By Aglaia Staff( Newswire: Agencies)

300px AppleStoreAvailability iTunes Store Opens Shutters in India

Visit aglaia.co.in The countries where iTunes Store is available are shown in green. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the better part of a decade, the iTunes Store has appeared to be a distant dream for music lovers in India. For despite the mouth-watering array of music, and later movies, ebooks and TV serials, available, all we could hope to download were a sorry collection of free ebooks and some podcasts. Well, those days are over — the iTunes Store is now available in almost-full glory on Indian shores as well.

On December 4,2012, Apple opened the doors of the iTunes Store to 56 new countries, including India. This means you can now buy music, as well as rent and buy movies at reasonable rates right from the iTunes application itself. The iTunes program is available free for the Mac and Windows platforms, and is already installed in your iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod touch).

Just fire up your iTunes application and go to the Store section to browse available wares. There are over 20 million songs available to purchase and download, spanning ‘local and international music from all the major labels and thousands of independent labels’. Apart from this, there is Indian content available from well-known labels such as Sony Music, Universal Music, EMI Records, Saregama, T-Series and YRF Music.

Single songs cost anything from Rs 7 to Rs 15 (average Rs. 12) whereas albums start at Rs 70 (average Rs. 100), all in the DRM-free AAC format.

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You can also download movies, starting at Rs 190 and going up to Rs 490 for an HD version. Interestingly, the iTunes Store also has movies on rent. Rentals start at Rs 80 for standard definition and Rs 120 for high definition, and are available for 30 days, though you must finish watching within 48 hours of first pressing the play button.

Of course, the comparison with Flipkart’s Flyte store is inevitable. Not only does Flipkart have a better collection of music, spanning many regional languages (while iTunes only covers Hindi and Tamil), it also works out cheaper with songs starting at Rs 6 and albums starting at around Rs 40.

Thus, you theoretically might be better off buying music from Flipkart, the iTunes store scores on making movies available too. Also, whereas Flipkart lets you download a purchased song on up four devices, iTunes lets you download to 10. However, legally-bought music on sites like Flipkart and iTunes are also DRM free, meaning that they don’t contain software to dictate restrictions on their usage.

The movies collection on the iTunes Store is not the greatest — you could search for some well-known classics and popular picks, both Bollywood and English films, in vain — but the ability to buy and download, or just rent for a one-time watch is very convenient. Sadly ,TV serials are not available to Indian viewers yet, and one hopes that the path will be paved for that very soon. Ebooks are also not available for purchase as of now.

Apple also unveiled its iTunes Match service for Indian users, which uploads your entire music collection — from iTunes and other places — to the iCloud for access from any iOS device. This service costs Rs 1,200 annually, but might be worth every paisa for dedicated music lovers.

Preceding the opening of the iTunes Store, a new version of the iTunes application for Mac and PC was launched last month. With a completely redesigned interface, yet retaining the old and familiar feel of the application, iTunes 11 is a much faster and responsive avatar. The sidebar has been removed from the default view, and accessing and playing music, making playlists and so on are much easier. A new Up Next feature displays upcoming songs in the selected playlist and you can add songs on the go. Overall, it is a welcome component to the Store.

 iTunes Store Opens Shutters in India
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