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August 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Apple is close to signing a deal with Fox TV that would allow it to rent TV shows for 48 hours for 99 cents via its iTunes online store, published reports said on Tuesday. The company is also in advanced talks with CBS, NBC and ABC, the reports said. (Apple Chairman Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder in the Walt Disney Co., ABC’s corporate parent.) Bloomberg News reported that Apple intends to make episodes available for rent within 24 hours of their air date — commercial free. The service is expected to be announced on Sept. 7 at which the company is expected to unveil a $99 version of its Apple TV settop box, which can stream content from the iTunes store directly to TV sets, but which Jobs has repeatedly described as a “hobby.” “They’re trying to figure out how to do something huge in September,” a source familiar with talks told the New York Post. “They’re saying this rental plan is a test for Apple, and they want to see if it works.” By making the TV shows available on an a la carte basis, Apple takes itself out of competition with subscription-based systems offered by cable companies and online services like Hulu. But some analysts warned that it could cannibalize DVD sales of TV shows. Reuters quoted Tom Adams, president of Screen Digest Inc., as saying, “In a sense, this rental model undercuts purchase, but it’s the way the world is going.”