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Thursday, March 01, 2012, 08:50 pm PT (11:50 pm ET)

Apple moving forward with streaming TV service even as content providers resist

A new report describes Apple as "pushing ahead" with plans to release a streaming TV service by the end of the year in spite of resistance from major media conglomerates.

The New York Post spoke to sources familiar with Apple's plans to learn that the company has had trouble convincing content providers to come on board with a streaming TV service. Studios have refused to give in to Apple, which reportedly wants complete control over "all aspects" of the service, including pricing.

"We decide the price, we decide what content," one source described Apple's negotiating stance as being. "They want everything for nothing," another media executive said.

Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue, who has been described in the past as Apple's "dealmaker," is said to be leading the talks. Insiders said Apple has proposed offering "channels as apps for its devices," including the Apple TV set-top box. The report was, however, unclear on whether Apple is hoping to bundle content together into a subscription or offer it on an individual basis.

Though iTunes already offers movies and TV shows for rent or purchase, Apple is reportedly interested in streaming over the web. The company is expected to run up against competitors in the space, including the networks themselves, as many of them have launched their own apps in the App Store for that purpose.

Apple reportedly tried to drum up support for a subscription TV service in 2009, but it was unable to procure commitments from the industry. According to some executives, Apple's interest in splitting advertising revenue was one of the sticking points that derailed negotiations.

More recently, Apple is believed to have turned to cable operators in an effort to convince them to work with it. "They (Apple) want to create the interface, and they wanted to work with the cable guys to manage bandwidth across the TV and broadband pipeline," a source told the Post. According to the report, cable executives "pretty much shut the door" on Apple.

Apple has reportedly also had discussions with telecom companies, such as Verizon and AT&T. Last month, sources at Canadian telecoms Rogers and BCE said they have been approached by Apple about its TV initiatives and have even received prototype versions of its much-rumored connected television set.

HDTV


Tipsters indicated, however, that Apple is prioritizing bringing a streaming TV service to market first before launching its own TV set. Apple is said to be aiming to launch the service before this Christmas. That would fit with reports that have claimed Apple is not due to release a TV before late 2012.

In the meantime, Apple is expected to unveil an update to its $99 Apple TV set-top box as early as next week. Channel inventory of the device has dried up in recent weeks, adding to mounting evidence that an update is imminent. Apple last refreshed the device in late 2010.