According to reports, Apple is close to announcing plans to make Fox and Disney movies available as online rentals via iTunes (US). Apple CEO Steve Jobs is likely saving the official announcement for his Macworld Expo keynote on Jan. 14.
Customers would pay a fee to download titles viewable on computers, iPods, iPhones and presumably Apple TV devices that would expire after a short window of time. Netflix, Amazon.com and Blockbuster’s Movielink are competitors in this space.
Wal-Mart, however, has thrown in the towel. Wal-Mart.com quietly pulled the plug on its video download service late last month as Hewlett Packard decided to discontinue the back-office technology that powered it. The service, popular with studios because it offered variable pricing, struggled with compatibility issues. Wal-Mart downloads could not be burned to DVDs or watched on video iPods.