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Summary:

Bloomberg is now reporting the next generation Apple TV, rumored to be renamed the iTV, will be unveiled at the annually anticipated Apple event next month. Apple is said to be in talks with networks to bring $0.99 rentals of television shows to the iTunes Store.

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UPDATE: Apple has sent out press invitations for a music themed event for Sept. 1. Historically, Apple has used the September event to launch new versions of its iPod line.

Bloomberg is now reporting the next generation Apple TV, rumored to be renamed the iTV, will be unveiled at the annually anticipated Apple event next month.

The event, which will supposedly take place on Sept. 7, will likely also launch the new iPod touch, which is rumored to have a Retina Display like the iPhone 4. Cameras and FaceTime support are also very likely. However, it’s the new Apple TV and associated content that is the focus of the latest rumor.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is in advanced talks with ABC, CBS, and FOX, as well as Time Warner, but possibly not NBC, to bring $0.99 rentals of television shows to the iTunes Store, something first unearthed by NewTeeVee a few weeks ago. Television shows would be available for rental within 24 hours of air date, and, similar to movie rentals, consumers would have 48 hours to finish viewing once started.

While a $0.99 rental is significantly less than buying an episode for $1.99 or $2.99, it appears that Apple has now abandoned ambitious plans for a subscription-based model for video at $30 a month.

As for the Apple TV — or possibly the iTV — it’s said to be getting both a price drop to $99 from $229, as well as an unspecified reduction in hard drive size. The emphasis would now be on streaming content, and that could be in keeping with rumors of Apple offering a cloud-based video-on-demand service.

It will be four years ago next month that Steve Jobs declared “Apple is in your living room” with the unveiling of what was then called the iTV. That became the Apple TV when it launched in 2007, followed by the “Take Two” relaunch in 2008.

To date, Apple has never released sales numbers for the Apple TV, and in 2008, Steve Jobs admitted to Fortune that the device, as well as every other set-top box had failed “– everybody’s tried. And everybody’s failed. We failed, so far.” It was at that time Jobs declared the Apple TV to be a “hobby” for Apple.

Unfortunately, that’s not likely to change if this latest iteration of the Apple TV turns out to be real. Simply lowering the price of television rentals and the device itself isn’t enough. The average show of 20 or so episodes would cost $25 a year, assuming no season pass discount. If you watch more than a few shows, cable television is still a better deal.

In order for the Apple TV, or iTV, to succeed it must transition from being an iTunes Store kiosk in the living room to an entertainment portal. That means allowing access to Netflix, Boxee and other video services. It also means a few simple games and apps, possibly using an iPhone or an iPod touch as a controller.

Whether this will be a re-imagining of Apple’s set-top box is clearly up to Apple, but based upon past releases the rumored iTV is looking like another rerun.

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  1. I practically gave up on getting movies to my AppleTV after several painfully slow downloads (up to six hours for a HD version of a movie). It turned “date night” into “tinker with my internet connection” night.

    If they haven’t fixed the delivery issues, it’s going to be the same old story.

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  2. “The average show of 20 or so episodes would cost $25 a year, assuming no season pass discount. If you watch more than a few shows, cable television is still a better deal.”

    Cable costs $700 to $1000 a year. How is $25 for a whole season of 25 episodes for lets say 10 different shows ($250) more expensive than $700?

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    1. Because it’s 25 shows, as opposed to 25 or 250 channels of shows, and of those rented shows don’t expect to True Blood or Mad Men for 99 cents an episode. That’s what any non-cable set-top box is competing with, and that’s why it will take more than 99 cent rentals to make the iTV a contender.

      A good start would be a “channel” for Netflix. Where have I seen one of those… perhaps on the iPad? That there isn’t Netflix access for the Apple TV, and likely will not be for the iTV, is just another reason why the Apple TV, whatever its name, will continue to fail.

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  3. Until Britain’s broadband improves, I’ll have to continue getting my movies on a Blu-Ray. It is still the only way to transfer a movie to where I live (less than an hour away from Central London).

    I’ll still buy one though because it’ll look pretty.

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  4. Yea, if it doesn’t do Netflix it ain’t gonna replace my Seagate TV thingy. Heck, even if the iTV did support Netflix it wouldn’t replace the GoFlexTV unless the Seagate unit broke (again). ESPN3 streaming, on the other hand, would have me first in line for one.

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  5. I’m skeptical that an event with a guitar as the main promotional piece is going to be used to announce an Apple TV revision. I expect this to be an iPod/iTunes only event. Look at the pasty events:

    Apple September Events
    9/9/2009: Apple Premieres iTunes 9, Apple Introduces New iPod nano With Built-in Video Camera, Apple Introduces New iPod touch Lineup, Apple’s iPod shuffle Now Starts at Just $59

    9/9/2008: Apple Introduces New iPod nano, Apple Introduces New iPod touch, Apple Announces iTunes 8, NBC Universal Returns to the iTunes Store, App Store Downloads Top 100 Million Worldwide

    9/5/2007: Apple Introduces All New iPod nano, Apple Introduces New iPod classic, Apple Unveils iPod touch, Apple Unveils the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, Apple and Starbucks Announce Music Partnership, Apple Sets iPhone Price at $399 for this Holiday Season

    9/12/2006: Apple Announces iTunes 7 with Amazing New Features, Apple Introduces the New iPod nano, Apple Unveils the New iPod shuffle, Apple Introduces the New iPod, NFL & Apple Offer 2006 NFL Highlights on the iTunes Store

    We’ll find out in time.

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  6. Shouldn’t the download speed problem be a local carrier issue and not an Apple thing?

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