While rumors of Apple launching a proper streaming service for its iTunes content have been around for years, it’s only recently that Apple has begun turning the dream into a reality. Just a few days ago, Apple started offering free re-downloads of some TV Shows, and even the ability to stream them on the Apple TV. Today, AppAdvice has been told and was able to confirm independently that Apple is on the edge of finally launching a full-fledged re-downloading and possibly streaming service named iTunes Replay.
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 again. Note that some content will unfortunately only be available to download five times and we don’t know how streaming will count towards that limit.
The feature will be giving users access to movies they bought as far back as January 1st 2009, and all of this will be available to stream on the Apple TV, and probably iOS as well. It’s not clear however what Apple has planned for the desktop in this regard.
The name, “iTunes Replay” is currently being used internally, and is planned to be kept when Apple makes this public. You should expect this to go public in the coming weeks, as the necessary changes are being pushed to Apple’s servers at the moment. Note that it’s also possible Apple will be including the ability to re-download music under that banner, as to separate it from iCloud and make the two services simpler to market.
This is great news, obviously. With the arrival of services such as Spotify, and the success of Netflix, Apple is going to have to make major efforts to improve the iTunes Store and keep it competitive. The ability to re-download movies and stream them to your TV is a first step in that direction. Now we can only hope for some sort of all-you-can eat subscription plan, but no word on that so far.
As usual, we’ll keep you posted on any updates to that story.