Apple in negotiations with streaming partners for upcoming TV device?

Apple TV

Though rumors of a potential full-fledged Apple home theater device have been showing up frequently over the past year, sources are telling Reuters that Apple is currently negotiating with streaming service EPIX to bring content to both the current Apple TV product and to “upcoming devices that stream content”.

The wording of Reuters’ source in the EPIX negotiations may simply be referring to upcoming iPhone, iPad and Apple TV models, however it could also suggest that Apple is actively courting partners for an unannounced home theater device that would serve as Apple’s attempt to disrupt the TV market itself, a feat they may well be able to pull off after disrupting not only the wireless cellphone market in 2007 with the iPhone, but also the tablet/netbook market in 2010 with the release of the wildly successful iPad.

A potential Apple home theater product combining both a high resolution “retina” display panel, and an ARM-based computing platform similar to the existing Apple TV standalone set top box would need a compelling new feature in order to persuade consumers to replace their existing HDTV or purchase a new one from Apple.

Apple currently operates a TV show and movie rental/purchase service with the iTunes store, however competing with the likes of existing cable and satellite services like Comcast and DirecTV may require Apple to either create a matching “subscription” service, or allow an existing service like Hulu to provide the majority of content, with various other value added services like EPIX providing a wide range of additional content.

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