Apple announced on Wednesday that it postponed the release of its Apple TV software update by a week or two, saying it required more time to finish the upgrade that would let people rent movies directly from their televisions.

On Wednesday, the firm said it started shipping the MacBook Air, the thin notebook that was introduced at MacWorld in San Francisco this month. Iand it will cost $1,799.

Apple said in a statement released on Thursday that it plans to make the free software download available to existing Apple TV customers in another week or two.

During the MacWorld show in San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive said that the software would be ready by the end of January.

Once the software has been updated, people will be able to rent movies from iTunes online music store directly from their TVs.

The firm will make more than 1,000 movie titles available by the end of February, including more than 100 high-definition titles.

The studios whose movies are available on iTunes include 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Walt Disney, Paramount, Universal and Sony.

However, new films will not be available on iTunes until 30 days after they ship to retailers on DVD.

DVD-quality movies will be rented for $2.99 for older titles and $3.99 for new ones, while high definition versions will cost an extra dollar.