Apple close to deal over TV show rentals

Dylan Bushell-Embling
26 Aug 2010

Apple is reportedly in talks with US television studios on offering TV show rentals through iTunes, and plans to slash the prices of its Apple TV device, in an effort to stay competitive in the television market.

Sources close to the negotiations told that Apple was planning to debut 48-hour rentals of TV shows.

Fox has already signed on to the project, some sources said, while others such as NBC and Walt Disney Co are also in talks.

But CBS and Time Warner have apparently been resistant to the show rental concept, fearful that the move could eat into profits rather than augment them.

Apple plans to make episodes available commercial-free within 24 hours of being shown on TV.

Its underperforming Apple TV set top box is also set for an overhaul, the sources said. Apple is planning a $99 version of the device with a smaller hard drive.

Apple TV - which allows content streaming from iTunes, YouTube and other internet content - was launched three years ago but has not repeated the success of Apple's other consumer devices.

Apple is feeling the heat of competition from television content rivals such as streaming services Hulu and Netflix, according to the sources, and hopes the rental project will help it compete.

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