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Apple's Moment — Consumers Want To Download To TV 295

Posted by kdawson
from the last-10-feet dept.
ack154 writes, "With so much recent news surrounding Apple's upcoming iTV system, their timing may be nearly perfect. Ars Technica gives the rundown on a recent report, released from Accenture, stating that about half of users surveyed across the globe are now looking to get downloadable videos, movies and other content onto their TV. Based on the article, if Apple can get the right combination in features, price, and usability, many consumers may be ready to eat it up. Macworld has more speculation on Apple's potential living room dominance."
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Apple's Moment — Consumers Want To Download To TV

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:27AM (#16153289) Homepage Journal
    I've been shying away from iTunes television for awhile now, mostly because they're so slow at getting the content on there. It's cheaper and easier for me to watch the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica on SciFi rather than wait two weeks for iTunes.

    However, I have long considered that if iTunes was a bit faster at getting the content (or had exclusive content!) I'd hop on the bandwagon in an instant. To that end, I was one of the many who downloaded the Aquaman Pilot to check it out. For a pilot, it was quite good - though a bit too "hip and edgy" in Stargate 200 [youtube.com] kind of way. Still, if there were more episodes I would have seriously considered downloading them.

    Then iTunes got Eureka.

    For those of you who don't know what it is, Eureka is a SciFi Channel original TV Show that is on during weeknight timeslots. Exactly the type of timeslots I don't manage to catch very often. I've been curious about the show for a while now, but wasn't curious enough to pay a $1.99. But then iTunes had a special. The Pilot Episode could be downloaded for FREE, as in at no charge. (A promotion that I'm sad to say appears to be over.) So I downloaded it.

    Suffice it to say, this show was GREAT! It was like Stargate hits Andy Griffith, if you can imagine that. All the humor and technobabble of a SciFi show, but combined with a traditionally rooted character who's trying to make the adjustment. As of yesterday, I have now purchased and watched every Eureka episode available. The quality is good, and the price is right. If iTunes would just carry Stargate and stop making us wait 2 weeks, I'd cancel my cable. Even at a $1.99 an episode, I would probably save money over what I pay Comcast today.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I just don't watch the TV enough to make cable worth my while. Which means that I'm paying a premium to watch shows like Stargate, BSG, and Star Trek Enhanced. :(

    If there's any complaint I have about iTunes its that its video player is still somewhat immature. I often like to watch shows in a small window while I work. (I have a TV card for a TV.) Unfortunately, iTunes still lacks an "Always on Top" feature to prevent the show from getting obscured by the corners of windows. Also, the size controls are a bit random If you undock the window from the postage stamp in the corner. For example, if I minimize the main iTunes window (what else am I going to do with it while I'm watching a show?) the "Fullscreen" control will redock the player rather than switching between full screen and windowed mode.

    These aren't MAJOR issues, but I do hope they get fixed in the near future.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Acidictadpole (813697)
      If they do manage to get the stuff up-to-date, with a big enough database. I think this is something that I would go for aswell. It seems very useful to be able to come home, sit in front of the television and pick out things you want to watch, go make a sandwich or something and come back and start the show while the rest downloads.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      Eureka is a great show.

      But I seriously doubt I could bring myself to pay $2 an ep to watch it. And there's no way in hell I'd pay per ep if I'm limited to watching it in low res, in a shitty window, and have no control over what device I get to watch it on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *

        And there's no way in hell I'd pay per ep if I'm limited to watching it in low res

        Depends on what you mean by "low res". iTunes shows TV in standard television resolutions (H.264 - 640x480), which is only low res if you have an HDTV. I'm sure that an HDTV upgrade will be in iTunes' future, but you're correct that it isn't here yet. (Then again, neither is HDTV market penetration.)

        in a shitty window

        Is there something wrong with watching it in full screen? Especially if you have a large monitor or a TV-OUT.

        ha

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by Aladrin (926209)
          I do have an HDTV... I have a 37" HDTV LCD hooked to my computer, as well as my dvd player. And my dvd player can also play divx and xvid via USB. It's quite handy to throw stuff on a thumb drive or usb hard drive and watch it there and free up my computer. (Or not even have it on.)

          And I never have to worry about 'registration' or finding out at the last minute the software glitched and I can't watch what I want after all. No thanks.
        • 640 * 480 is low res if you've got a DVD player.

          1024 * 576 is squarepix PAL DVD resolution, it usually make it onto the disc at 720 * 576
          I wouldn't pay for content at any lower a resolution than that, to be honest :0'
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drewzhrodague (606182)
            640 * 480 is low res if you've got a DVD player.

            If you're using a tube-based NTSC television, you're only seeing ~200 lines of resolution anyway. This is why I record my shows (MythTV for me! [mysettopbox.tv]) at a much lower resolution.
          • by conigs (866121) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @01:43PM (#16155048) Homepage

            Ah, the resolution conversation.

            First of all, the actual resolution of a DVD image is 720x480 NTSC and 720x576 PAL. The displayed resolution, however, can vary depending on how you want to interpolate pixels. The common 640x480 is used because it contains all the vertical resolution of an NTSC signal, and squishes the horizontal resolution to display properly in square pixels. This is the equivalent of display a PAL image at 720x540. Oddly enough, if you display an NTSC signal by stretching out the vertical resolution instead of squishing the horizontal resolution, you also get 720x540, but with interpolated pixels. PAL would be 768x576.

            The 1024 res you mention is for 16:9 anamorphic image. Do you know why the call it anamorphic? Because the actual signal is 720x576. The image needs to be stretched out to display properly. For NTSC this would be 853x480.

            But I see after writing all this, that you did mention square pixel resolution. So I guess this post is rather useless. However, 640x480 isn't that low res if you have an NTSC DVD player, especially considering I'd have to either throw out or interpolate information to to display it properly on a square pixel display. But let's not get into a PAL vs NTSC flame-war. I personally hate them both for different reasons.

      • by iroll (717924)

        watching it in low res, in a shitty window.

        Yawn, this has been discussed. The resolution (especially now, since they upped it to 640x480) has always been comparable to NTSC broadcast. I bought the pilot for "Knight Rider" just to check it out, and put it on a 35" TV (component video from my iBook using a cheap adapter). It was about what I expected for a twenty five year old pilot, and looked fine. That was at 320x240, I'm sure the latest videos are much better. And what's with the "shitty window" comm

        • The resolution (especially now, since they upped it to 640x480) has always been comparable to NTSC broadcast.

          I just checked the resolution of an iTunes download (The Village), and it was 640x344. This is only slightly more than half as many lines as PAL, and so doesn't really fall into the category of 'acceptable.' There was also very noticeable aliasing and macro-blocking.

          For TV shows, I don't care too much about the quality - 640x344 would probably be enough - but I do care about being able to play

      • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Thursday September 21, 2006 @11:10AM (#16153685) Homepage Journal
        But I seriously doubt I could bring myself to pay $2 an ep to watch it.

        Hell, that would probably save me money. I'm one of those weird people who watch little enough television that if I could pay for the shows I watch by episode, it would be cheaper then paying a monthly cable/satellite bill.

        I'd love to see some kind of tiered pay structure set up. For example:

        • $1.99 per episode on the day it's released.
        • $1.99 x number of episodes - %discount for prepayment for pre-paying for a whole season that you can download whenever you want to.
        • $1.49 per episode a couple of months after it's released.
        • $1.49 per episode x number of episodes - %discount for volume purchase for a complete season after all episodes from that season have been released
        • $0.49 "bargain bin" for shows that are several years old and that never really got good ratings

        I doubt the networks would go for it, because it would cut into DVD sales. (Never mind that it would increase overall sales and end up making them lots and lots more money in the end. Remember, they're stupid.)

        But if Apple had enough boxes out there to start developing their own content (i.e. pay television and movie studios to develop good-quality content exclusively for them), not only would they revolutionize how we all watch television, they would revolutionize the entire entertainment distribution medium. There's no telling what kind of major impact it would have on television networks and cable/satellite companies.

        Of course, you can probably shortly thereafter count on cable/satellite companies paying lots and lots of money to Congresscritters so that they'll legislate what can and can't be shown via iTV, lest they lose major marketshare. (A la the way cable companies legislated what television networks I can and can't watch via DirecTV here in Atlanta. "Sorry, if you want to watch the New York ABC station, you're SOL!") Hopefully by that time though, Apple will have made enough money to fight that kind of fire with bigger and hotter fire.

        At any rate, this is definitely an idea that is right on—not ahead of its—time, and I'll be one of the first in line to get a new iTV. Really exciting stuff!

        • by Firehed (942385)
          While I like your idea of a pricing structure, Apple does already have something to that vague effect regarding full seasons - a season pass feature for sporting stuff and some amount of discount for TV shows as well. Of course, the latter is very inconsistant(sp), saving anywhere from a few cents to a few bucks, but then again it's hardly Apple's fault that some shows have ten episodes per season and some have twenty or more. They're, from what I've seen, still MUCH cheaper than the DVD box-set you'll fi
    • by pilgrim23 (716938)
      For a couple of years now I have used an Elgato EyeHome (www.elgato.com). This wonderful gadget outputs to a TV anb inputs from a RJ45. It feeds video content across a network from my Macs (and PCs with a little software voodoo) to the television and even comes with a lazy man's remote control. It works wired or wireless Several other boxes taylored to the PC side also are available but the EyeHome is sleeker cooler, works with a Mac and is cheap (mine was under 200 bucks iirc). It will play most code
    • by AceCaseOR (594637)
      My main reason for not using iTunes to get TV shows is, mainly, because I've been needing to get more RAM for my PC and have been on a really tight budget recently. Now my budget has improved. However, I'm far enough behind on Lost and Battlestar Galactica, that it'd have to catch up on DVD anyway. However, for shows like Eureka, I may use iTunes (once I get that RAM update) to get the episodes - as I don't have cable (and, as an added bonus, no commerchals!).
      • by hal2814 (725639)
        "because I've been needing to get more RAM for my PC"

        You're lucky you only need more RAM. Quicktime is a bloated piece of turd on my PIII 450MHz computer with 256MB of RAM and a Radeon TV Out card hooked up to my television. I can play DVDs and most divx encoded videos just fine with this setup but Quicktime videos are terrible.
    • I personally just need to hear two words: Adult Swim.
    • The quality is good, and the price is right. If iTunes would just carry Stargate and stop making us wait 2 weeks, I'd cancel my cable. Even at a $1.99 an episode, I would probably save money over what I pay Comcast today.

      I'm not a typical consumer, but I think I do represent a common market segment in some ways. I don't need or want a telephone, aside from my cell phone. I use the internet and my cell phone to communicate. This is very common among younger people. VoIP is going to kill the normal phone b

      • ``I can manage this on my own, but 99% of the populace won't because it is too hard.''

        I think that number is a bit high. I know it's a popular assumption among Slashdotters that they are in some very small group of people who understand computers enough for certain tasks, but I wonder how true that assumption is. When I was in high school, I think that percentage may have been one or a few percent of my classmates. However, some of these people will have picked up computers skills by now, and I know that no
    • by timster (32400)
      Here's a complaint, while we're on the subject. Apple doesn't care about making episodes available ON TIME. It's not possible to plan an evening of iTunes-provided TV watching for a show, because there's no guarantee that any reasonably-recent episode will be made available at any particular time. I've seen episodes of shows that run on a daily schedule show up more than a week late, with no explanation.

      Apple support will not respond to this issue, blaming "content providers", but it's Apple's store and
    • by CrazyTalk (662055)
      It's cheaper for me to download an episode or two of BSG on iTunes then pay ~$80/month for Digital Cable to get the sci fi channel - hence I use iTunes.
      • Get Dish Network. I have the basic plan, Top 60 [dishnetwork.com], and get Sci-Fi, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, and MTV2 (for Headbanger's Ball) for $29.99/mo. It's $39.99/mo if you want to get FX and Animal Planet (amoung many other channels). What's nice, too, is when the networks try to force them to carry more channels and raise the price, Dish actually stands up to them. This cost me about two weeks without Comedy Central, but Viacom caved and my rates didn't go up like all my Comcast-using friends rates did.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      and I scream a big "DUH" to the world. I have been doing this exactly for over a year now with my own hardware because itunes refuses to deliver in a format that is high resolution. Sorry but on a 32" SDTV itunes video content looks like crap. double the resolution and it looks good. So I have a couple of mythtv boxes living at relatives and friends homes recording CableTV for me and feed the shows back to me over broadband at night. works great. I get my Tv shows I want, dont pay for cable or sattelit
    • Well said. And there is another point: There are places where SciFi is not available. Example: For a person that lives in a small country, the demographics are too tight for a channel like SciFi. So, we don't get to see Battlestar Galactica and the producer doesn't get the added revenue in his/her pockets.

      As a friend of mine recently pointed out, the long tail has proved a very successful prospect for internet based companies, because of the pervasiveness of the Net. Shows that otherwise would get no audien
  • by Kohath (38547) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:33AM (#16153343)
    ...if Apple can get the right combination in features, price, and usability, many consumers may be ready to eat it up

    This is often true. If a product can be designed, priced, and produced so that it succeeds, then the product may be a success. Thanks Slashdot!
  • by beckerist (985855) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:35AM (#16153354) Homepage
    The moment they bring back Walker: Texas Ranger is the moment I'll buy this product.
  • by Tavor (845700) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:37AM (#16153377)
    First they came out with the iPod and iTunes at a time when the 'geekery' (us) and the 'general public' wanted MP3 players and a convenient download service, even though the RIAA cried wolf.
    Now, we all want downloadable television/video content (as seen by YouTube, et al.) and iTV seems to be just that.
    If the Form Factor is right, the price point is right, it should work.
    (UI Omitted, as being Apple the UI *will* be right...)

    Full disclosure: I am not an Apple fanboy. And the names give me an iHeadache.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Golias (176380)
      Jobs was quite emphatic during the Stevenote where this was presented that "iTV" was a code-word name they definitely will not use for the final product. IIRC, his exact words were, "we will come up with a better name for it." I'm sure it will be something people can live with.

      Stupid code name, cool final product name. Sort of the opposite of what Nintendo just did this year. :P
    • by dfghjk (711126)
      Of course, Apple was not the first to "Get It" in either case and prior to Apple "Getting It" it was not "To Be Gotten". mp3 players were not a product for the general public when Apple got involved but they were successful among earlier adopters (remember that the iPod was originally positioned as a mac-only accessory). Jobs himself poopoo-ed video on portable players while Apple was working internally on delivering the feature. Apple may well dominate both markets but it certainly wasn't the first to "
      • They actually were the first to "Get It" in both cases. Yeah other products existed that essentially had the same functionality, but Apple "Got It" in that they integrated the software, the hardware and the online store in such a manner that it was easy to use for the non-tech savy out there. For the most part everything just works when it comes to iTunes, the iPod and the iTMS. If they can duplicate that with their iTV device they'll have a hit on their hands.

        Not being able to burn to DVD is a downside, bu
  • A la carte (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jasoneisen (1003614) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:37AM (#16153379)
    For those of us who for years have demanded a la carte pricing plans from cable companies, we are now finally getting a step closer.
    • (not a sarcastic one this time). My question is -- will Daily Show be $.99 an episode or something? That adds up to a whole cable bill at that point...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
        The Daily Show can be bought either $1.99 an episode or $9.99 for the next 16 new episodes., that's about $0.63/ep.

        I paid $9.99 to get Comedy Central for a year.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      The thing is, you aren't really paying for the channels themselves. What you are doing when you pay Cableco for basic is the cable infrastructure & maintainance, not the channels.

      You can still get a la carte with analog C-band satellite. It's gradually going away as channels move to digital C-band, but as I said in another post, I paid $9.99 to get Comedy Central for a year. I do have to buy five options (channels or channel bundles) at a time, so that's about $50/yr.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:38AM (#16153394) Homepage Journal
    No kidding! Just as people were trading around digital music for years and years before the labels had the bright idea to try and sell it that way, the powers that be are finally catching up to all the P2P traders of TV episodes.

    Personally, I only follow a couple of shows, and all my TV content for the past several years has been either DVDs (watched on a computer,) downloads (P2P-style,) or authorized streams (bless you, Adult Swim!) I haven't owned an actual television for years.
  • Free TV Online (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:41AM (#16153420) Homepage Journal
    I'm still waiting for free TV online to take off. Just like you can sponsor TV shows with advertisements, so you can sponsor online content with them. Let users select what they want to watch when they want to watch it, then stream it to them. Put in a few advertisements on the interface or even inside the stream, and you'll be collecting revenue.

    This sort of thing exists (at least it does in the Netherlands), but it doesn't seem to be taking off. For me, the reason is that I haven't yet found a service that I can use. Most of them are all MSIE & WMP and ActiveX required - and we refuse to even try to give you service if your system fails the test. There's no way I'm going to install all that crap on my system, but I can't imagine it would be too hard for content providers to use more interoperable technologies.

    I would love to be able to watch a movie whenever I feel like it, without having to depend on one I like being broadcast in the few hours a day when a few TV channels broadcast them. I'm sure this goes for plenty of othe people, too. Right now, many people are getting their DivX movies from the shady corners of the net, but who wants to wait for hundreds of megabytes to finish downloading, hoping that the quality will be ok, subtitles will be in sync, etc. etc. if they can get free movies off reputable sites, and start watching right away?
    • by Em Ellel (523581) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:59AM (#16153567)
      I would love to be able to watch a movie whenever I feel like it, without having to depend on one I like being broadcast in the few hours a day when a few TV channels broadcast them. I'm sure this goes for plenty of othe people, too.

      Now if only someone invented a box that would let you watch shows whenever you want to without depending on TV schedule.... Maybe digitaly record tv content and let you watch it whenever... that would be cool....kind of a "Tv In-Video Out" device, something that could Replay TV content any time you want to... you know, this T.I.V.O thing could be very cool if someone just would invent it.... too bad its just a Myth, and there is nothing like that..

      -Em

      • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
        Right, I should check these out. Thanks for pointing this out, and you get bonus points for humor! :-)

        On the other hand, what's with all this extra hardware when my computer is already perfectly equiped to play video?
  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:42AM (#16153432)
    They want to use wireless to pull near-DVD-quality video/audio off of a Mac and display it on a TV. Problem is the entire rest of the industry is shying away from wireless LAN for this use because it is so difficult to make it work reliably. Data rates are sufficient but error handling and latency are NOT. This is for sure the reason the "iTV" is not ready for prime time yet.

    The problem of syncing-up the audio and video latency alone is tough to conquer (and is most likely the reason you can't stream iTMS TV show audio over AirTunes now). On top of that is the much bigger problem of making sure the packets arrive on time, in a home environment that is increasingly bathed in interfering radio signals. Both of these problems can be addressed by caching at the TV end, which is undoubtedly the reason for the large form factor of the iTV (compare to the size of the AirPort Express).

    Finally there is the user experience to consider--right now for example, when I change the volume or equalizer settings on my iBook, it takes about 1.5-2 seconds to be manifested in my stereo speakers over AirTunes. How will this be solved on the iTV? I'm used to pausing my movies the instant my finger hits the remote. I guess the remote could command the iTV, and the iTV could communicate the command to the Mac (thus keeping the latency hidden from the viewer). But this would mean that you could not control your movies or TV shows from the Mac itself, which sort of breaks the paradigm of the Mac as the center of your digital life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by truthsearch (249536)
      I stream high quality video over my wireless LAN to my PowerBook all the time. As long as the buffer is set to 1 second or more I have no problems at all.
      • What software do you recommend to do this? I tried Videolan but couldn't make it work successfully from iMac to iBook. Thnks
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 21, 2006 @11:00AM (#16153582)
      Rumors suggest the iTV has a hard drive. That takes care of all your latency problems.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MMC Monster (602931)
        Not only that, it doesn't have to be a large storage hard drive or something particularly fast (10gb drive at 5400 rpm should work fine) as long as it's reasonably small.
    • by tf23 (27474)
      As long as the ethernet port on the back of the thing is gigabit, I couldn't care what wifi chipset they have in the thing.

      My ReplayTV already has cat5 going to it. So I'll either add another jack or add a cheap gigabit switch. No need to deal with wifi problems. Or if the ReplayTV dies (had it for years, it's started acting up lately, my wife's getting fed up with it) I'd just plop the iTV in place.

      However, I'd still need to purchase something to capture the video to replace the ReplayTV. This'd be so muc
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Have Blue (616)
      All of these problems will be solved if the device streams the compressed file and then performs the decompression itself- the Airport Express does not do this. Audio/video synch wouldn't be an issue because they're both coming out of the iTV. Press a volume key and the volume changes instantly, because the iTV would handle that. This would also greatly decrease the load on the network and the remote Mac.
    • by illumin8 (148082)

      The problem of syncing-up the audio and video latency alone is tough to conquer (and is most likely the reason you can't stream iTMS TV show audio over AirTunes now).

      Actually, his problem is very easily solved: Read the raw data off of your network filesystem and do the decoding on the set-top box. All audio/video latency problems vanish, unless of course your content was encoded incorrectly.

      The problem with the Airport Express and audio syncing with TV is that while the video decoding is taking place on

    • by aralin (107264)
      This parent post is not really that insightful. First of all, you have ethernet and USB in iTV. So the wireless point is moot. If wireless does not work for you, pull a wire. Second, there is not going to be any delay, you will control iTV directly while sitting at your TV. You will control your Mac when sitting at your Mac. Why would you want to manage your TV from your Mac, which are likely going to be in different rooms is beyond my comprehension. I mean, not why you want to do it, that is obvious, but w
  • Tivo or iTV (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fysiks Wurks (949375) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:42AM (#16153438)
    So, which is cheaper Tivo serivce or buying all my content from the iTunes Store?

    Say there are 4 shows I really like @ $2 a show for 20 episodes = $160. That is $13.33/mo
    Say there are 8 shows I really like @ $2 a show for 20 episodes = $320. That is $26.66/mo

    Yes, ease of use and the cool factor will be a draw; however, economics will be the driving force.

    Which model is kicking ass in the legal music word: buy your digital music or subcribe to a service and "rent" the music?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Well, many shows have Season Pass available. So if you know off-the-bat that you'll be watching a whole season of a show, you can get a season pass. I believe that it cut the price of individual episodes down a lot, around half. I just don't recall the prices off the top of my head.
    • Re:Tivo or iTV (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Golias (176380) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @11:11AM (#16153694)
      Say there are 8 shows I really like @ $2 a show for 20 episodes = $320. That is $26.66/mo

      If those are cable shows, that's a bargain. Nobody gets cable TV for $26/month. If you only like a handful of shows, disconnect the cable service and download them.

      If those are not cable shows, then there's no need for TiVo service either. An EyeTV box will let you tune them in over the air for free and record them to your Mac in glorious HDTV.

      Mind you, I would not have reccommended using iTMS for any TV shows a month ago. The crap resolution was a deal-killer unless you planned on only watching them on your iPod screen. The new 640x480 progressive-scan resolution ain't bad though. Apart from a few wide-screen shows, it's not a bad way to go. In many cases, the iTMS season packages are cheaper than the DVD box sets of the same show.
    • Yes, but you're also freed from paying 40-60$/month for cable/satellite if you're just using them for those 4-8 shows.
    • MythTV for me! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drewzhrodague (606182)
      Why do TiVo, when you can MythTV [mysettopbox.tv]? Spend $50 on a PVR-150, and record all the shows that you want. Drag them onto your laptop when you get around to it. That, and the other 90% of MythTV really makes the television something interesting again -- it's got shows I want to watch.
      Plus, it eats the commercials -- how cool is that?
  • 2 weeks? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Harlockjds (463986) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:49AM (#16153492)
    >It's cheaper and easier for me to watch the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica on SciFi rather than wait two weeks for iTunes.

    2 weeks for BSG ep's? If i remember corectly last seasion they were available the next day (BSG is the only reasion i started using itunes since i gave up my dvr i had to watch ep's somehow and firday night isn't allways the best time for me to watch tv)
  • People bitch about paying $500 or $600 for a PS3, so why should they pay the same or more for a Mac Mini in a similar role?
    • A Mac Mini is a complete general purpose desktop computer. The PS3 is not.
      • by DrXym (126579)
        Why do you need a general purpose computer under your TV to perform multimedia playback?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CrackedButter (646746)
      Plus its a mac, we mac users just lap this kind of shit up!
    • by spicyjeff (6305)
      Because the iTV is half that price at $299, and tailored specifically to the market. People won't have to fight with it, it will just work. And video content won't be, or seem to be, and secondary consideration to playing games, like on a PS3 or XBox 360.
  • by hodet (620484) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:52AM (#16153516)
    "..stating that about half of users surveyed across the globe are now looking to get downloadable videos, movies and other content onto their TV"

    ...and the other half want it when they see someone else do it. I have XBMC on my network and people can't believe that I stream video from my pc to the tv. First thing they say is ....."I want it!".

  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:53AM (#16153524)
    I thought they called that "Xbox".
  • by orb_fan (677056) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @11:00AM (#16153587)
    iTV is a great idea (or a great implementation of an existing idea), but I have one major problem with it; it needs to look the same as other AV equipment. This seems to be a recurring problem with all the tech companies that try to create an AV device. They create these designs that while looking great, just don't fit in with the rest of the components. Please lets have a version that is 19" wide that comes with either brushed aluminum or black, and give it a LCD display so that you don't have to have the damn TV on to browse your music collection.
  • Go on and try to get all of this great content. Do the abnormal and even think ahead to have things ready when you want them.

    This isn't video on demand, it's video-after-drumming-your-fingers. I wish it weren't true, but even with faster DOCSIS 3.0 modems, you'll wait for a long time for teeny little rasters that hardly suit a cell phone.

    I truly wish we had distributed networking/cached infrastructure that could do this. But to everyone's surprise, we don't.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *

      Go on and try to get all of this great content.

      Um... ok.

      *click* *click*

      (Waits 30 seconds...)

      *click* Play>

      So... what's the problem again? As I said in the first post, I've watched an entire season of Eureka off of iTunes, presumably in 640x480 - H264. I am able to start watching my show within seconds of the download starting. I am not seeing any of the bandwidth issues you're referring to. Even doing back of the envelope calculations shows that there's more than enough bandwidth on a cable line.

      You do kn

    • It's close enough for now. I think we'll get there in due time. Sometimes the demand has to be there to prompt ISPs to upgrade.

      BTW: iTunes is now distributing all their paid videos in 640x480 resolution.
      • It's a great idea to put pressure on ISPs to deliver. But what of Net Neutrality? Will Verizon's or Comcast's videos get better data rates than say, Apple's?

        The showdown is yet to come.

        Add that to the consumption problems when you have three teens in the house and two adults. Planning, codecs, all sorts of things come into the equation. Nonetheless, most people will be disappointed... it's just not fast enough yet.
  • Steam like content (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BMonger (68213) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @11:07AM (#16153653)
    You know how you could download most (if not all) of Half Life 2 before it was out, then on release day BOOM you could play it?

    Why not the same with TV shows? Get a Season Pass to Lost, it preloads the morning of and knows that at 7pm in your time zone (or whatever time it's on) that you are now allowed to watch that content from your iTV.

    I know a lot of people here want to pick what cable channels they have and pay a smaller price... it'd be almost nicer to just pick the shows.
  • I might use a Tivo device that downloaded shows instead for recording from cable/sat.
    I can't see wanting to pay for each episode of some show! - yuck.
    Also it needs that automatic aspect so you can just tell it want you want generally and it will
    download it for you at night.
    • People pay something like $12/mo. for TiVo service, on top of the $30-$100 they spend on cable. Do you know how much downloadable TV that would pay for?
  • For "average" person
    Entertainment budget: about $120 a month.
    Television hours: About 112 a month.
    Correct price is about $1 per *HOUR*.

    Price TV Series people want... $1 to $2 per hour ($3 for foreign made series often).
    Price Movie people want... $2.50 to $5 per hour.
    Price "cable" people want... $60 per month of all you can eat with one set of premium channels.

    Price music video people want... $1 per 3 minutes.
    Price music people want... $1 per 3 minutes.

    Can we see why there is so much piracy pressure on music
  • I don't necessarily want to download to the TV.

    What I want is to be able to download a show and watch it on whatever device I want to watch it on. I want to be able to watch it on my PDA while during the train trip to work, or on my TV in my living room, or on my desktop computer in the den, or on a laptop.

    I want to be able to back it up, or burn it to DVD to watch at a friend's house or later at any time without losing my entire collection if my hard drive crashes.

    I want to download it on my Windows machin
  • by kinglink (195330) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @12:08PM (#16154190)
    Don't know about the rest of you, but when I watch 24, or Lost or any other drama they are usually shown once a week. However if you miss that one episode you're screwed because every episode leads to another episode. This would be fine except for the fact that if you don't see this one episode you're lose the thrust of the story, and every episode is important to understanding the show.

    So let's say you're driving home at 6:51 and you're car breaks down, you're show is on at 7:00, you've missed it, so either you have two options, download the episode (legally/illegally) or skip the rest of the season because you don't want to spoil yourself.

    But wait what if we have DVR? Ok that works.

    Come home at 8:00 all mad at the mechanic for overcharging you and find that there was a cable outage and your DVR didn't record the program, you're still in the same place.

    The way TV shows works now the only option is to have something where you can see the episode so you can keep watching the show so the advertisers will keep paying for advertising. The part I disprove of is the fact that they charge you for the right to watch the show again, and will scream bloody murder if they find out you downloaded the episode for free, personally I find the system to be broken and Apple is only a stopgap.
  • by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @04:01PM (#16156334)
    While I probably won't use iTMS for video content, I have been continuously archiving several hours of various tv shows onto my new 80GB iPod ever since it arrived last week. Not only am I ripping content from DVDs I own, I've also been collecting up several shows onto a digital video recorder and then transferring that content onto my computer for export to the iPod. This has proven to be a great solution for keeping an organized collection of shows you can't otherwise through other sources.

    In my case, the bulk of my collected content has been animated shows that are currently very difficult to obtain, such as "Rocko's Modern Life", which have yet to be released on DVD.

    However, being an animator myself, having the ability to archive and organize large amounts of animated content serves a purpose beyond simple entertainment. It allows me to access any scene, in any episode, of any show on demand, and then lets me examine the scene in question for ideas that I can use within my own work. This is extremely useful, since I no longer have to interrupt my workflow to locate examples of various techniques used in the industry. As long as I know what episode and approximately where in the episode the scene I need occurs, I can bring it up in a matter of seconds.

    I could see this having applications in other fields as well. For example, auto manufacturers could create a video-database of how to repair/replace certain parts of a vehicle, and then allow auto mechanics to store this database locally onto an iPod style device. Then, as the mechanic is working on a vehicle, if something comes up he can't quite figure out, he can simply pull out the device in question, go to vehicle's manufacturer/make/model in the database and bring up video relevant to the problem he's trying to fix. It's definitely not something cool like "augmented reality goggles", but it's certainly a step up from having to climb up out of the pit, and then flip through a 1,000+ page book to locate the needed info.

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