iTunes Replay streaming movies, subscriptions not coming soon after all?
CNET drops a big bottle of killjoy juice on recent rumors that Apple might just be ready to rollout their fabled iTunes Replay service -- the ability to re-download and stream content to iOS and iTunes from the iCloud -- or a Netflix-like subscription service.
While Apple has music and now TV available for re-download, at least in the US, apparently they've only got agreements with 4 of the 6 big studios needed to add movies to the mix.
One reason is the HBO window. During specific periods of time--often referred to in the film industry as windows--HBO owns the exclusive electronic distribution rights of films from three of the six top films studios: 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. Any retailer that wishes to sell physical DVDs from these studios during HBO's window is totally unrestricted. But online retailers are legally prevented from delivering movie downloads from the three HBO-restricted studios during HBO's window and they also can't stream titles from those studios. This means that right now iTunes can't stream a movie to a customer during the HBO window that the customer may have purchased outside of the window.
Broadcast windows are also the reason movies and TV Shows sometimes disappear and reappear from iTunes, Netflix, etc. But the bottom line seems to be, at least for now, that iTunes movie re-downloading, streaming, and subscription services are still a long way off.