said that customers with broadband internet connections will be able to start watching a film within seconds of choosing to rent it, and will then have 30 days to watch their rented movie before the download expires.

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