Apple is pitching TV networks about a new service that delivers TV programs via its iTunes software and store across a wide range of hardware via a $30-per-month subscription service.
The networks are both intrigued by and wary of the new potential service, according to a Monday report in The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital blog.
Rather than tying such a service to its Apple TV box or a rumored table device, Apple would make the TV shows available for subscription via iTunes as early as next year, wrote Peter Kafka in the All Things Digital blog.
Apple has yet to sign any programmers to commit to the service. However, Kafka wrote, Disney could be the first to sign up thanks to that company's long relationship with iTunes and the fact that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is Disney's largest shareholder.
This is not the first time that Apple has been rumored to be looking at offering a TV programming subscription service.
In August, the Web site AppleInsider reported that analyst firm Piper Jaffray wrote to clients that it expects Apple in the near future to introduce a new Apple TV in a move that could help Apple boost purchases of videos from its iTunes online store and let Apple develop a video subscription model similar to that of Hulu and Netflix.
Kafka wrote that network executives are wary of a new Apple TV subscription service because of the potential for upsetting existing relationships with fees from traditional cable providers, as well as how such a service would impact advertising revenue.
Response to the potential new Apple service at the All Things Digital blog were mixed, ranging from concerns that the new service would be proprietary to joy at the prospect of being able to watch network TV while traveling.
A couple of readers to the blog noted that for the service to work it would be better if it streamed video at the 1,080p high-definition format rather than the less-bandwidth-intensive 720p.