Bad news for iTunes fans that want to stream films. The rumoured iTunes Replay service, which would enable customers to stream purchased content right from Apple's servers to their device, is not going to be showing its face anytime soon. Industry reports suggest that negotiations with film studios are far too premature for any such service to come to fruition in the near future. Speaking to CNet, sources said that Apple has pursued such contracts, as rumours suggest, but they still haven't signed the deals with four of the six major studios. If a launch is coming, it won't be just around the corner.
But the reports also brought up a bigger issue that Apple will need to work through. A time period known as the "HBO window" means that retailers are restricted on streaming and downloading the films of three of the top studios. Offering the films on physical media is absolutely fine, but any cloud-based activity is completely off-limits. This means that films from 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, and Universal wouldn't be allowed to join everyone else on iTunes Replay during the HBO window.
According to sources, the HBO window was there even before cloud-streaming films was close to reality. Today, the service is a reality, and it seems HBO are in talks with Time Warner to allow them to sell the rights to content streaming during the HBO window. As the industry moves closer to allowing consumers to watch their films online, it is likely that more negotiations will be made to lighten the restrictions the HBO window imposes.