Apple Negotiating 99-Cent TV Show Rental Deal

Corroborating previous rumors of an Apple TV show rental deal, Bloomberg reported that Apple is in advanced talks with News Corp. to offer 48-hour rentals of shows viewed on the Fox network.

In addition, according to Bloomberg, Apple is reportedly also making similar deals with other networks, such as CBS and Disney, where Apple CEO Steve Jobs is a board member and the largest shareholder.

The deal, if executed, would give Apple users access to some of the most popular shows on TV within 24 hours after they air. It would also give iTunes a huge leg up over competitors such as Netflix and, which compete with iTunes for online music downloads but also offer their own online video streaming services. iTunes is currently the biggest retailer of music and mobile apps and analysts argue that adding a programming component would be a necessary step for Apple to retain its competitive edge.

Just like an iTunes download, the shows would be playable on just about every Apple device -- the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad -- as well as Apple TV and users' computers. However, the 99-cent pricetag per episode would be half of what it currently costs to view a TV show via iTunes, which currently is around $1.99. And unlike Hulu or regular TV, the 99-cent Apple TV shows would be commercial free.

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To make the deal more appealing, Apple plans to unveil a new version of the iPod Touch, with a higher resolution screen for better viewing.

Apple also plans to offer a $99 version of its Apple TV set-top box -- tentatively dubbed iTV -- that will come with a smaller hard drive than previous versions and will allow users to stream iTunes content. Reports indicate that the new Apple TV device will run Apple's iOS mobile operating system and be able to download apps from the App Store, according to Apple Insider.

Apple plans to hold an event in San Francisco Sept. 7 to officially launch the new TV rental service as well as the new line of products with enhanced video capabilities.

Rumors of a 99-cent Apple TV show rentals surfaced earlier in the summer, with speculation that, just like an iTunes download, users would have 30 days to view the acquired content, according to Apple Insider.

Meanwhile, Apple has attempted for months to broker a deal with the networks regarding a TV show rental service. The push was met with resistance in the past, but now it seems that the networks are more receptive as they struggle to retain their audiences