Apple is said to be attempting to convince US TV studios to halve the price of their shows when sold through iTunes.

The company believes that reducing prices will generate much wider sales of television programmes through its service. It argues that with so much TV content now freely available through file-sharing services it makes sense to offer such media legitimately at prices consumers are prepared to pay.

Facing an industry meltdown, TV studios are resisting the plan, with Variety claiming Apple's attempt may have contributed to NBC Universal's recent decision to abandon Apple's service.

TV studios are concerned that putting Apple's proposals into effect would damage revenues, while Apple argues that cheaper prices would generate more volume of sales and act as an attractant to bring users back to legitimate services.

It's a similar argument that was proposed by Napster founder Shawn Fanning when he first approached the music labels to secure permission for file-sharing through the original Napster. A proposal the labels rejected, putting into motion several years of massive decline for their businesses.

TV studios are also concerned that making shows available at low prices online will cannibalize DVD sales, though the Variety report indicates some older shows may well be released at the new price.

The report concludes that the best possible outcome would see the introduction of tiered pricing on TV shows, with the latest shows costing more than older titles, but warns that Apple has historically resisted any attempt to make iTunes a complicated service to use.