Digital distribution had one small problem over physical media, namely that download-to-own (or rent) films are made available some time after their physical media counterparts. You may have noticed that's written in the past tense, and for a good reason: today Apple has announced that iTunes film releases will be coming day-and-date in line with DVD launches.
Apple's vice president of iTunes, Eddy Cue commented: "We're thrilled to bring iTunes Store customers new films for purchase day-and-date with the DVD release. We think movie fans will love being able to buy their favorites (sic) from major and independent studios."
Starting this week new releases American Gangster, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly are set to launch on iTunes concurrently with the DVD issue. New films are set to cost $14.99 a pop with catalogue titles costing $9.99. Exactly when a film transitions from being a new title to a catalogue title isn't known - your guess is as good as ours.
There is, of course, a small catch. Currently this is a US-only deal so us English folks aren't going to be partaking quite yet. Nonetheless, Apple did manage to make film rentals available on Apple TV over here eventually, so there is some hope for the UK.
In (extremely) related news, Time Warner CEO, Jeff Bewkes has announced Time Warner's plans to offer up its films in the same "day-and-date" aligned fashion. No other information on that deal yet, but it's nice to know the studios are as committed to digital distribution as the distributors.