The opportunity now exists for Apple to make a play to offer movies and TV shows through iTunes in the UK.

This is because clashes between broadcasters and independent programme producers over who controls on-demand rights in the UK have been resolved, according to reports.

The news emerges as UK broadcaster Channel 4 reveals it plans to launch its own movie download service this autumn under its Film Four brand.

The Guardian reports a wave of such services coming from broadcasters, movie studios and technology firms in the coming months, as the gold rush begins in the video-on-demand space.

"Channel 4's business director, Rod Henwood, said the company planned to move into video on demand following its rights deal with Pact, the trade body representing the independent producers, who provide most of its schedule," the newspaper reports.

The service will offer generally available movies as well as the arthouse films Film Four is famed for. It will also offer access to "catch-up" TV.

Screen Digest expects the video on demand market to computers will be worth $244 million by 2010.

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