$0.99 Streaming TV Shows in iTunes?

A recent report (which, much like every other report about Apple, means a completely unsupported rumor) regarding the much-talked-about new version Apple TV, claims that lower priced streaming TV shows are on the way to iTunes.

According to sources, Apple is in negotiations with TV producers to allow it to rent shows for $0.99 as opposed to the $1.99 they charge for purchase of shows.  This would work much the same as the current movie rental model.  Once rented, the customer will have 30 days to begin watching the show.  And, once started, the show will expire after 24 hours.

This will essentially place the content in the cloud, where the other heavyweights in this fight are – Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video-on-demand are all streaming services.  Although, Amazon does offer the option for download.

Not long ago Engadget reported that the next version of Apple TV will run iOS, the same operating system as the iPhone and iPad.  This would almost necessitate streaming as (per Engadget):

The new architecture of the device will be based directly on the iPhone 4, meaning it will get the same internals, down to that A4 CPU and a limited amount of flash storage — 16GB to be exact.

That’s a huge drop-off in storage capacity from the current 160GB hard drive.

This would come on the heals of the new Hulu Plus release, which brings subscription TV to the online masses.  But, it would have more content than Hulu.  HBO shows, among others, would be available.

But, would Apple try to partner with third-party hardware manufacturers the way Hulu and Netflix have?  Or would they continue to make their iTunes offerings available only through PC’s, Macs and Apple hardware?  That may be the key to this market if they really want to be a player.