Apple announced that movies are now available for download in iCloud last week at its iPad event. You can now view and re-download video content purchased from the iTunes Store on any authorized device, including the iPhone and iPad.
While nearly all the major Hollywood studios were onboard at the time, Universal and Fox studios hadn’t been able to close a deal with Apple for iCloud availability due to licensing conflicts with HBO. According to a spokesperson for the company, HBO is loosening its restrictions on the studios to let Apple have access to more content, specifically Universal and Fox.
For years, HBO has had exclusive access to distribute movies on its network for a certain period of time before the films become completely available to the public. The industry refers to this as the dreaded “HBO window,” and such licensing deals have made it harder for Apple to also bring its TV streaming model to fruition.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
HBO isn’t planning to give up its exclusive windows, for which it pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and which allow it to beam movies to its online service HBO Go as well as to its traditional TV channels. But HBO is relaxing terms to let users of iCloud and other services send movies they already own to other devices during those windows, an HBO spokesman said.
HBO agreed to loosen its arrangement with Warner Bros., which is working with iCloud, and also is in talks with Universal and Fox to do the same, the spokesman added.
The arrangement is expected to close within the next few weeks. It’s a good step in the right direction, but many more deals will have to be closed in Hollywood before Apple’s future for television makes it to the living room.