After postponing the availability of its Apple TV update two weeks ago, Apple quietly released their anticipated new software yesterday enabling users to rent movies - in both standard definition and HD - on the iTunes Store directly from their TVs. Is it worth it? According to a number of reviews online, yes.

In addition to the new movie rentals capabilities, the update brings a redesigned interface, offers support for browsing and purchasing music and podcasts directly from iTunes, adds HD Dolby 5.1 support, and new direct access to Flickr and .Mac photo streams. The update weighs in at approximately 200MB and, as it is usually the case with Apple, there's a guided tour available at the official Apple website.

The new features are being offered as a free upgrade to existing Apple TV users (who can move to the settings menu and select 'update software' from there), and are also being included with new Apple TV units starting at $229 - that's $70 less than their price a few weeks ago.