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Apple to launch TV streaming service by Xmas

But will it have anything to stream?

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Apple will launch a subscription-based TV streaming service whether it has content or not. Probably the latter, if whispers vaguely wafting this way from the direction of negotiations are to be believed.

The service could go live by Christmas, the sources say.

New York redtop The Post claims that Apple's iTunes chief, Eddie Cue, has been wooing content providers who, it's said, have largely rejected his advances.

Promises of love and respect the morning after have fallen on deaf ears, with one mole telling the paper Apple's approach is a you'll-do-as-you're-told "we decide the price, we decide what content [to offer]".

Another throat claimed Apple "want everything for nothing".

A true characterisation of the company and its approach to winning the hearts and minds of content providers - or deliberate leak as negotiation tactic?

iTunes currently offers rentals and purchases, but rival services are also offering streaming in return for a regular monthly payment.

Hollywood isn't so keen on that approach - hence its UltraViolet initiative - and presumably Apple has been stressing its love of downloads, something industry too prefers. But not enough to stop licensing content to streaming companies, of course.

Apple needs to compete with these firms, so it can't ignore streaming. More and more customers want it. If it doesn't take that on board, more content providers, particularly the likes of broadcasters and cable TV companies, will stream material themselves through their own apps.

Apple is expected to announced the third generation of its Apple TV set-top box at next week's iPad 3 launch. It is also believed to be working on more lucrative hardware: an HD TV that incorporates iTunes functionality: the so-called 'iTV'. ®

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