Rumours are circling the web that Apple is soon to offer movie sales and rentals through iTunes.

Bloomberg has published a story in which people close to Apple have said that the company may have already signed distribution deals for Warner Bros and Fox content.

The piece also suggests that Viacom's Paramount, Walt Disney and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp will also be supplying films for rental.

These studios already sell movies through iTunes for at least $9.99 each.

There has been no official announcement as yet and the sources in the story have asked not to be identified but they do say that the announcement will be made on 15 January so watch this space.

According to online reports, new releases and older titles will rent for $3.99 for 24 hours.

It is believed that the lower-priced rentals in particular may boost the popularity of Apple's iPod media players, iPhone and Apple TV set-top box.

And analysts are already predicting that once one of the big studios comes on board, the others will follow suite.

For the moment, however, the studios and Apple are not commenting on the rumours.