Apple continues to explore giving consumers some cheaper-priced television -- all to move its flagging Internet-to-TV business. The price for Apple TV, its much-maligned device/service that connects TV sets with movies, TV, and Internet content, has now been cut by two-thirds -- to just $99 from its original $299 deal.
But the new thinner device isn't a DVR-like storage unit -- just a means to get TV and film content, which is rented rather than purchased. Analysts say this makes sense -- especially for TV -- since consumers rarely watch the same episode more than once.
Good news for those concerned about commercial messaging for premium content on Apple TV -- there isn't any. That differentiates Apple TV from other free, ad-supported TV efforts. The price for first-run movies on Apple TV is $4.99 and 99 cents for episodes of TV shows.
In the announcement from Apple, Chairman/CEO Steve Jobs says the move was made to lift Apple TV because consumers are pushing for lower prices for premium TV and film content. "They don't want a computer on TV," he added.
Content partners for the new Apple TV deal include Disney-ABC, Fox, and Netflix. In addition to the previous high price point, critics complain that Apple TV didn't have enough premium content to drive business.
"When we put our shows on iTunes five years ago, it was revolutionary," stated Anne Sweeney, co-chair Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group. "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."