Apple announces streaming service. A death knell for cable?

Apple will offer its own streaming Web TV service this fall, according to reports. An Apple streaming service would join an increasingly a growing field of products targeting 'cord cutters' who have been abandoning  cable subscriptions in favor of Amazon, Netflix and Hulu.

Alexander F. Yuan/AP/File
A man leaves an Apple store with an iPhone and an iPad in his hands in central Beijing. Apple will launch a streaming service to compete with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, reports say.

Apple will offer its own streaming Web TV service this fall, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The slimmed-down service will feature 25 channels including ABC, CBS and Fox, according to the report, which cited unnamed “people familiar with the matter.”

It would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV receiver, which the company recently discounted to $69.

Currently, NBC and affiliated cable channels like Bravo and USA are not slated to be offered because of a dispute between Apple and NBC’s parent company, Comcast Corp., the report said.

The idea behind the service, sources told the Journal, is to offer a basic slate of channels without making customers pay for the dozens of others that come along with many traditional cable packages.

Last week, Apple announced it would be an exclusive launch partner for HBO Now, the movie channel’s stand-alone streaming service and the first way non-cable subscribers will be able to legally stream HBO content.

The Journal report did not indicate how much the streaming service will cost. But “media executives” told the Journal they expect a monthly fee in the $30-$40 range.

An Apple streaming service would join an increasingly a growing field of products targeting “cord cutters” who have been abandoning traditional cable subscriptions in favor of Web streaming content from the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Hulu.

In February, Dish Network’s Sling TV debuted nationwide. Starting at $20 per month, the service offers users networks including ESPN, AMC, CNN, IFC and Cartoon Network.

Sony also is expected to release PlayStation Vue, its own TV-streaming service, in the next couple of weeks. A beta-testing version of Vue, which works through PlayStation gaming consoles, has about 75 channels and, unlike other streaming services, allows for the DVR-style recording of shows.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter@doug_gross and on Google+.

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