The iTunes media store hasn’t seen much progress in the last few years. It’s still ridiculously region specific when it comes to video, and the prices also leaves a lot to be desired with single TV episodes costing up to $2.99 per episode in the US, if you go for the HD version. That’s roughly $70 for a full season of a standard US TV show, or about $50 if you buy as a complete season. You don’t save much by dropping HD either, as every episode will then cost you $1.99 with a season running $30-$40. Those aren’t nice prices when you can often get the Blu Ray or DVD versions for less. Luckily you could rent the episodes for as little as $.99 – until now. That’s right, no more TV rentals.
Apple’s reasoning for doing this is that people want to own the episodes now that the new cloud storage service lets people download the episodes whenever they want. If you ask me though, that’s just a bad excuse for dropping the lowest price point on a product that for many people don’t have any value after they’ve seen it once. The removal of the rental option also comes without any form of cost reduction for the purchase options, so you’re still left with a digital option that is more expensive than buying the higher quality physical box sets on DVD or Blu Ray. That’s not how digital content should be priced.
No doubt that content providers have a lot of say in the pricing of these episodes, and that’s probably why it’s still a ridiculously priced product that’s not available internationally. All hail bureaucracy![TUAW]