On September 1, 2010, during Apple's iPod refresh press event, the company officially announced that select television episodes would be available for rent in addition to purchase from the iTunes download store. It was an attempt by Apple to expand the TV show download market. However it looks like that small experiment is now over. Today, as AllThingsD.com reports, Apple has now quietly removed the option to rent TV show episodes from the iTunes store.
The rentals were priced at 99 cents which let people watch the episode for 24 hours versus purchasing the shows outright for $1.99. However it appears that most customers didn't go for the different price model. In the end, it seems that Apple didn't want to support rentals anymore because of its upcoming iCloud service which will allow people to store TV episodes in their iCloud file space and stream them to their iPhone, iPad or other iCloud supported device. The service is currently in beta testing and will officially launch later this year. It's highly likely that iCloud's launch will coincide with the launch of the long awaited iPhone 5 as well as the next iPod device refresh.
An Apple spokesperson confirmed the move to remove the TV show rental option from iTunes, saying, "Tunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows. iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose."