Apple seems to have quietly removed the option to rent TV shows from iTunes Store and Apple TV on Friday.
Last year, when Apple introduced the second generation Apple TV, it adopted the rental model instead of the purchase model as Apple TV 2G came with only 8GB storage. So Apple TV 2G users could rent first-run HDTV movies at a price of $4.99, while single episodes of TV shows in HD were available for $0.99.
Earlier in the month, Apple had released Apple TV 4.3 Software Update, which allowed users to also purchase TV shows on second generation Apple TV. It was probably sign of things to come.
Apple’s decision to kill the 99-cent TV show rentals and move to a purchase model for TV shows is not surprising as the rental model didn’t really take off because TV shows only from Fox and ABC were available for rent as other networks didn’t like the idea of renting out TV shows only for $0.99.
The option to rent episodes of TV shows is no longer available on either the Apple TV, or when browsing content via Apple’s iTunes application. Previously, participating networks offered users the ability to rent a TV episode for 99 cents, with 30 days to begin watching and 48 hours to complete it.
As further evidence that the ability to rent TV shows has been removed completely, an Apple support document entitled “iTunes Store: How to rent TV shows,” has been removed from the Web. A Google cache of the page is still available.
Apple has issued the following statement to All Things Digital:
“iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose.”
What do you think about Apple’s move to kill 99-cent TV show rentals?