NEW YORK, June 10 Apple Inc. (AAPL.O), maker of MacBook laptops and iPod digital media players, is in advanced talks with Hollywood's largest movie studios about launching an online film rental service to challenge cable and satellite TV operators, the Financial Times reported on its Web site on Sunday.
Apple already sells films that can be downloaded and owned, and has distribution deals with Walt Disney (DIS.N) and Paramount, the paper said, without naming sources. The Paramount movie studios are owned by Viacom Inc. VIAb.N.
Other studios have shied from tie-ups with Apple because of concerns that digital downloading may hit DVD sales, it reported. But studios will be more enthusiastic about joining its video-on-demand service as films downloaded to rent are unlikely to affect DVD sales, the FT said.
Apple is believed to be aiming for an autumn release, the FT said.
An Apple spokesman told Reuters the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.
(Additional reporting by Scott Hillis in San Francisco)
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