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Apple Plans 99 Cent TV Downloads

Steve Jobs said to be in talks with Disney and Fox over content deal that could jumpstart iTV.
Apple is in talks with television networks in the hope of creating a service that would allow iTunes users to rent their favorite television programs for just $0.99 per episode, according to reports.

Among the networks said to be involved in the discussions is Walt Disney's ABC unit. The mouse house counts Apple CEO Steve Jobs among its board members. Under the plan, iTunes users could rent ABC shows such as "Cougar Town", "Grey's Anatomy", or "Lost" and view them on their iPhones or iPads for up to 48 hours.

Another network reportedly involved in the discussions, first revealed by The Wall Street Journal, is Fox. Fox's participation could make television hits such as "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons" available as downloads. CBS and NBC, however, are said to be leery of the idea given the paltry revenue they believe it would generate.

Beyond Apple's handheld devices, the rentals could also be streamed over iTV, a settop box-based digital media service Apple plans to roll out in the fall. iTV is a follow up to Apple TV, a Tivo-like service that failed to catch on.

Securing prime time content from major television networks could give iTV the jumpstart it needs to avoid Apple TV's descent into obscurity, experts said.

In launching iTV, Apple would be competing with Microsoft and Sony, both of which are looking to establish their consoles—the Xbox and PlayStation, respectively—as the entertainment hub for the digital home.

Apple shares were off .60%, to $238.50, in morning trading Wednesday.

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