Watching episode of ABC’s ‘Lost’ on 2.5-inch iPod screen surprisingly compelling

“Apple Computer hopes to do for television and other types of video what it did for music: provide a way for it to be sold — on demand, at a whim — over the Internet,” Dawn C. Chmielewski reports for The Mercury News. “Apple’s unveiling Wednesday of a new video iPod came with the groundbreaking announcement that it would sell prime-time television shows like ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost,’ Pixar short films and music videos — all for download to an iPod for $1.99. Apple’s announcement had echoes of April 2003, when it started selling music,” Dawn C. Chmielewski reports for The Mercury News.

“The experience of watching an early episode of ‘Lost’ displayed on a 2 1/2-inch screen was surprisingly compelling, with sharp images and stereo sound. I found myself drawn into the scene showing the aftermath of the plane crash that defines the show.,” Chmielewski reports.

Chmielewski reports, “Just as was true with music, no device maker has yet to offer an equivalent to iTunes: a single place to go to find music, TV shows, movie shorts or music videos, buy something and move it to your iPod. That could be just the ticket for Hollywood studios struggling with Internet piracy and the growing threat of file-swapping applications designed expressly to distribute large video files.”

Full article here.

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Just a note that the new iPods can display audio and video on any TV or other video device using a US$19.99 Apple iPod AV Cable or S-video cable. An Apple iPod Universal Dock ($39.99) plus an Apple Remote ($19.99, included free with the new iMac G5) are a nice solution for using your iPod to play video on any size screen.

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35 Comments

  1. Has anyone downloaded any TV episodes yet? I’m curious to see how big the files are, as I’m on a campus network that caps bandwidth levels. Also, do the files have DRM built into them with the same restrictions as music (only 5 computers permitted per usage)?

    Either way, this seems very interesting. Sure saves a lot of time to look for torrents to download TV! But iTunes 6 won’t import my AVI files. Boo.

  2. Alan,

    To play .avi files you need to download the DviX codec from DivX.com, which loads an extension into Quicktime.
    Note that the DIvX 5 codec doesn’t work with Tiger or QT7 yet, so you may have to download an earlier version of DivX and see it it works with your QT6.

    If you do download DivX 5, and find that your Classic doesn’t startup past it’s splash screen, see: http://discussions.info.apple.com/webx?13@90.McatatJfX1x.0@.68bac570/1

  3. Alan:
    Yes the files are DRMed, and to my understanding you can put the movie on 5 iPod/Computers, but you can’t burn them.

    I have some WMV and AVI that I wanted to get into Quicktime format, and I have two solutions. If you have Quicktime Pro you can open the AVI and either “Save as…” or Export to a QT format that iTunes can read.

    If you don’t have QT Pro then get ScreenSnapz from Ambrosia Software (http://www.ambrosiasw.com) and do a video capture of the footage and then put the captured footage into iTunes.

  4. Last night I downloaded and watched several episode of Lost that I had missed.

    The quality of the video and sound on my 20″ 2 GHz iMac (set for full screen display) was surprisingly good. This is for real — Apple has got a viable format for distributing video. I really enjoyed watching the ‘missing’ episodes. At $1.99 per episode, the price is attractive; I may very well collect a great many episodes of favorite TV shows.

    Each Lost episode runs for about 43 minutes and requires on average some 200 MB storage space (no commercials). Given the low cost of storage media these days, Apple’s distribution method will allow ordinary users to make collections of favorite videos easily and affordably. This is a winner. I’ll probably get both a video iPod and an new iMac.

  5. I want to see how these videos hold up when played on a 46 inch TV screen. Does H264 scale up that well without any apparent pixeling. If it does, then Apple are sitting on a gold mine.

    Personally I wouldn’t buy TV shows since I have a DVR. However, movies would be interesting if the picture quality was good on an HDTV.

    Perhaps I’m asking for too much at the moment. I like DVR, but it would be good if titles could be archived and playable on a PC. Sadly, neither itunes nor regular DVRs will allow you to burn to DVD.

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