(Reggie Beehner)

By Kristopher Hammons

If you have an iPod, then you are probably aware that you can buy and download individual songs, the latest albums and even the latest TV shows via iTunes and play them on your computer or iPod. Last week, Apple announced plans to add to its media arsenal by making movie rentals available at its iTunes Store.

In its announcement, Apple’s CEO Steven Jobs stated that eleven major motion picture studios have signed on the deal to make their movies available.

The studios include Paramount, 20th Century Fox, New Line Cinema, Universal Studios and other major studios. Movies will be made available for rent 30 days after their initial DVD release. New releases will be priced at $3.99, while older titles in their library will go for $2.99.

Apple is in the process of digitizing and distributing movies into its online store and plans to make over 1,000 movies available at the iTunes Store by the end of February.

Adding to this new service, Steve Jobs announced customers would have the option to download and rent movies from their libraries in high definition quality. However, the prices are $3.99 for library titles and $4.99 for new releases, and consumers will only be able to view the HD quality movies on the Apple TV.

Apple released Apple TV last January and it allows consumers to play any and all of their iTunes content directly onto their high definition TVs.

The recent development only bolsters Apple’s stance in the digital media space. Apple provides a legal, user-friendly way to conveniently and inexpensively attain any digital media you crave. For years now, people have been able to buy and download the latest hits from their favorite bands on demand.

Now, if you are bored one evening with the friends and looking for a new movie to watch, you don’t have to worry about going to Blockbuster to rent.?

If Apple is as successful with movies as they have been with music and TV shows, Blockbuster and Netflix could be looking at their competition.