How cool would it be to be able to rent TV shows?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Tweeksy, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. Tweeksy macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    There is talk of HD TV shows being available next week, but I would find a rentable model more appealing. With shows like prison break (which rocks) I got into them late, love the idea of being able to watch the new series as they come out (with season pass) but I don't really want to own them, would be better if they were cheaper and only let you watch them twice or something!

    This would make ATV more of a replacement for cabletv to, and would be an ideal model for supplementing the rental cost with commercials.

    Would anyone else use this feature if it were available?
  2. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Why can't you just watch it on TV? You are already paying for it by TV license, subscriptions and/or adverts.

    TV rentals wouldnt work in my opinion but then again I am a 'purchaser' that prefers to purchase movies etc rather than rent. I just hope that we can buy HD movies soon.

    I also wish they would bump up the ATV spec and allow 1080p stuff. :p
  3. fortygreen macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2008
    I too would love to be able just to rent tv programs. We have just got into prison Break as well and have been renting box sets from Blockbuster, you get them that way at a good price but you have to watch a lot in 7 days! I was going to buy the series from itunes but though we will probably only watch it once and it's a lot of hard drive space. They would need to charge a lot lower price than the purchase option though.
  4. JML42691 macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2007
    I don't think that we will be seeing that, especially with most TV shows being on the network's site for about a month following their original airing for free. (At least for major network TV shows in the US: ABC, NBC, CBS)
  5. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020


    Aug 16, 2007
    Yes, but for FREE.

    I wouldn't (in a million years) pay for a TV program when I already pay for it through my cable provider. Lord knows I already pay way too much....

  6. Aegelward macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2005
    It would however be quite nice if apple included TV shows under a monthly/yearly subscription that people keep pining on about for itunes
  7. GregA macrumors 65816

    Mar 14, 2003
    Sydney Australia
    I'd love to be able to rent TV shows. In theory, whatever NBC network makes out of commercials when I watch, that's what I should pay.

    In practice, we also need to pay for Apple's bandwidth. And the local NBC channel also gets less viewers so they have to recalculate how much they pay for the show.

    And the networks want you to watch one show and follow it up with another, they want to stop you from switching channels ... and that's something the traditional rental model doesn't immediately immitate. Perhaps they could bundle new shows with well-known & popular ones - for example when you finish watching Lost (rental), they might offer you half price rental on a new series IF you watch it now. Or we might pay a flat $10/week for every ABC show.

    Anyway, I'm all for rentals, I rarely need to watch something a second time.
  8. Tweeksy thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    In answer to your question:

    1. I am an idiot, and often miss programs or get into them way after they have aired!

    2. I don't have a PVR and would be ok with renting tv shows at a reasonable/subsidised cost. Could buy one but then see 1, would often forget or get into a show after it has been aired. I love the movie on demand functionality of the ATV (rent SD movie and be watching it 30 secs later!).

    3. Technically if I bought a big monitor and sold my TVs I could stop paying the license fee, as it is only for radio broadcast TV reception (and most programming is not worth watching).

    4. I don't have cable or sat, so don't get a lot of shows till way after they have aired and I'm to impatient to wait or illegally download them.

    5. As per 4, at the moment I have no other way of receiving HD programming, not paying the insane cable/Sky cost of having HD.
  9. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Since purchasing a single TV episode costs $1.99, rental would have to be free (ad supported) or no more than $0.99.
  10. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    There are many reasons why renting TV shows beats the heck out of trying to find what you want on cable/satellite. My wife and I starting renting TV shows on DVD from NetFlix years ago and it's a great way to watch TV shows. Here are a few of the reasons:

    1. No commercials. You can watch three "half-hour" episodes in just over an hour (they're about 24 minutes each with credits, so maybe 22 minutes if you skip commercials). (Obviously this is not such a big deal if you have a DVR, but it's still a deal; see next point.)

    2. They're uncut. When TV shows go into syndication, they always cut a couple of minutes out so they can put in more commercials. And did I mention there are no commercials?

    3. You can watch them in order from the beginning. My wife and I have gone through several TV series all the way through. Some shows make more sense when you watch them in the order they were intended to be aired (instead of haphazardly catching them on TV).

    4. Not every TV show worth watching is on TV. For instance, there's a lot of British stuff that's really well done, but not routinely shown.

    5. It's hard to beat the value. One NetFlix rental can give you up to eight episodes/disc. Is it better than free (or already paid for)? In my opinion, yes (for the various reasons mentioned and some I'm probably forgetting).

    In my mind, iTunes rentals has no chance of beating out NetFlix until they offer TV rentals at a reasonable price. Buy them for $1.99/episode? That may be reasonable if you want to own them, but it’s outrageous if you just want to watch them once. With NetFlix, we average over 8 DVDs/month for about $18. That would only buy 9 TV episodes from iTunes, but for renting it can be 20, 30, 40 or more episodes (depending upon the show and how many episodes are available per disk).
  11. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    Renting TV shows make a lot of sense when you miss an episode and don't want to watch it on your computer. I hated paying $1.99 just to catch an episode of Lost, and then removing it from my computer. What is the point of saving them unless you are collecting the whole season?

    The question is what would you charge for them? $0.99? Less?

    I was always amazed that NBC Universal pulled their stuff from iTunes. It seemed to me that they got cold-hard-cash from me when I purchased a show, but didn't really get anything from me for watching one of their commercials on the computer. They certainly didn't get $1.99 worth of value from me.

    You could even leave the commercials in the downloads and make them free. That would work for me.

    If the shows were available in HD, I would consider renting more, so I could catch shows that aren't available to me in HD (like BSG for example).

    Things like this would make the Apple TV even more appealing.
  12. JML42691 macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2007
    I don't see them charging anything more than $.49 for a rental, figuring most shows cost $1.99 to own. I don't see them doing rentals at all though.
  13. soberbrain macrumors 65816


    May 9, 2008

    Also, I'm looking for an easy to use and cheaper alternative to TiVo and having it integrate better with my computer and iPod would be great. TiVo works well, but it's very expensive when it's added to the the cost of TV.

    I would really like an Apple TV with recording capabilities. With the rumors of iTunes subscription service, it would be great to record TV shows on Apple TV and then have the option of buying the show or Complete My Season.
  14. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    I think it would make the most sense to charge a bundle rate for TV shows. The price might vary by the length of the show or how recent it is. So, maybe pay $1.99 for four hour-long episodes or eight half-hour episodes. For recent releases, maybe they could give you less episodes for the same price.
  15. northy124 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
  16. shiseiryu1 macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    How About...Free Shows w/ Ads

    I think it would be cool to be able to watch the shows for free if you are willing to watch ads (just like on normal tv). This way I wouldn't need a Tivo or pay to watch the show; I could just watch it on demand with some ads...I could live with that.
  17. dieseltwitch macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2008
    This is why i killed my dish and now i just buy through apple TV. now i can take my shows with me every where on my phone. i watch them on planes, in the hotels, lame lectures.... when i bored. i love it! LOL even with DVRs getting a season pass far out weighs Sat or Cable
  18. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    TiVo isn't free either (unless you pay hefty $399 in addition to the hardware for lifetime service). One would think $12.95/month (less if you prepay) subscription would include more than just TV guide and occasional software updates though.
  19. darklyt macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2007
    I would personally never rent a TV episode unless I was just trying out the show for the very first time. I prefer to have the show to come back to anytime that I want. And, since I tend to watch the shows multiple times, I definitely make the purchase worthwhile. So far I've watched Lost seasons 1-4 two times and Prison Break seasons 1-3 three times (plus some occasional viewing of a season or specific episodes apart from watching the whole series in order). Having to rent each episode or season every time I want to watch it would drive me nuts, and will probably cost me more in the long run over my lifetime.

    (Fox needs to give Apple some House.)
  20. northy124 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
    NBC Universal hold the rights to House M.D. not FOX.
  21. GregA macrumors 65816

    Mar 14, 2003
    Sydney Australia
    That's almost a 'virtual PVR'. Basically Apple is 'recording' the show + ads off your local city channel, and you play it back on your AppleTV. However... there's not really anything in it for Apple there if they show the local channel's ads, Apple needs to make some money somewhere (probably) :) Perhaps a TiVo style subscription is enough for them?

    Then again, you're really saying that Apple should kind of be its own cable channel (with downloads of shows instead of live) - showing the same shows as the FTA in the same time frame but with their own ads and no subscription fee. Naturally the FTAs won't allow it if they can stop it, that's their turf.

    In the long run, the old flow of money will change to a new system. TV channels don't want to reduce their importance, but as new shows are created new licenses will be made which allow the producers to also rent over the internet so they won't have any choice. In Australia, some US FTA series go to PayTV and show later on FTA.

    So it'll happen - but I'm not sure how Apple can encourage the change. The networks really don't want anything to change - PVRs mean ad skipping (as do Apple downloads including the ads), rental money would also by-pass the networks. Perhaps Apple has to do every legal thing (like PVRs) for its customers, while they annoy the networks but offer a carrot of working with them to maintain revenue in new ways. I don't know.
  22. darklyt macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2007
    Oh, wow. Didn't realize that. Seemed like Fox held the rights since it's on their channel and website. Thanks.

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