Why would I pay $.99 to rent a TV episode when . . .

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by NebulaClash, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    . . . I can just DVR it for free?

    Help me understand the economics of renting episodes. I can understand it if you throw away your cable box and use Apple TV as a focused substitute for several shows. I can understand it if you view it as the cost of losing ads (though it's easy to fast forward right past them on the DVR).

    So if I have a cable connection, and I have a Tivo, what circumstance can you think of would make me want to rent an episode?
  2. Dysfnctnl85 macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    Maybe your cable package doesn't include channels/shows that are available on AppleTV.
  3. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2010
    None. I don't get Apple tv, either. You can netflix on your computer, ps3, wii, wait a whole day to get the discs in the mail, watch old tv episodes online for free, buy dvds of tv for next to nothing on ebay, etc. etc.
  4. dizzy130 macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2010
    None, if you don't want to cancel your Tivo. I canceled Tivo and my cable, and even I don't see a need to pay .99 to rent an episode because I'd rather stream from the network websites with ads for free.

    I do have a season pass to Mad Men for $20 because AMC doesn't stream. If they offered me a rental season pass for $10, I'd consider it. Mad Men is only 13 episodes per season, and I understand most shows are $35 for a season pass - so the rental would probably have to be around $18 or so.
  5. NebulaClash thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    I don't need to cancel my Tivo, I have lifetime service paid for.

    To me TV is very simple: I record anything I want and as much as I want. If I want to save anything permanently (not often, but if I want to), I merely copy it from my Tivo to my Mac. From there it can go on a DVD disc if I wanted to (I don't).

    I simply cannot think of a circumstance where I would want to rent TV episodes unless I chose to get rid of my cable bill entirely.

    And BTW, this is coming from a current Apple TV owner. I love it, but part of what I enjoy is that I've got hundreds of shows sitting on its hard disk. I use Apple TV to rent (or buy) movies. It's my Blockbuster substitute, as it were.
  6. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Well, DVR isn't free, but it's certainly much less than $.99 per view. Cable providers and TiVo charge for both the DVR service and the hardware. Plus, most have an upcharge for HD channels.

    I recently switched from Comcast to FiOS DVR and I also have an AppleTV. I've purchased many TV shows on iTunes and have many more ripped from DVD. I definitely prefer watching commercial free episodes on the AppleTV to fast forwarding through them on either DVR. I've never used a TiVo, so I don't know if they have managed to make Commercial Skip easy to use, but I find the skip-skip-skip-skip-skip-back sequence of cable DVRs quite irritating.

    Another irritation is the absurd number of channels that I get that I have no interest in having. I would love an a la carte plan that is economically competitive. $.99 per view isn't...

    I'm not ready to hop aboard the all rental model at .99 per episode, but if a season pass program comes out that averages a much lower price, then maybe. What I really want is a pay once then stream it for life service. I'd happily pay the current 1.99-2.99 purchase & download price for that!

    I think the biggest issue with the new service is that it's just ABC & Fox. Get some Basic Cable channels like History Channel, and especially the premiums like HBO and Showtime and it starts to get a lot more interesting.
  7. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
  9. akapaul macrumors member


    Feb 23, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I think ABC and Fox are just the beginning. If we had HGTV, TLC, Discover, Animal Planet, HBO, etc, this will be come more interesting.

    ABC and FOX have free OTA HD. There is no point in watching this on the iTV unless you are too lazy to fast forward commercials on your DVR.

    iTV does not replace the cable box because it is not yet cable.

  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I see little benefit of apple-tv given that there are other solutions available, some of which for less money then the 99¢ price
  11. Dysfnctnl85 macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    I agree with this -- but there needs to be a carrot for these networks. A cheap device with a growing market share may be that ticket.
  12. shiftyroach macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2006
    just my 2 cents. i watch(ed) lost and watch smallville. I watch Pawn Stars and certain discovery and history shows when they pique my interest.

    I see this as a great alternative for me and other low-volume tv viewers where I spend at most $3 a week on shows rather than pay Rogers $70+ for 100+ channels that I will never watch.

    i definitely don't see this is as a viable option for people who do watch several hours or more of TV a week.
  13. NebulaClash thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    Yeah, so if we say a typical monthly cable bill is $70, and let's posit a future where you can rent from all networks on Apple TV, then what is the break even point for TV watchers? I'm going to ignore Tivo since either you have it paid off (as I do), or you instead use a cable company DVR for a price built into that $70.

    $70/month = $17.50 per week, and that's quite a few weekly shows.

    Let's say you get your news and sports on the Web, so all you care about is episodic television. You like some HBO or Showtime or AMC shows, and some network shows. Maybe there are 10-12 shows you want to see, and they average about 20 new episodes per season. So 12 shows X 20 episodes on average = $240/year to watch all the shows you care about. Let's say you double it to allow for some repeat viewing, plus some one-off shows you rent above and beyond those 12 shows.

    $480/year is $40/month, around half what you pay now. So I guess as long as you are not renting some daily show (like the Daily Show, or some talk show), this can be a cost-effective approach for someone who wants to kick the cable habit and doesn't channel surf so much as engages in focused viewing.
  14. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    If you have cable TV, then it's not free (unless you have a real sweetheart deal). How much is your cable bill each month?

    Whoops! I see you just addressed that... :eek:

    We cut the satellite cable when the ATV came out 4 years ago. I bought an Eye TV Hybrid and stuck an antenna on my roof. We use the Mac as our DVR and stream to the Apple TV. So that's about as free as you can get. You still have to deal with commercials and the occasional signal drop outs.
  15. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    Until I can watch live sports on my TV though some other device, I will always have cable with a DVR, so renting TV shows would generally be a waste. About the only thing would be if I forgot to record a show I like (though I have season passes set up for that). If someone didn't care about sports, was willing to live with 720P instead of 1080p, and watched less than the cost of basic cable, it might make sense. I may get one just to stream movies from my Mac and watch Netflix.
  16. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    The technology is already there. I watched NCAA basketball live from CBS Sports last winter using Plex. There's a plug-in that accesses their streaming server. ESPN is a hold-out because they are cable/satellite. Same for Fox Sports Net. Until they decide to do streaming, you'll have to get your fix from cable, satellite, or your favorite bar. :)
  17. Bulldog3777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 2, 2009

    It is nice when you are on a 4 hr flight to watch the episodes.
  18. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Well, although I still have cable (the most basic $19/month service) I can't remember the last time I or anyone else in my family actually watched anything on it ... maybe the World Cup final? In fact, we're this close -><- to cancelling it totally ... the only reason we haven't is my wife likes watching TV in the basement while exercising.

    For the past year, anything I've watched has been Netflix, Hulu or three or four seasons a year bought from iTunes. Ads are incredibly annoying so if it's something I really like (eg Dr Who, Breaking Bad, last series of BSG) I find the season pass is worth it to keep up to date with them. $20/month Netflix plus 4 seasons on iTunes comes to about $400, or about 4 months of cable to get the channels with the content I watch.

    But I don't usually rewatch episodes. I back the bought episodes up to DVD (as data disks in case anyone says "liar, you can't do that") and remove them from my Mac.

    So 99c rentals would cut my expenditure even more, by about $200 per year ... that is, if BBC, AMC and SyFy (I hate that name) and a couple more providers were offering rentals.
  19. 87vert macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I still have basic cable also but only because they pay me to keep it. It costs me 12 a month but saves me 15 on my cable internet bill. :D

    I have it just for the tv in the basement also.
  20. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    Assuming cable is a must, it's a matter of economy. Do you use the DVR enough to warrant the $10 per month is likely costs? If you'd rent less than 10 shows per month, the ATV is cheaper. Still, I prefer using Hulu or one of the players specific to the websites or iPad. I can't even see myself renting TV episodes.
  21. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I'd take a look at the local library, if you have one around, for those TV box sets. They fly off the shelves here.
  22. AVonGauss macrumors regular

    Oct 6, 2006
    Boynton Beach, FL
    Its probably also worth throwing out there a typical cable company, if they pay for the channel at all, spends around $1 per month per subscriber on the high end.
  23. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    Yeah $.99 for network shows on 2 networks ain't going to get alot of folks excited. Although you can still purchase shows from nearly every network on iTunes on the computer.

    It's a step in the right direction. Hopefully it takes off enough to get others on board. Problem is might not take off until you get more on board. Catch-22.
  24. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    You're getting free cable?

    Paying for anything can't beat that, obviously... :rolleyes:
  25. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    You pay $0.00 a month for cable TV and the DVR? Chances are you pay about as much a month for your cable and DVR as it costs to buy an Apple TV. After the initial purchase, chances are you aren't spending as much a month on episode purchases as you would for cable.

    Ultimately it's up to the user if it's something they find useful. I don't see why every device Apple releases needs to have people bitch and moan because a single device doesn't fill every single need of every person in the world.

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