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CUPERTINO, CALIF.: Apple is expected to roll out an Internet-connected HDTV within four years, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicts.

“As connected TVs gain traction, software, content and portability will become the key differentiators, and Apple is uniquely positioned to deliver a premium all-in-one solution--different than Apple TV,” Munster wrote in an analyst note picked up by

Apple TV is a peripheral that streams Web content onto TV sets. Insider says the Apple HDTV is expected to be rolled out in two to four years. It will likely feature subscription access to iTunes in addition to other Web content, and run around $2,000 retail. It reports that Munster predicts the Apple HDTV “would negate the need for a Blu-ray player, digital video recorder, cable box and game console,” and notes that Apple introduced a 27-inch desktop computer last year.

The iTunes access would differentiate the set significantly, Munster said. The service would likely cost between $50 and $90 a month and replace cable TV service, he reasons. The content library has more than 8,500 movies for sale or rent and more than 55,000 episodes of TV shows viewable now on Apple devices. Insider nor Jaffray said as much, but if the device is an actual HDTV, it would have over-the-air reception.

Insider also notes that Munster’s been predicting an Apple television set for a while. The site reported a note from Munster last August predicting the arrival of such a device by 2011. Among those factors leading to his conclusion, Munster mentioned a five-year, $500 million agreement with LG for LCD screens. He also cited the computer company’s negotiations with Disney and CBS for subscription access to content.

Insider has more at “Apple positioned to introduce connected HDTV within 2-4 years.”

Apple would not be alone in a quest to break into television. News emerged last week that Google is working with Sony and Intel to introduce an Android-equipped set, with Sony being the likely manufacturer. See “Google’s Android is Getting Into TVs.”