Preview at WWDC likely in June, followed by September launch.
Apple Brings TV to iCloud With Downloads of Previously-Purchased Episodes
The change adds TV shows to Apple's early-stage iCloud offerings, bringing the TV content in line with music purchases that received the same treatment back in early June following the iCloud announcement at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. With the change, users now have the ability to download purchased television content at-will to their various devices as long as they are linked with a single iTunes Store account.
Apple has also updated its iTunes Store terms and conditions with new text covering the changes, and summarizes the change as follows:
Notification of an additional type of previously-purchased content that may be subsequently downloaded to certain computers and devices as an accommodation to you, subject to existing association rules; and that such content may be played back on certain devices that are not subject to existing association rules, with limitations.The majority of the relevant changes appear to be covered in the section entitled "Automatic Delivery and Downloading Previous Purchases Beta", which outlines two classes of downloadable content: "iTunes Auto-Delivery Content", which covers music and music videos and which can be automatically downloaded to associated devices; and "iTunes Eligible Content", which covers TV shows that must be downloaded manually.
Users have long been responsible for backing up their own content, with Apple only allowing limited re-downloads of lost content on a case-by-case basis. But with the move to iCloud storage of users' purchases, they will be able to freely delete and re-download episodes to whichever devices they wish to view the content on. Such a change generally requires that licensing deals with content providers be renegotiated, and thus Apple has had to work carefully toward deploying re-downloads for each media type and in each market.
Despite the new feature, Apple does still point out that users are responsible for backing up their own content, noting that all previously-purchased content may not be available for re-download at all times.