After literally years of rumour and speculation about when this service would launch in the UK (it launched 2006 in the States), Apple has finally announced that UK consumers can rent and download movies via iTunes.

Apple has issued a statement revealing that movies from major film studios including 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., MGM, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate are now available on the iTunes Store in the UK.

The iTunes Store in the UK features over 700 films available for rent or purchase, with titles available for purchase on the same day as their DVD release, including "Hitman", "I Am Legend", "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets" and "Into the Wild". iTunes Movie Rentals also features over 100 titles available in high definition for Apple TV owners.

"We’re kicking off movies on the iTunes Store in the UK with over 700 films for purchase and rent", said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes.

"We think customers in the UK are going to love being able to enjoy their favourite movies on their iPod, iPhone or on a widescreen TV with Apple TV."

With iTunes Movie Rentals, once a movie is rented, it starts downloading from the iTunes Store directly to iTunes or Apple TV. Customers have up to 30 days to start watching it, and once a movie has been started customers have 48 hours to finish it, or watch it multiple times.

iTunes movies are available at £6.99 for library title purchases and £10.99 for new releases. iTunes Movie Rentals are £2.49 for library title rentals and £3.49 for new releases, and high definition versions are priced at an extra quid.

In the States, new releases are priced at $14.99 and most catalogue titles at $9.99.