HBO holds online movie distribution right others like Apple dream about.
Today a report appeared on CNET that shatters the dreams of an robust, up-to-date, movie streaming service from Apple. Also the rumored iTunes Replay feature is not coming any time soon says this report. The reason for it is HBO. For one HBO has the so called HBO window agreement with three of the top six movie studios. This means nobody can stream a newly released movie during this time besides HBO. You can only buy it on DVD until the HBO window expired.
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HBO has secured online distribution contracts with Fox, Universal and Warner since a very long time. They have seen it coming and now they need to be smart about how to use these contracts with Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Walmart wanting in on the action.
There is also the UltraViolet project. This cloud platform has already the support of five major studios, except Disney.
In the end we the consumers are the sucker. We need a Netflix subscription on top of iTunes and still have to buy or rent the occasional disc, because not everything we want to watch is available as online stream.