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Video iPod? No, Video version of ITMS
Posted By Barry Ritholtz On May 17, 2005 @ 3:15 pm In Film,Music,Television,Web/Tech | Comments Disabled
Everybody’s wrong about the video iPod thing. A video iPod would be a dumb idea for lots of reasons, some technical, some psychological. If you want to know where we’re going with video playback, look not to the iPod but to its considerably less famous little brother, AirPort Express.
(Addendum: I see now that at least a couple of commenters have figured this out already. Good for them. You all suck for stealing my surprise. One of them even nailed the big challenge, still to date unsolved, right on the head. I wonder if you guys will know it when you see it?)
Yes, of course we’re going to be selling new types of content via the iTunes distribution model. It may or may not happen through the "iTunes" name. On the one hand, selling movies and TV shows through a store called "iTunes" makes no sense. On the other, iTunes has HUGE brand recognition right now. It’s a marketing decision.
What exactly we offer depends on whose content you’re talking about. Some content will be provided to us in 720-by-486 anamorphic, which we’ll encode in H.264 at between 1 and 2 megabits. (Did you notice that QuickTime 7 has additional support for anamorphic video? I knew you would.) Other content will come in at HD, and for the time being we’ll scale that down to half-HD at 2 Mbps. Doing full 1080/24p at 8 Mbps just isn’t practical right now given that even the fastest cable modems in the US top out at 4 Mbps; in order to get real-time streaming of full-HD content, you’d need one of those new-fangled fiber optic Internet services that the telcos are starting to roll out. That’s too forward-thinking for phase one. But we can do 2 Mbps now to the same customers we’re shipping iTunes songs to.
Pricing, terms and dates will be totally up in the air until five minutes before we announce, and maybe even after that. Remember the Australian store? We had to put that roll-out on indefinite hiatus when The Label That Shall Not Be Named pulled out. All of this depends on the content-providers. Yes, somebody out there is going to say "Pixar." To that person I whisper the name "Disney" and the phrase "subsidiary rights." It’s not as simple as you think.
Basically what stands between us and roll-out today is 10% technological and 90% business. It strikes me as kinda funny that some people look only at the technology part of our operations for clues as to future directions. Yes, we shipped iTunes 4.8 with video playback. Whoopty-do. iTunes is built on QuickTime. Adding video support was so incredibly trivial, you wouldn’t believe it. It’s a tiny thing. What’s a much bigger thing is the gradual shift, over the past two years, in the way we as a company do business. We are very serious about IP. We’ve made a name for ourselves as being the one company in the industry that, better than anybody else, understands the need to zealously protect intellectual property. So when we go to (say) Disney and ask them to let us distribute their unimaginably valuable IP over the Internet, we’re going to have a little bit more credibility than whatever copycat tries to come along behind us (cough*Napster*cough, cough*Walmart*cough).
These are the things you guys need to be paying attention to. Not the product releases. The lawsuits. That’s where you’ll find the clues.
by As Seen On TV (857673) <firstname.lastname@example.org> on Tuesday May 10, @12:44AM (#12485267)
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