'iTunes Replay' to Allow Movie Redownloads and Streaming?

Back in 2009, AppleInsider reported that Apple was developing an on-demand video service that would allow users to stream their purchased iTunes movies and TV shows from Apple's servers for playback on personal devices. The service was called "iTunes Replay", and would eliminate the need to store large media files on your iPod or iPhone.


AppAdvice now claims that they have been able to confirm that Apple is about to finally launch this "iTunes Replay" service to customers.

In a nutshell, iTunes Replay is an extension to what Apple is already doing with iCloud and free re-downloads of previously purchased music. As Apple secures the remaining rights, TV Shows as well as Movies in iTunes will be given little arrow indicating whether they’re “iTunes Replay eligible”, that is, available to be downloaded subsequent times.

Apple has just recently started allowing users to re-download television shows to their Mac and iOS devices, and allowing Apple TV owners to stream previously purchased content. So, it's no stretch to believe that Apple might start allowing the same for movies.

AppAdvice indicates that there may be a re-download limit of 5 times for some content and they seem uncertain how streaming counts against this limit. Apple would certainly have had to renegotiate with content providers for this change in service, and may explain why it is only launching now.

In the weeks prior to WWDC, countless reports had suggested that Apple was in deep negotiations with Movie providers about offering a "digital locker" of streaming content. From May:

In the past several weeks, Apple executives have stepped up their attempts to convince some of the major Hollywood film studios to issue licenses that would enable Apple to store its customers' movies on the company's servers, two sources close to the negotiations told CNET. Apple began discussing a cloud service with the studios over a year ago.

When iCloud was officially announced, there was no mention of this sort of "digital locker" streaming service that had been so heavily rumored. It seems perhaps the negotiations for the service had not yet completed in time for a WWDC launch.

Top Rated Comments

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120 months ago
I'm a Blu-ray fan, but I can kind of see where Apple wants to go with all this. The thing is, online video is hopelessly hobbled by the studios insistence on DRM and all that nonsense.

And yes, you never 'own' a film or album or story when you buy a DVD or CD or book, but you do tacitly buy a perpetual license, whose terms are settled once you've paid and they hand over the physical media itself (which you do own).

The difference with online media is, especially when DRM and streaming are involved, they can change the goalposts any time they feel like it, and you'd be stuck.

"Plays For Sure" don't play no more.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
Not good if its separating your media into eligible and non-eligible content. Makes it just like the problems of dealing with DRM as users are expected to know what is and isn't going to work on that device.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
The idea of only being able to download a show 5 times for a lifetime is laughable. If I ever do download something and it hits the 5 times, limit, I will be right back on the torrent site downloading it in seconds.

So ridiculous.

I have NO ISSUE paying and even paying a high amount for the content....but spare me this "only 5 locations" garbage.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago

Why would I deal with such limits and nonsense when I can just download a movie off torrents?

iTunes' DRM free music downloads are excellent, I think Apple should fight to have this on TV Shows, too.

Today I was tempted to do my first TV shows purchase: Full season pass for Breaking Bad Season 4. In the end I was put away by the DRM (and the fact that many users are reporting that full season pass results in episodes not being available for downloads days and weeks after they are released on iTunes)

Why should I go to work at a job to make money when I can just rob a bank.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago
So, at what point do we "Own It" after we buy it? Sounds like it follows in the footsteps of "Unlimited".

Websters better get busy updating it's dictionary.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
120 months ago

Just let me rent a movie for more than 24 hours and I'll be happy. I don't buy movies, but often times I won't get to finish watching a movie in one night and then it's impossible to finish watching it the next day unless I start watching before I started the day before. They should make all rentals 48 hours. Once you have paid, why should they care how long you have it. 48 hours seems far more reasonable and it's still just renting.
I think they should also have an option to grab it again up to a week later for a Dollar. Then if you don't get to finish watching in the 48 hours, you can pay a little extra to grab it again and watch it. The movie industry needs to loosen up like the recording industry finally did and we will all be much happier.


For the money that Apple charges here in Germany for movie "rentals", you can usually buy the DVD from Amazon and OWN the movie - including subtitles and the original audio track and everything at a superior quality than those inferior DRMed iTunes rips. It doesn't surprise me at all that iTunes movies are not a real success.

As long as downloadable content does not come in BluRay quality and is more expensive than a used DVD, the industry should not be surprised at all that people prefer downloading movies from Internet torrents. You'll get the best quality WITHOUT DRM, WITHOUT annoying "FBI warning" screens and in all available languages and with all subtitles in a matter of minutes from the torrent networks.

The movie industry would be smart if they just threw their stuff on the Internet for one or two dollars a piece or for a flatrate fee that will allow you to donwload as many movies as the studio owns - and without DRM, of course. Even in that scenario people would still pirate movies because you simply cannot stop piracy, but the studios would have a least some additional income that they would NOT have otherwise.

It's the digital age. People don't want to "RENT" movies for a ridiculous fee. Whatever you can download, you want to own. Storage space is cheap. And you want to copy the downloaded content to whatever device you own, without any copy protection ******** in your way.

You know, back in the good old days of TV and VHS everybody recorded whatever they wanted from TV and stored the VHS tapes in their shelves at home. People collected their favorite movies or TV shows -- and the producers did not have any additional income from this channel either. But apparently, that system still worked for the industry, because the TV stations had to pay some fee to get a license to broadcast the stuff and then charged the "sponsors" for the ads. Or collecting some money from the GEZ here in Germany. It was okay for everybody.

Now why don't they just put their entire catalog on some servers and charge a small fee for access to those servers like above? Stupidity and greed are the only two possible answers that I can come up with. The industry cannot increase their income by waging war on possible customers. And they certainly cannot be successful by charging cut-throat prices for stuff that I can get in better quality for free by downloading it from other sources.

It has already become impossible to sell DRMed but legal music, and it is also impossible to sell music online that costs more than the physical CD. The book market is about to follow the same route and you will soon see that authors will find out that they no longer need a big publishing house. It's only a question of time until the movie industry will have to seriously rethink their online strategy as well. The old distribution channels no longer really work, most people don't even want to go to a movie theater anymore, and they certainly don't want to be pestered with ads and legal threats when they pay good money for a physical medium.

But then again, maybe it'll take another twenty or thirty years for them to change -- until people who grew up with the Internet and understand it are in charge of the studios. Or whatever is left of them by that time.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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