Sunday, September 10, 2006

No iTunes TV shows in Canada make Homer something something

With the launch of an iTunes Movie Store now all but announced this Tuesday, I've been doing a little research into why the Canadian iTunes store is lacking in the TV show department...or bone dry, to be frank.

Found an article from February of this year, suggesting that CBC and NFB (That's "National Film Board", yes, proud providers of the Canadian classic "Log Driver's Waltz") are currently at the table with Apple and Google to negotiate bringing content online. Hope that's true, hope it's soon!

Further to that, it's likely that Canada just has to wait it's turn to cut a deal with Apple, since they are currently working out options with every interested country...could be a while!

Anyway, that's what I've found so far, thought I'd mention it, as online distribution is something I'm very interested in, and cable TV is such crap. Props to CBC for going after it...although I don't expect to be downloading Hockey Night in Canada anytime soon.

It'll be interesting to see the specs on Apple's movie store. One thing is for sure, it won't use Windows Media streams like Amazon's new Movie/TV store that just launched this past Thursday (also USA only). It'll use Quicktime, which actually streams properly (my personal opinion). Quicktime allows you to rewind and fast forward, which I've never seen Windows Media do properly.

The real question is how will it compete with DVD? It's one thing to watch $2 TV shows in 320x240, stereo for 20 or 40 minutes. But it's another thing to expect people to plop down $10 or $15 for 90 or 120 minutes in the same quality. I don't know what the Amazon store quality is like.

I'd be impressed if 5.1 surround sound (which Quicktime supports) and HD resolutions (like on the Quicktime Movie Trailers site) are included. There's nothing sweeeter than those 1080p trailers! But do most people have their Macs sending to their TVs? And a surround sound system hooked up? Oh, and do most people have the bandwidth to download a 2 GB (or bigger!) movie? That new 24" iMac is an HD monitor, with a resolution of 1920x1200!

Steve Jobs claimed 2005 as the "Year of HD"...then launched an underpowered Mac Mini with an integrated video card incapable of playing HD. But with the new Core Duo and Core 2 Duo iMacs selling like hotcakes (I don't have the numbers, I just want one bad!), maybe 2007 is what he meant to say?

The other question is, rental or purchase? Personally I don't see "renting" a 2GB file for 24 hours...isn't that a colossal waste of bandwidth? Perhaps it'll be a combination of streaming and downloading. For example, you pick your movie rental from Apple's new "Front Row Movies" menu, let it buffer a minute or so, like the movie trailers, and then being watching. When the movie is done, you can save it for whatever the purchase price is, or delete it. Will you be able to burn it to a disc to play in your DVD player, like the way you can burn audio files to audio CDs for your CD player? Or do you have to redownload it everytime you want to watch it (again, huge waste).

Anyways, it's exciting times. The big entertainment companies are finally figuring out that it's in their best interest to pay attention to what consumers want, and how they want it, by watching indie content producers and copying them.

The 'tubes are alive, with the sound of movies...

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