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Old 10-12-2005, 07:17 PM   #1
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It's official: Video on your iPod

After much speculation and anticipation, Apple has announced an all new iPod that plays videos. The new iPod sports a 2.5 inch 320X240 QVGA screen capable of displaying 260,000 colors and playing H.264 and MPEG-4 video at 30 frames per second. Over 2,000 music videos, Pixar's award winning short films, ABC and Disney Channel TV shows including Lost and Desperate Housewives are available at the iTunes Music store. In addition to paid content and video podcasts from the iTunes Music Store, the new iPod will also play free films courtesy of the Internet Archive, and free videocasts like NerdTV.

With Apple now embracing mobile video and offering legally downloadable video content, mobile video will surely start to gain in popularity. Their partnership with Disney, the parent company of ABC Networks, will likely be the first of many as more networks and content providers join forces with Apple to offer mobile video content on the iPod platform.

[Apple's iPod Page]

Related: Video iPod coming next week?, Mobile video is about to explode
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Old 10-12-2005, 07:39 PM   #2
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Ok, in my opinion, the only reason this won't be a total flop, is that Apple is simply *adding* the video-playing capabilities, and not changing the form-factor much...

I simply don't think the world is capable of handling mobile video at the moment, not unless Apple starts up an iTunes video store. Why not? Look at how hard it is to extract content from DVDs! You have to do the following...

1) Decrypt it, and rip it to your hard drive (violating the DMCA in the States, and taking up about 4.5 gigs of space).
2) Re-encode the raw DVD rip to something usable (Apple may provide a video encoding tool, but the chances of it handling DVD-rips is slim - too dangerous with the DMCA hanging around out there for Apple to encourage breaking it). (Re-encoding time varies, but usually takes longer than the movie takes to play, and takes an additional 500-1000 MB, depending on encoding settings).

So that's hours and hours of time, multiple-gigabytes, no easy way, and breaking the DMCA while you're at it, to get a DVD into an iPod-able format... I just really don't think this'll fly too well.

On the free video side, things are pretty barren. Short films, some feature length spoofs that are licensed under the Creative Commons or similar, some old movies who's copyright has run out, some music videos, and movie trailers.

I don't know about you, but if I'm using a $300-$400 (US) device to play videos, I'm not going to be happy with the small handful of movies available, nor with having to re-purchase things I already own, if the iTVS (video store) becomes reality...

Sure, you can rip DVDs, but it's not exactly easy or quick - and the DMCA means Apple cannot provide the tools to do it easily, not without legal trouble at any rate. And I highly doubt the average person would really be willing to go through the trouble needed to do it, as things stand.


Edit: I didn't notice before, but iTunes 6 (didn't they just release 5?!) apparently has video purchasing capabilities... No word on the DRM used, yet... Looking at the 'catalogue' as far as I can see online, they've apparently (according to Macslash) got... Wait for it, wait for it... Disney and ABC shows. Isn't that exciting? Not truly... Not for me anyway (maybe if they provided good, subtitled anime I'd be interes... Wait, I have fansub groups for that 'fix'!). I still think this'll be a bit of a flop.
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Old 10-12-2005, 08:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos
I simply don't think the world is capable of handling mobile video at the moment, not unless Apple starts up an iTunes video store.
Give it time. If you build it (a platform and content delivery system) they will come.

Platform= iPod
Content Delivery System= iTunes Music Store which now does video
They= Content providers (Networks, Studios)

Apple has sold over 30 Million iPods to date, has a 75% share of the digital music player market, and an 84% share of the legal music download market. The iPod is now a platform.

Based on this success, Steve Jobs knows the content providers will be coming to him and Apple, and the content providers know they'll have to partner up with Apple or risk being marginalized an losing all of that revenue.

Starting with short format content like music videos, short animated films, and TV shows is a smart move, as they are more suitable for mobile viewing than feature length movies. People have to get used to watching video content on small devices, but they will enjoy the increased mobility and ability to watch shows they would otherwise have missed. Don't forget about all of those LCD screens in mobile entertainment systems in minivans and SUVs for passenger entertainment. That's an area that has major mass market potential for mobile video. The iPod has TV-out capabilities, and next year 1 in 3 new vehicles will have iPod integration as a factory option. Don't you think the iPod will be pushing video out to those LCD screens soon?

Give it a year or two and if Apple continues to enjoy the success and growth rate they've experienced so far with non-video iPods, they'll dominate mobile video and will create the market with an installed user base of millions.
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Old 10-13-2005, 01:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos
Ok, in my opinion, the only reason this won't be a total flop, is that Apple is simply *adding* the video-playing capabilities, and not changing the form-factor much...
How much did the form factor change? Quoting Steve of what he said about one year ago:

Quote:
"We don't want to get into something unless we can invent or control the core technology in it... What's happening is to build in video, some companies are making [these devices] twice as heavy as an iPod and twice the size of an iPod, so they don't fit in your pocket, and twice as expensive as an iPod."
Let's see.. the iPod Video with 30Gb Hdd: $299... the previous iPod 4G without video with 20Gb Hdd: $230. Difficult to compare are there is no 30Gb iPod 4G... but I'd argue the additional 10Gb wouldn't cost $69 more to produce. On the other hand, given the additional video capabilities, it's still in a fair price range. And definitely not "twice as expensive" as promised.

Any details regarding size and weight?
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Old 10-13-2005, 01:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorow
Any details regarding size and weight?
Quote:
30GB model is 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.43 inches; 60GB model is 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.55 inches
Quote:
4.8 ounces
5.5 ounces
From Apple's pages. Slightly wider, maybe a bit longer than the normal iPods, but not much change. Can't judge the weight, as I have no idea how much an ounce is in grams, kilograms, (and too lazy to find a converter) and I'm also terrible at estimating the weight of anything I hold in my hand... But I'm guessing it's not much different either.
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Old 10-13-2005, 09:28 AM   #6
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I just watched the product announcement videocast. The new 60GB video ipod is 12% smaller than the old 20GB standard ipod. I think they said the new 30GB video ipod is even smaller yet.

Some other things, it does support plain old MPEG-4 so you should be able to add your own home moves, import stuff from Archive.org video library, and I suspect it is just a matter of time that people will start selling their own videos productions in unencrypted format. So not everything is tied to the iTunes store. I think that is important.
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Old 10-13-2005, 12:37 PM   #7
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I know it is fashionable to say people will watch video on these things, but I still say past 3-minute trailers and videos, it isn't going to happen. People are buying large screen TVs for a reason.

Right now, the ability to purchase video on iTunes and play it on my computer doesn't really give me anything more than my big-screen TV and my NetFlix subscription doesn't give me, except for a faster time to market. Anybody with cable TV and a Replay is way ahead of what Apple's offering - they can capture any show at any time.

Apple made a big misstep: they put Front Row on the wrong box. Great for crowded dorm rooms but not much else. Unless they change the displays they're putting in, the iMac lcd monitors are not that good for full motion video. What people really want from what I've read on the boards is something in the form factor of a Mac Mini.

Time will tell, but I have to think about my personal experience just in the last two weeks. The wife and I watched the three Matrix and Harry Potter movies on a 65" wide-screen CRT from DVD, in Dolby Digital 5.1. Not a single one of these movies was less that 2 hours 20 minutes. Watching them on a 2.5" lcd screen, or even a 15" display in the back of a car, would have been a greatly diminished experience.

Oh, and those TV episodes they're selling? According to the Apple web site you can burn them to a "data CD"; no mention of burning to a set-top playable DVD, which is a real problem. At least you can burn iTunes music to a standard audio CD. I won't pay for downloadable video I can't do the same thing with.

All that said, the really cool thing in Wednesday's announcement are the specs on the new iMac G5. $1300 buys a heck of a lot of computer these days, and the boost to a better graphics processor was way overdue.
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Old 10-13-2005, 01:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeister0
I know it is fashionable to say people will watch video on these things, but I still say past 3-minute trailers and videos, it isn't going to happen. People are buying large screen TVs for a reason.

Right now, the ability to purchase video on iTunes and play it on my computer doesn't really give me anything more than my big-screen TV and my NetFlix subscription doesn't give me, except for a faster time to market. Anybody with cable TV and a Replay is way ahead of what Apple's offering - they can capture any show at any time.
It's all about mobility, having access to videos anytime, anywhere. It's main appeal is for people on the go who want to stay "connected" to their favorite shows until they get a chance to watch them on their big screen HDTV at home. It's also about mobile entertainment, which is a huge market, especially when you consider the increasing popularity of in-car entertainment systems. Let the kids watch some short Pixar films or their favorite Disney shows while they're in the back seat. Of course it isn't the great cinematic experience you get at home with a large screen HDTV and surround sound home theater, but you can't exactly carry that around with you everywhere, and you're not always on your couch at home.

Quote:
Apple made a big misstep: they put Front Row on the wrong box. Great for crowded dorm rooms but not much else. Unless they change the displays they're putting in, the iMac lcd monitors are not that good for full motion video. What people really want from what I've read on the boards is something in the form factor of a Mac Mini.
Give them time, I'm sure it's in the works. Front Row is the "10 foot GUI" for OS X that many of us have been waiting for. Combine a Mac Mini with a large disk, Elgato Eye-TV recording capabilities, Front Row, and outputs for your HDTV, and you have a digital hub for your living room. Then optimize other applications in OS X like Widgets, Mail, and Safari for Front Row, and you have the media center experience that Microsoft has been struggling to get right for years.
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Old 10-13-2005, 03:05 PM   #9
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The thing I don't get is why the iTunes store is only offering video in the size compatible with the little vidpod 320x240 screen. Why not offer "Lost" exclusively to iTunes customers to watch inline? Seems pretty silly.
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Old 10-13-2005, 03:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brian
It's also about mobile entertainment, which is a huge market, especially when you consider the increasing popularity of in-car entertainment systems. Let the kids watch some short Pixar films or their favorite Disney shows while they're in the back seat.
This kind of thing is really beginning to irk me. Don't we need to be getting ourselves and our kids <i>away</i> from constant media exposure rather than adding to it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian
Give them time, I'm sure it's in the works. Front Row is the "10 foot GUI" for OS X that many of us have been waiting for. Combine a Mac Mini with a large disk, Elgato Eye-TV recording capabilities, Front Row, and outputs for your HDTV, and you have a digital hub for your living room. Then optimize other applications in OS X like Widgets, Mail, and Safari for Front Row, and you have the media center experience that Microsoft has been struggling to get right for years.
I agree that they could do this and do it extremely well. Heck, take the iMac, remove the display, lay it flat, put some rubber feet on the end, and you're 80% there. To me it feels like a timid half-step rather than going whole hog, unless they're waiting for the next generation DVD struggle to sort itself out.
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Old 10-13-2005, 03:56 PM   #11
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This kind of thing is really beginning to irk me. Don't we need to be getting ourselves and our kids <i>away</i> from constant media exposure rather than adding to it?
I'm not saying whether it's a good thing or not, but we do consume a lot of content and there is a huge market for it.

Who's to say it's necessarily bad thing either if content becomes available that is educational and informative. I mentioned video travel and historical guides for popular travel destinations before as a likely form of mobile video content, and I think it's a perfect example of content that isn't mindless drivel.
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Old 10-13-2005, 04:40 PM   #12
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This kind of thing is really beginning to irk me. Don't we need to be getting ourselves and our kids <i>away</i> from constant media exposure rather than adding to it?
I feel the same way about this. However, the same argument can be applied to mobile gaming, which requires even more attention. It's up to the parents to make responsible decisions for their children.

I don't believe there are that many people who would actually want to view video on the go. You can listen to music while working out or driving your car, but watching video requires you to sit down and pay attention. Now how many people actually have the time and chance to do this?

Last edited by Laurens; 10-13-2005 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 10-13-2005, 06:24 PM   #13
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I mentioned video travel and historical guides for popular travel destinations before as a likely form of mobile video content, and I think it's a perfect example of content that isn't mindless drivel.
Hmm...that is an interesting suggestion. Reminds me of the guided audio tours you can get in museums; there could be an application there for walking tours of historical sites.
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