Get ready for the iPod video torrent search sites

“Anyone who has ever delved into the world of torrents has been greeted by a slew of file formats. Yes, the video is usually some flavor of DivX. However, the bit rate, the resolution, the audio format, etc. can all be different. The onus is then placed on you, the consumer, to download and configure the proper codecs. What if, on the other hand, a new set of torrents emerged. Instead of files intended for all types of destination devices, these files just assume they’ll be played on the wildly popular iPod. It would be easy enough to encode iPod friendly versions. It’s just H.264 and Apple (surprise surprise) offers a $29.99 upgrade to its Quicktime Pro package which offers encoding into H.264,” Stephen Speicher writes for Engadget.

All of a sudden you’ll be able to look at:


and know that not only will the file play on your iPod, but that it’s been optimized to do so. Suddenly, the lack of DivX support isn’t so important. In fact, by excluding DivX Apple might have given the torrent community the direction it needs to truly make iPod torrents consumer friendly.

Speicher writes, “Within six months we’ll see iPod torrent search sites. People will be thanking Apple and wondering why DivX was such a big deal. But why on earth would Apple want to drive torrent traffic? To pressure the content owners of course.”

Full article here.

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  1. About a year ago my friends were laughing at me for encoding DVDs into mp4 files. Mp4 don’t play on DVD players they said (as opposed to Divx). My argument was that DVD players/recorders would be dead one day. Ok not anytime soon but I felt that one day people would just plug their computers into their TVs or wirelessly transmit to it. What I’ve been doing is I have a 250gig Lacie external drive, loaded with all my movies, & music plugged into my TV via my VCR and I watch stuff that way. Its a bit cumbersome, I have to start the movie in my bedroom where the mac is and run to the lounge room to watch. But I here a RF mouse could be my saviour allowing me to control my mac from the lounge. Clumsey but doable. So all in all I’m glad I future proofed myself by deciding on the mp4 format. All my friends will now have to convert their AVIs to a Quicktime format. And wmv, forget about it.
    Who’s sorry now.

  2. I disagree with a lot of this article.

    First of all, I do not believe there is a problem with pricing. I think $1.99 is a fair price. I know, I know, it’s free on tv, but that is not what this is about. I don’t think people are planning on buying an episode the day after it airs.. This whole buying tv episodes is about buying older episodes that we missed and can’t TIvo. Or hearing about a new series halfway through the season and wanting to catch up. For those purposes, it can’t be beat.

    However, I do feel that in order for this model to really work there needs to be a couple of changes rather quickly. The first being the 320 x 240 resolution of these files. I bought 3 videos and 2 episodes of Lost yesterday and the quality is not nearly good enough to watch on anything but an iPod. Images are severly distorted when you enlarge them to any size other than the artwork pane in iTunes. Full screen on a 20″ Apple display is unwatchable. There needs to be an easy way to watch these purchased episodes on a a television with at LEAST 640 x 480 resolution. Using the iPod to display these videos on to a TV is only a good idea if the resolution is there and currently it’s not.

  3. “But why on earth would Apple want to drive torrent traffic?”

    Because even if the RIAA and MPAA want to spread a different message to the public, illicit and pirated content drives technology adoption. I’ve known a lot of high school and college students who chose Wintel over Mac precisely because they wanted access to the wider availability of file sharing networks and content. That imbalance has since changed…but if this idea happens and makes bootlegged video content still more Mac and iPod friendly, so much the better!

  4. Seriously, the current iPod is crippled, and its crippling apple’s entire video solution.

    It needs to be able to decode at least a 640X480 stream, around 4-5Mpbs, and downsample it to the smaller screen. This will allow people to save video files in a respectable format and still watch them on the ipod. The way it is right now, you have to choose between iPod compatible and decent resolution, or store 2 different files. Hopefully apple will fix this with the 6th Generation iPod.

  5. A friend (!) recently downloaded 26 episodes of a populat TV show from the web, via bit torrent: they all were 320×240, in mixed formats, either mpg or avi.

    The mpg file at that size weighs around 500 MB, the avi file weighs around 350 MB. The avi file looked good on a 19″ monitor sitting 18 inches from the computer screen, while the mpg looked bad up close: moving back another 18″ made it look reasonable compared to a tv set.

    So I guess my point is that p2pers are used to the size… and prepared for to the looks and the quality too.

    Took a couple of days to dowload all of that too.

  6. There’s no way brodcasters will let us dowload dvd quality footage for 2 bucks, period. They will not do it. Especially for current content. Apple, as usual, had to find a middle term to pull any of this off.

    The solution is a compromise, yes, but it can prove convenient to a lot of people on the move…

  7. The $2 is for one episode. A 24 episode season is $48. That’s heading toward the cost of the DVDs, which are much better quality and have all the extra bits too.

    OK, it’s not as quick or convenient as getting an episode just after it’s aired, but maybe people should learn a bit of patience. The only time I can see this being of use is for missed episodes of favourite TV series. But a better investment would be a PVR.

  8. I am an Apple PMac and iPod fanatic but I can’t see anything of interest in this for me. The stuff I download from Torrents is always stuff shown either in the US or England before here (Oz) such as Battlestar, 24, Alias etc. Even if we had the store in Oz, I can’t see this need for video ‘on demand’ would be any different.

    In addition, I agree with other posts that $2 is way too expensive. 24 episodes of crud quality would be the same price as beautiful professional release box set at cinema quality.

    Finally, the DRM is an issue. I would have to be able to burn it to disc and delete it it, as you can’t keep this stuff permanently on your hard drives, they take up way too much space. Like most people, I own hunderds of DVD’s, and if they all had to be on my HDD’s … plus I would have to back up …

    So then I have to add the costs of DVD-R discs, lables and covers inserts, and box and colur laser printing (about $10/season box set) and it’s not looking economical on top of the $48 purchase price is it?

    MDW: Nooooooonuhuh

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