HBO to finally allow Universal and Fox movies into iCloud

According to recent reports, Apple is secretly trying to put together its own TV subscription service. And by the sounds of things, it doesn’t seem to be going very well. Studios are afraid to let Apple anywhere near their multi-million dollar industry.

But it appears that at least one major content provider is coming around. The Wall Street Journal has learned that HBO is finally going to relax its terms enough to allow iCloud users to stream previously purchased content to other iOS devices…

According to the report, HBO will be relaxing the restrictions on its deals with both Universal and Fox studios so that users who have purchased their movies from the iTunes Store will be able to replay them on other iOS devices via iCloud.

“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.”

The “window” the article is referring to usually starts about 6 months after a movie (DVD) is released, and lasts about a year. During this time the movie generally disappears from other video-on-demand services, including iTunes, and up until now could not be replayed using iCloud.

So what does all of this mean? Well Fox and Universal movies will still disappear from iTunes during HBO’s exclusive window. But users who purchased any of their movies when they were available will now be able to to play them via iCloud during the blackout period. Make sense?

This is a pretty big deal for Apple, who is constantly trying to strengthen its video distribution services. As you can imagine, movie studios have been having major problems adjusting to the digital revolution — the same way record labels have.