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Jobs Keynote: iTunes movie rentals here, just

iTunes has welcomed movie rentals to its US store

Apple has finally added movie rentals to iTunes - but only American users will be able to enjoy the new service for now. Most major film studios have signed on to the iTunes movie rentals service, according to Steve Jobs in his Macworld keynote speech. But until later this year - the exact date is unknown - international customers will be forced to wait for it to arrive on this side of the pond.

American iTunes users simply need to update their software today to gain access to over 1,000 movies in standard definition and 600 in HD.

Prices in line with competition

In a move that could have a significant impact on the movie downloading industry, Apple announced that the rentals will cost $2.99 (£1.50) for older films and $3.99 (£2) for new releases. If users are looking for HD content, they'll be forced to pay $3.99 and $4.99 (£2.50), respectively.

Ostensibly to please the movie studios, iTunes rentals can be kept by the user for 30 days until the movie has been watched. Once it has been started, the user has 24 hours to finish it before it's deleted from view. To cut down wait times, Jobs announced that it will take about 30 seconds for the movie to start streaming and will continually download in the background during playback.

Look for more on iTunes movie rentals as we get closer to the UK release of the service.