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Apple With Modest Expectations for 'iTV' and TV Show Rentals?


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Bloomberg Businessweek's Peter Burrows writes a follow-up to his earlier report disclosing Apple's plans to announced 99-cent TV show rentals alongside a revamped Apple TV and updated iPod touch at a September 7th media event. The new piece focuses on Apple's ambitions with the video rental service, which Burrows notes is not expected to be a game-changer in the same sense that the iPod and iPhone remade their markets.My sense is that Apple doesn't plan to overplay its hand, by making too much of this mobile TV opportunity. This isn't another "revolution" in the making. Even if Apple wanted to try for that, studios have all but nullified the possibility by refusing to let Apple sell subscriptions to your favorite shows, to be watched whenever and as many times as you like.According to Burrows' source, Apple will primarily pitch the video rental service for "catch-up viewing", allowing users to watch episodes of their favorite series they may have missed or to try out shows recommended by friends.

And despite the rumored $99 price tag for the new Apple TV or "iTV", even Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself is reportedly holding only modest expectations for the device's sales potential.Even with the refresh, Jobs isn't convinced the new version will be a mainstream hit, says the person familiar with Apple's plans. Most consumers aren't ready to cut the cord to their cable company, or put up with the tech-nastics required to stream content from the iTunes collection on their PC to their living room big-screen TV. In other words, it's a product that at best will delight some of the "hobbyists" that have always been interested in the product.Rumors of a TV show rental service from Apple surfaced early last month as an alternative to the company's original plan to work with the networks to offer a monthly subscription package.

Article Link: Apple With Modest Expectations for 'iTV' and TV Show Rentals?


macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2010
Brooklyn, NY
It would be unrealistic to think it would change the market in the first place. It will be one more thing that increases traffic in the iTunes Store.

Sky Blue

Jan 8, 2005
I would think most hobbyists would prefer a more robust combination of something along the lines of a Mini + Plex.

Poll Smoker

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2007
It would be unrealistic to think it would change the market in the first place. It will be one more thing that increases traffic in the iTunes Store.

Tell that to those nerds who were orgasming en masse over the recent rumors.

Ooooh! I'm going to get rid of my cable!!!1!



macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2009
If I could get my favorite sports team's games live on my ipad in a quality that is even half way decent I'd cut the cord with the cable company in a second. I'm soooo tired of paying for channels I have no intention watching, and with out the ability to pick the channels I want a la carte, I refuse to pay the fees that the cable company want for the myriad of crap they are serving.

I like the idea of the 99 cent tv show rental, although I'd rather have the subscription option described here.

In the meantime, it's watching sports at my favorite watering hole, and running up a bar tab that is probably equal to, if not greater than my cable bill :rolleyes: At least I've got a buzz...


macrumors 68000
Sep 7, 2004
Salt Lake
It's also...

It's also a market with so many existing players... Apple needs to make a presence in the living room before it even thinks of taking a large piece.

The point of it being for 'tech savvy hobbyists' I think is adequate. I know there are a few of us who are using dedicated G4/G5 towers specifically for streaming headless. For me however I do have to re-start iTunes or AppleTV on occasion. The average consumer would not be so forgiving when they have to troubleshoot a problem.

That being said. A $99 (highly mobile) wireless adapter that can take advantage of the iTunes store, and stream from your MacBook or iMac, would be a sweet spot for many consumers I think. It's not a game changer but it is getting a footing.


macrumors 68000
Feb 4, 2010
It's not an attitude problem on Steve's part, it's the reality of the network business. They do NOT want to cooperate with Steve for they fear he will become a chokehold on their business. So the networks will resist and dither away more months and years while BitTorrent nullifies any argument they want to make about Apple.

The movie and TV business is where the music business was in the late 90s. Whether they wake up in time to avoid the fate of the music companies is open to question. They still have their broadcast (TV) and theatrical (movies) model that brings in money, but the home market is ramping up fast and they need to get on the truck that is barreling down the highway or else be left behind.

They could do a lot worse than cooperate with Steve and give people a reasonable alternative to BitTorrent.


macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2008
The back of beyond.
I think that history shows that they can only be cautious in this market. I still reckon that promoting apps that stream that are owned and controlled by the content provider will be the best way of keeping most interested parties happy. Buying from iTunes or even renting will always seem the equivalent of buying/renting a dvd rather than a replacement for broadcast like a streaming pay per month or ad supported service would be.


macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2008
"Most consumers aren't ready to cut the cord to their cable company......"

Really?? I sure am! The prices are insane if you want to watch only two or three shows on two or three channels of the hundreds they force you to subscribe to.

If Apple do this right they can actually revolutionize the TV industry, but this report makes it sound like they aren't really thinking too hard about what they can offer and how they can offer it.

I'm sure there are also tons of independent film makers, short story producers, etc. that would love the opportunity to throw their content onto an iTunes audience. .......similar to the way you can find way more musicians/bands on iTunes than the local shop.


macrumors newbie
May 12, 2010
Hulu and Netflix

I'm only interested if it will also stream Hulu and Netflix so I can stop attaching my laptop to the TV. Otherwise, why would I pay 99 cents a show or more for something I already get for free?


macrumors 6502
Oct 6, 2003
O Donny Boy
Going in with that attitude, of course it's not going to be a hit. :rolleyes:

If he genuinely has non-belief in such a product then why the hell is he not letting the average Mac user at least the "option" of Blu-ray playback on their Macs?

And no, I don't care for rip or Bootcamp playback work-arounds... I really don't get it - the attitude stemming from Jobs is becoming ever more infuriating... :mad:

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what the new iTV / ATV entails...


macrumors 603
Mar 27, 2009
The World Inbetween
I'm only interested if it will also stream Hulu and Netflix so I can stop attaching my laptop to the TV. Otherwise, why would I pay 99 cents a show or more for something I already get for free?

Firstly, you don't get Hulu for free. Its paid for by that propaganda being pushed into your head each time you watch a video. (Yes, I do consider a lot of American Ads to be at least borderline propaganda)

Secondly, Hulu sucks. Pay $5 a month for Megavideo and get access for far more than Hulu. :D


macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
Quebec, Canada
If he genuinely has non-belief in such a product then why the hell is he not letting the average Mac user at least the "option" of Blu-ray playback on their Macs?

If he has such non-belief in a product, why even bother ? A LG BD370 sounds like a better option everyday. Full DLNA streaming, including MKV container support and Blu-ray to boot. All connected either through Ethernet or Wi-Fi. For 149$ most places.


macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
Boston, MA
I think the only game change would be a TV set that integrates itunes, basically the rumored "Apple TV set". However this doesn't make sense if the concept isn't fully supported by the studios. The studios are too stupid to see where the market is going.

My TV consumption is down by 95%. I only watch a few shows through Hulu because it's simply too inconvenient for my lifestyle to be at home and watch a show at 10pm till 11pm. And I don't want to go throught the expense and hassle of recording and viewing at home only. This also means I'm not buying a large new TV because I'm not using it enough.

The studios have to accept that they will lose lots of viewers over the next few years because many people shift their media entertainment to the computer. If the studios don't come up with a convenient and cheap model that can compete with Hulu and the likes they will lose a lot of the younger generation.


macrumors regular
Apr 3, 2003
Forget TV content

One word, actually 3 letters: iOS

Think about it, it has to appeal to international market, iTV for the US and concentrate on TV content is not going to make it a feasible product, why do you think it'll be $99? How many TV shows would you have to buy just for them to make enough profit? I'd imagine they are selling it at loss in the beginning, think apps, games, social networking, face time...


macrumors 68000
Sep 15, 2004
I already cut the cord on cable and get by with an Apple TV and hooking my MacBook up to my TV. It works great, but sports is an issue. But you have to make choices and I just couldn't justify the $70 a month they were charging me for cable.

Something like this would just make my current situation better.


macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2005
Personally , I don't care about renting movies or TV shows from iTunes. Just want the ability to stream pics, music and home movies. Local storage would be nice. Hopefully larger than the 160GB current models. I know this can be done with the current ATV, but I may was well wait to see what the new ones will have to offer.


macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2007
99 cents an episode for a rental is a hard thing to rationalize. I've been without cable for a couple of years now, using 100% AppleTV. It hasn't been much, if any, cheaper and I watch very little TV compared to most people. 99 cent rentals might change that.

I keep thinking that shows like Lost or Battlestar would be something I'm going to watch in the future, so why not buy? In fact though, I average less than 50 episodes a month of TV, so at 99 cents, I'm still ahead over cable even if I rented something twice (just get over it). Not everybody can say that, which is why this isn't going to go over that great.

I appreciate not having the comercials and I have a reasonable income, so even if I'm not beating cable, I'm still fairly happy in the current price structure.


macrumors member
Jan 28, 2009
I doubt that it's been mentioned in these terms, but is it possible that they're building tv streaming into, say, airport? Given its current ability to handle itunes, an extension that makes streaming to your tv as easy would be my money in Apple's pocket.


macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2009
I'm only mildly excited to see what's up and coming with Apple TV...personally I'd like them to fix devices I use regularly that I've had nothing but headache with, i.e. Streaming iTunes to my Airport Express which is hardwired to my network and STILL drops audio.

Oddly enough, using Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil to stream Pandora or Slacker I don't have issue even when streaming to a wireless airport; but even Airfoil doesn't like streaming to iTunes, so it's definitely an iTunes problem.


macrumors regular
Apr 7, 2009
Go hard or go home

with my 'basic' cable bill reaching $100, having some kind of subscription would make so much sense. Of course the content providers will balk at something but even if the shows have advertisements in them I am sure the subscription would be much less than $100.

Apple should really think about what is the play here. They are so focused with everything else and with AppleTV / iTV they waffling (like everyone else).

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