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Summary:

We first reported that Apple was in discussions with TV networks to make episodes available for rental at a new 99-cent price point six weeks ago, but a new report provides more detail on how those discussions are going and when the service will launch.

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We first reported that Apple was in discussions with broadcast TV networks to make their shows available for rental at a new 99-cent price point way back in early July, but a new report from Bloomberg provides a few more details on how those discussions are going and when we can expect the service to launch.

Bloomberg reports that Apple is in advanced discussions with News Corp to allow iTunes users to rent shows from Fox for 99 cents, as opposed to purchasing those shows at the current $1.99 price point for standard-def episodes and $2.99 for HD episodes. CBS, NBC Universal and Disney are also reportedly in discussions for the new rental pricing.

The new TV show rentals would give viewers access to TV episodes they’ve rented for 48 hours once they’ve started watching the show, according to Bloomberg. Under Apple’s movie rental rules, consumers ave 30 days after paying for a movie to begin watching it, and 24 hours to finish it after they’ve begun watching a rented film. Under the proposed TV rental plan, episodes will become available within 24 hours after their original air date.

Apple’s rental plan could be announced as early as Sept. 7, when the company plans to hold an event in San Francisco, Calif. according to multiple reports. Also expected at that event is the unveiling of Apple’s next-generation broadband set-top box, the iTV, which will replace its current Apple TV product. According to reports, that device will run iOS, the same operating system used by the iPhone and iPad, and will have Flash memory as opposed to a hard drive for storage. The new iTV product is rumored to sell for as little as $99.

One casualty from the 99-cent TV rental plan is Apple’s proposal for a subscription streaming service that would allow consumers to pay $30 a month for unlimited access to live and on-demand content from broadcast partners. That plan appears to be too close to a cable offering, which could make content owners nervous as they enter retransmission discussions with pay TV distributors.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: Apple’s Path to the Living Room (subscription required)

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  1. “consumers ave 30 days after paying for a movie to begin watching it, and 24 hours to finish it after they’ve begun watching a rented film.”
    Just about everyone does this. But I never understood it’s purpose?

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