Apple Takes Another Crack At The TV

Apple, after sales of its first Internet-connected set-top never took off, on Wednesday launched a revamped $99 version of the device geared around streaming rentals, with 99-cent TV shows -- available from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America -- and access to Netflix's streaming-video service.

Consumers "want Hollywood movies and TV shows whenever they want them," CEO Steve Jobs said at the company's event in San Francisco. "They don't want amateur hour. They want professional content."

The new Apple TV, set to ship before the end of September, also will provide rentals of first-run movies for $4.99. A list of the movies and shows available for rental was not immediately available; however, Jobs showed a clip from Fox's Glee in his presentation.

Apple had been widely reported to have been close to landing deals with News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. to provide 48-hour rentals of their TV shows within one day of broadcast. With the new set-top, users have up to 30 days to start watching episodes and 48 hours to finish them or watch them multiple times. Currently, Apple's iTunes Store offers many episodes of TV shows for purchase, typically priced at $1.99 each.

"When we put our shows on iTunes five years ago, it was revolutionary," Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney said in a statement. "Since then, we've continued to provide viewers with innovative new ways to access our programming, and today we're proud to team with Apple on a rental option for fans of our shows."

Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos said in a statement, "We've enjoyed a long and valuable relationship with Apple and we're excited to be working with them over the next several months to explore this innovative offering."

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