Apple may introduce a subscription-based film rental service through iTunes and the Apple TV, company executives hinted during a shareholder meeting.

The company declined to offer any specific announcement, but a shareholder asked Apple CEO Steve Jobs if iTunes would ever offer high-definition video content, and if his Apple TV would ever allow him to rent films.

In response, Jobs – who has dismissed subscription-based music services as not achieving high levels of interest among iTunes customers in the past – simply said: "One never knows".

Reading between the lines, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said: "Timing of this is difficult to determine, but we would expect iTunes video rentals sometime in 2008."

A move into movie rental through iTunes may help Apple secure a wider selection of content to offer users, as film and television companies are fast-moving toward subscription-based online services.