SAN FRANCISCO – Apple Inc. announced a smaller, cheaper version of its Apple TV device for streaming movies and television shows over the Internet and into the living room. It also unveiled a new line of iPods, including a touch-screen Nano model.

The tiny new Apple TV system announced Wednesday will only let people rent, not buy, content. For first-run high-definition movies the day they come out on DVD, people will have to pay $4.99. High-definition TV show rentals will be 99 cents.

The price of the box is also being cut to $99, from $229. Cheaper options for streaming video had been available, including Roku’s set-top boxes that start at $60.

Apple TV has been around since 2007, but it hasn’t caught on with the mainstream. For one thing, it doesn’t record shows the way TiVo and other digital video recorders do. And the need to sync the box with a computer was too complicated for most consumers, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said.

“We’ve sold a lot of them, but it’s never been a huge hit,” Jobs said.

The new Apple TV, which will be available within a month, will give people access to the high-definition version of top movies, though Jobs didn’t say which movie studios have agreed to include their titles for streaming. Television episodes also be available, including such hits as “The Simpsons” and “Glee.”

People who watch content from Netflix Inc. streamed over the Internet can also access their “instant” queue through Apple TV.

Apple is offering rentals from News Corp.’s Fox, The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, ABC Family and Disney Channel and BBC America. Jobs said he hoped other television companies would join once the service gains popularity.

Some media companies have raised concerns that the 99-cent television rentals would undercut higher-priced offerings for permanent download, which sell for $1.99 and $2.99.

Earlier, Jobs unveiled a buttonless touch-screen iPod Nano that people control with swipes across the screen instead of with buttons. It will cost $149 for the 8 gigabyte version and $179 for 16 gigabytes. Like previous versions, the Nano has a built-in FM tuner and can display photos.

Apple also updated the iPod Touch, adding video-chat features similar to the newest iPhone. It has a front-facing camera for conducting video calls with other iPod Touch and iPhone users over Wi-Fi using Apple’s FaceTime program. A camera on the back can be used for taking snapshots and recording video. Prices are $229 to $399.

Jobs hosted the event for hundreds of journalists, bloggers and analysts Wednesday in a black crew neck rather than his usual turtleneck.

There, Jobs also showed off a new iPod Shuffle, the smallest, least expensive music player in Apple’s line. Like the most recent Shuffle, the new one can speak the names of playlists and songs. But Apple backtracked from its last design, which did away with physical buttons on the music player. The new $49 device brings back the square shape and buttons of Apple’s second-generation Shuffle.