Although the focus of rumors about Apple’s iCloud service have swirled around it’s syncing features and music streaming applications, it may have one more trick up its sleeve in the form of TV and Movie streaming, claims a new report from Cnet.
Reportedly, Apple has been negotiating with several of the major Hollywood film studios to procure licenses to store customers movies on Apple’s servers and allow those customers to stream them to their portable devices and perhaps the Mac.
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The sources that Cnet references say that Apple began discussing the possibility of streaming video content with the studios over a year ago. One of the major stalling points, says Cnet, is the HBO blackout window.
The so-called HBO window or HBO blackout, as it is known in the film industry, refers to an exclusive distribution relationship that the cable network has with three of the top six film studios: Warner Bros. Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and NBC Universal.
When a movie from one of the participating studios is aired on HBO, the cable network’s electronic-distribution rights requires other outlets to halt sales or distribution of the title. Conceivably, this would prevent cloud services from streaming movies to customers during the blackout period.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has negotiated with studios as deals were put in place for customers to stream previously purchased content just before the Apple TV 2 was released last year. This was necessary because the second generation device no longer has permanent internal storage, relying solely on streaming to deliver content.
It seems that Time Warner, the parent company of HBO, is still trying to hash out exactly how they might be able to make a deal for streaming movies. It is possible that Apple might go ahead with a streaming service anyway, partnering with other major studios like Disney, Paramount and Sony.
Apple has announced its plans to reveal the new iCloud service at WWDC next week, but has not yet specified any features beyond the name. Although rumors of music deals have been flowing in steadily over the last few weeks, this is the first that we’ve heard about iCloud including video content.