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Federal rules could prompt NBC TV rentals in iTunes

Last year, things looked bleak for Apple TV users who wanted inexpensive rental access to NBC's content. Former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker made the now-famous comments that "99 cents is not the price point for our content," and that "it would devalue our content."

Now that the network and cable TV / internet giant Comcast have agreed to tie the knot, the US Federal Government has attached many strings to their approval of the merger. Among the many conditions that the companies agreed to in order to consummate their bonds of corporate matrimony was that the merged giant must agree to sell its content on online video services. That opens the way for NBC content, such as The Office and 30 Rock, to be distributed on Apple TV and other similar devices.

In order to gain Federal approval of the merger, Comcast and NBC basically agreed to terms that make it possible for people to bypass cable TV packages and purchase content "a la carte" from iTunes and other online stores. As another part of the agreement, Comcast cannot throttle internet service to block streaming video service and must sell standalone internet service with relatively fast speeds (6 Megabit per second downloads) without tying it to a cable TV package.

While we still don't know how this will all shake out for Apple TV-owning NBC fans, we'll keep our eyes and ears open for any additional news pertaining to the merger and the deals Comcast agreed to.

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