Updated: Apple event September 7, return of the $0.99 iTunes TV show rental rumors?

Chad says we buried the lede: Bloomberg also claims Apple's annual special music -- and this time TV -- event will be held September 7. That's not official, of course. We'll only know for sure when Apple sends out the invitations.

Remember those rumors of $0.99 iTunes TV show rentals? They're back. This time with word that FOX-owner Newcorp is in "advanced talks" over the service. CBS and Disney (which has Steve Jobs as their largest share holder) are also rumored to be involved.

Rentals would last 48hrs and would bring even more content to the newly launched iPad and iPhone 4, and upcoming iPod touch 4 and... iOS Apple TV/iTV?

According to Bloomberg Apple originally wanted to offer subscription a la carte TV, which failed due to networks not wanting to put their relationships with cable companies in jeopardy. (Sigh).

While a la cart TV exists outside the US (I pay $20 for 20 a la carte channels on my provider) it hasn't been adopted by existing American providers. Would $0.99 rentals be a good alternative? Just one show a day would average $30 a month, so even if it's a step in the right direction, it's a tiny little hesitant one. And it doesn't even begin to address live sporting events.

In an ideal world iTunes and iOS would be a complete, non-linear, on-demand TV replacement. Absent that, are individual ABC, Hulu +, and MLB apps are better solution? Or do we really have to wait for the dinosaurs of old media to become extinct simply so that consumers can pay them to watch what we want, when we want, and where we want?


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Updated: Apple event September 7, return of the $0.99 iTunes TV show rental rumors?


$.99 a show no thanks. I guess if u watch one show a day it's a good alternative to cable, but I want like sports and like 3 or 4 shows a day.

How abut this? It took a couple of years of downloading free music to allow iTunes 99 cent songs. I'm not budging on pirating until I get what I want from Big Media.
Netflix gladly accepts my 9.61 a month for unlimited instant viewing. Guess iTunes will drop the ball on this one as well.

Well if the event is on the 7th they could have had another Beta for the iOS. Maybe we might get a few surprises? I hope so!

what's sad is a lot of the big media guys think that is reasonable, but it's really not. with taxes.. thats $1.10 or so in my state. if this is all they have, wait and watch, that service would be an UBER FAIL. and one thing i do is channel surf, not really really watching the tv, mostly more into my laptop / writing / course work / etc. if there's anything interesting on i might pay attention for a while. I'd love an a-la-carte system. bring it on suckas! oh and cough cough, pirates, FTW!

@ Duhh - "$.99 a show no thanks. "
But what if $0.99 per show meant ad-free viewing? With no fast-forwarding or 30-second-skipping over commercials?
And what if you had the option to watch the same show for free with iAds? Just a thought.

Ummm, i already have streaming netflix on all myths in my house via XBox or iPad. I fail to seen what niche this fills. And btw, $8/month for netflix is WAY better than the rumors put pricing for iTV, almost anyway you slice it. It better have some pretty innovative failures if this wants to do well. And this come a from the owner of a MacBook pro, multiple iPod touches, and an iPad.

Netflix IPhone App (now)
Hulu Plus Lite (free)
ESPN Mobile Games Subscription (tomorrow)
A la carte cable
Broadband speeds, costs and availability like non USA countries

I really don't see where they are going with this. $.99 per show, per day?? To be able to watch it when I want?? My DVR does this already, for free. And I can keep the programs as long as I want to. Granted, I cannot watch them on my phone, but why would I?? Need to see just how this will be sold. I'm sure it will be "completely magical" and everything, but who will pay for this service at a buck a show? If you are planning to watch a program at a later date, Hulu does this already for free if you do not have a DVR. I don't want to say crash and burn, but I'm starting to smell smoke.