iTunes Movie Rentals Beyond 24 Hours

With the introduction of the new iTunes rental system, the 24 hour time limit on rentals has raised concerns about the inability to rent a movie one night and finish at the same time the following night.

When you rent a movie on iTunes, you have 30 days to start watching the movie before it expires. Once you start watching it, however, you only have a 24 hour window before it expires. Tidbits' Mark Boszko explored the limits of this 24 hour rental window, and how Apple deals with this 24 hour expiration. Boszko tested various scenarios and found the following under iTunes:

- Watched a rental movie (to start the 24 hour clock), then started watching it again about 30 minutes prior to the end of the 24 hour window. The movie continued to play to the end beyond the 24 hour rental window.
- If you try to exit the movie once it has passed the 24 hour window, you will be greeted with a dialog that tells you if you don't finish watching the movie, it will be deleted.
- If you pause a movie before the 24 hour expiration arrives, you can still resume it after the window passes.*
- If you are watching past the 24 hour window, and try to pause the movie, you are told you must finish watching it or delete the movie.

While these tests were performed in iTunes, others have found the same behavior on iPods and Apple TVs. Based on these findings, it appears that a movie can be started one night and then finished the following night without concern about running into the 24hr expiration.

*The exact length of the "pause window" is not known, but it appears it may eventually timeout and expire the movie.

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Top Rated Comments

dagamer34 Avatar
214 months ago
I think 48 hours is perfect. It's not like these rentals will be competing with Blockbuster of Netflix with the 30 day delay.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mark2288 Avatar
214 months ago
24 hours is not sufficient. 36 would make it much more comfortable.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)