Apple has killed off its TV show rentals after less than a year. Customers can still buy shows, but the less expensive rental option is no longer available. Movies are not affected.

There are many voices wondering if the move is in preparation for Apple launching a TV subscription service, but Apple is being typically reticent.

Following a report on AllThingsD, the company issued a statement: “ITunes 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.”

The rental service was positioned as a benefit of owning an Apple TV box, but then the device was upgraded to support purchasing in addition to streaming or pre-purchased content. Now the company’s attention is focused on its upcoming iCloud online service that stores content securely and makes it available from any compatible device, any time and from any place.

Fox and ABC were the only networks who made programs available for the rental service. Fox similarly made a direct connection between purchasing content and the deployment of a cloud storage service like iCloud. “After carefully considering the results of the rental trial, it became clear that content ownership is a more attractive long-term value proposition both for iTunes customers and for our business,” the network’s statement read. “To further enhance the value of ownership, we are working with Apple to make content available within their new cloud-based service.”

Related Links:

AllThingsD –

New York Times –

Apple Insider –