• Apple in the Living Room: Netflix and 99-Cent TV Shows

    Apple will announce 99-cent rentals of TV shows from US broadcasters Fox and ABC at today's event, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal's report last night said that some Fox execs are worried about the pricing, but are going along with it as an "experiment" and to strengthen the relationship with Apple. Also, Bloomberg is reporting that the new $99 Apple TV expected to be announced today will be able to stream content from Netflix. Users would have to pay a monthly subscription fee of $8.99 for the service.

    The Wall Street Journal's report, quoting the usual "people familiar with the matter," claimed that there was significant debate inside Fox about getting involved in Apple’s proposed Apple TV plans. The doubters are said to believe that the scheme might cause them to lose money by moving the TV business away from the traditional ad-based model. In the end, though, News Corp. which owns Fox – like Disney which owns ABC and has Steve Jobs as a major shareholder – decided to get on board as "a way to experiment with new pricing and distribution for TV shows," as the Journal report put it. Other major US TV networks like NBC and CBS are likely going to wait and see how the "experiment" goes before getting involved.

    The TV content would be viewable on any computer or mobile device that can run iTunes, doubtless including the Apple TV, which is expected to be drastically revamped. Bloomberg is quoting "three people with knowledge of the plans" as saying that the new Apple TV will see a price drop of $130 US to $99, and will include programming from Netflix. The video-rental-by-mail company has an online service that makes movies and TV shows available by direct streaming for a price of $8.99 a month. Free Netflix "Watch Instantly" content would also presumably be available.

    The movies would be streamed from Netflix's servers, but the new TV show content would reportedly all be hosted at Apple's server farm in North Carolina. Cult of Mac is claiming that today's live streaming event will be set up as that facility's first major test, as millions tune in to see whether any of these rumors are true.

    Sources: AppleInsider, CNET
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