Can iTunes Replay challenge the almighty Netflix?

Tech's worst kept secret: Apple's working on an audio and video streaming service that could challenge Netflix. Can iTunes Replay pose a credible challenge to the big "N?"

AppAdvice reports that Apple is close to finally launching a full-fledged video re-downloading (and possibly streaming) service named iTunes Replay.

According to the its sources iTunes Replay will allow Apple TV (and "probably" iOS) users to re-download movies they purchased from iTunes dating back to January 1, 2009.

It's unclear when and if the service will work with a desktop Mac, but I'm betting that it will as soon as the proper licensing agreements are in place.

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.

Apple appears to be taking another cautious step toward streaming but it's still a long way from being a full-on video streaming video service that could challenge the likes of Netflix -- at least, not immediately. But then again, it's not the first time someone's predicted Netflix's demise would come at the hands of Apple.

Being the lead dog, Apple is taking its time and doing things right. It doesn't want to rush into into anything that would jeopardize its relationships with the music labels (like Google and Amazon did) or with the movie studios for that matter.

Apple will enter the streaming space when it's good and ready, I'm just hoping that it will be worth the wait.

Image: thinq