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Rumor: Apple's TV subscription plans stall on "tablet eve"

With less than 24 hours to go before the tablet's likely introduction, the New York Times is reporting that the TV networks are resisting Apple's proposed subscription model of distribution. For $30 per month, Apple would supposedly allow customers all-you-can-eat access to their library of television content. However, TV execs fear Apple's recent stance on individual song pricing in the iTunes Store, which spurred track sales but dampened sales of albums.

AppleInsider suggests that there's a contingency plan in place, in which Apple asks* the networks to change the price of an individual TV episode from $1.99 to $0.99, which jibes with a story on Financial Times this morning.

I'd welcome a subscription model for TV and movies. For $30 per month, I could stream any TV show or movie in Apple's library to any approved device: Apple TV, iPhone, iPod, computer or tablet. This would prevent the last-minute shuffle of files as I prep my machines for a hotel stay and more importantly, eliminate the "You missed your show" tax.

If I miss an episode of "The Office," why should I pay two bucks just to catch up when I can see it on Hulu for free? Sure, I can get a HD (720p) version from iTunes, but I'm willing to go with 480p from Hulu when it's free. I pay $40/mo to the cable company now and the vast majority of shows/networks I never watch. Why pay for them?

When Apple first introduced television to the iTunes Store, only a handful of networks were on board. Now there's a laundry list of participants. I imagine that we'll see a similar growth pattern with the tablet.

*Define "asks" as you will.

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