Apple Falls Short of 1,000 Movies in iTunes Rental Store

Apple Inc. has fallen substantially short of its target of having 1,000 movies available for rent on its Apple TV set-top box by the end of February, and is blaming studios for the discrepancy.

A complete count of the number of movies available on the box on Wednesday was elusive, but appeared to be between 400 and 500. A menu option that showed all movies at once has been removed, and some movies can be found only by searching for words in the title.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs told shareholders at the annual meeting Tuesday that he's "not happy" with the shortfall, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

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Jobs said it's taking movie studios more time than expected to get approval from various rights holders, the paper reported.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr on Wednesday said the company hopes to have 1,000 movies available "soon."

When Apple launched the device last year, it did not connect directly to the Internet, but could play movies and music from the user's computer. A software update in the middle of February gave users the ability to rent movies from Apple's iTunes Store without going through a computer.

Apple was closer to meeting another of its stated goals: 100 high-definition movies available on Apple TV. On Wednesday, 98 were offered.

ITunes had a slow start in offering music as well. It started out with 200,000 songs in 2003 and now has 6 million.

Apple TV boxes start at $229.

A competing Internet set-top box from Vudu Inc. that launched last fall has roughly 5,000 movies available. That box sells for $295.