Apple in talks with Epix over streaming content deal, iTV rumors heat up

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Rumors of an impending Apple television are once again heating up as the company is said to be in talks with Epix, a joint venture between Lions Gate, MGM and Paramount Pictures. Any deal would result in content for Cupertino’s existing $99 set-top box and “to upcoming devices that stream content,” according to two sources as reported by Reuters.

Epix signed a deal with Netflix in 2010 that grants the company rights to the trio’s streaming movie collection through September of this year. That deal is valued at $200 million annually and in a recent conference call, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said his company was in a broad range of discussions with Epix about how to operate most effectively for both parties. Additionally, Epix is available through a number of other outlets like the iPhone and iPad, but it only works if the user already has access to the channel through a cable or satellite provider.

Apple has been unsuccessful in trying to ink licensing deals with Hollywood studios since last year, according to some studio executives contacted by Reuters.

Earlier this year, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that he met with Steve Jobs some seven months before his death regarding a subscription-based service. Moonves ultimately turned down the offer for fear of disrupting existing revenue streams, telling Jobs that “you know more than me about 99 percent of things” but “I know more about the television business.”

Most expect Apple to launch a television set by the end of this year or in early 2013 and feel it will be a great opportunity for Tim Cook to lead the company into the next market they plan to revolutionize.

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