An Open Request to Apple: Rent Shows Through iTunes



If you’re like me, you have one of many choices to view your television shows. TiVo, your own DVR, Netflix, Hulu, cable — whatever makes you happy. But for the last 6 months, I’ve been trying to budget both my time and money. In doing so, I’ve cut cable completely.

Between regular channels (with no DVR) and Hulu, I’ve been able to keep current with most of my favorite shows. However there is only so much I can keep up with on Hulu, and so much eye strain I can take from a 13-inch screen.

I propose, and with the community’s support, that rentals should be extended to television shows within iTunes. I’d love nothing more then the opportunity to rent a series, or subscribe to it for less than half the current price to own a TV series from the iTunes store.

This would allow viewers to watch within 24 hours of a current show, instead of waiting for up to two weeks with other free, online services. It would also allow viewers the comfort of watching premium content and shows completely commercial-free, where and when they please. If a current standard definition video sells for $2.99, would it not be possible to rent a single episode for 50 cents? This would roughly make a season of 12 episodes about $6, or $11 for a 22-episode series. Depending on how many seasons or shows you watch in a year, this could be really cost-effective.


jeff reff

I agree with harkjohnny. Boxee is the way to go. Works great for me.


@jeff, I could only be happier with my setup if I could have :)

I ditched satellite 18 months ago and never looked back. everything I need/want to watch is available on the net for download, works wonderfully streaming to boxee on my AppleTV and looks pretty fantastic on my 42″ plasma.

Spencer Schoeben

I certainly think that their needs to be a way to rent a “season pass”. That would rock. Though, renting an episode would be stupid. They could implement something where you can only have 3 episodes at a time or something. That way, it would be a little more under control.

Joshua Parker

Wow, I was thinking about this for some time now. Spending $2 per episode of House can get expensive. Being able to rent a show or series of shows would be great. If Apple moves in this direction, then I would cancel my Netflix for sure since I am not renting as much as I used to.


I doubt we’ll see a full move to TV episode rentals any time soon, but is there a happy medium? Maybe something along the lines of bundling multiple episodes together for a rental the price of a movie. That way, it wouldn’t cut into the TV episode sales too much, but would still offer a rental service more similar to a DVD, where multiple episodes are packaged on one disc. I can see networks getting behind this with less kicking and screaming.


and everyone who currently buy their TV shows thru iTunes would switch to renting instead.

as far as I can tell, people currently buy TV shows because there is no option to rent. they have no real requirement to keep it after they have watched it, whereas movies are treated differently – TV is far more disposable than movies.

I have always thought of TV thru iTunes as a premium-priced service and I knew immediately that I would never use it, but that is because I have other options. however, were they to turn it into a cheaper DVR-replacement-like service, that would be a different matter, although probably not as easy to achieve as you may think, given all of the costs involved.

perhaps we will see this in the near future. Apple seem to be arranging their tech for a further attack on the home media space. I’m surprised that we still haven’t seen an LCD with integrated Apple TV + other goodies branded as the home TV.


Really want rental of TV shows and… if somehow they could stream some live events too I would do away with cable/satellite. That would be a MAJOR breakthrough for Apple TV.. not to become a PVR but to REPLACE cable/satellite.


I say don’t need it…. why pay for a show that is provided freely over the airwaves? download them from and watch it on Boxee

Comments are closed.