Apple is reportedly set to have manufacturers start production for television sets in the first quarter of 2012. This would give the company ample time to prepare for a second or third quarter launch, according to DigiTimes.

Initial offerings are said to be 32-inch and 37-inch models. Media reports out of Korea have pegged Samsung as one of the manufacturers working on the sets with production of chips for the sets starting last month.

Sharp will be responsible for producing the displays for the iTV which are expected to have some form of Apple TV built-in. The same sources also believe that Apple will again launch a revamped standalone set-top box in 2012.

Apple has been rumored to be developing a television set for some time but thus far nothing has materialized. The company introduced the Apple TV set-top box a few years ago but even Steve Jobs classified that as a hobby for Apple. The problem, Jobs said, was in the delivery. Adding another set-top box wasn’t the answer and until someone could figure out a new way to reinvent the television, it was going to lose.

That all changed when Steve Jobs told Walter Isaacson during an interview for his biography that he had “finally cracked it,” referring to the television market. This single comment reignited iTV rumors and it finally seems that such a device might be coming to fruition.

Simply integrating an Apple TV device inside a set might not be enough, but if rumors of things like iCloud-based DVR are to be believed, such a device could instantly become more appealing.