ABC affiliates okay with Apple’s iTunes offering hit ABC shows

“Apple’s iPod profoundly changed the way people experience music. What will it do for television? The industry was intrigued by Wednesday’s announcement that episodes of the hit ABC shows ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Lost’ will be available for Apple’s new video iPod. Episodes will go on sale for $1.99 on iTunes the day after they are broadcast,” David Bauder reports for The Associated Press.

“The network’s affiliates were not told the deal was in the works before Wednesday, and they’re the people most likely to be concerned about its effect. Now the iPod will join digital video recorders and DVDs as another way of seeing TV programs other than their regularly scheduled times on the ABC stations,” Bauder reports. “Leon Long, chairman of ABC’s affiliate board and general manager of WLOX-TV in Biloxi, Miss., wasn’t worried. He said if viewers have the choice of watching ‘Desperate Housewives’ on wide-screen television or a two-inch iPod screen, they will almost certainly watch it on television. The iPod option will likely be attractive to people who missed an episode and want to keep up with the story, he said.”

Full article here.

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Sheesh, don’t tell Mr. Long that iPods can play the episodes not just on their screens, but on any other screens, too. Or that iTunes plays the shows without the need for an iPod at all.

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. You can also use Apple’s $19.99 VGA Display Adapter to connect the mini-VGA port on many Mac models to any VGA-equipped monitor or external projector for video-mirroring. The VGA cable plugs into the VGA video-out port built into your Mac. Or use Apple’s Apple Video Adapter to connect the mini-VGA video output port on your Mac to any S-video or Composite enabled device (TV, VCR, or overhead projector’s S-Video or RCA (composite) cable).

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32 Comments

  1. Uh…quick note, MDN: Comparing “Lost” at 320 x 240 stretched to TV resolution with watching the same program at 720p on a 40″ HD-TV is like comparing 64Kbps WMA with 128Kbps AAC. Heck, comparing it with watching it in standard-def is like comparing it 96Kbps WMA with 128Kbps AAC.

    Yeah, we know–you don’t have to watch it on the little iPod screen, you can watch it on your TV. But don’t sit there and try to convince people that it’s “Just as good.” It isn’t.

  2. Dear MDN, i
    in case you haven’t tried it yet, you can’t watch one of these 320×240 clips on anything larger than an iPod if you actually want to see what is going on. This resolution is terriblly pixilated on Full screen mode, and I can’t imagine it looking any better on a 32″ TV.

    Until Apple offers better resolution (640×480 minimum,) we are stuck watching on the tiny iPod screen.

  3. They didn’t say it, but they are implying that it’s a viable solution. “Just buy the cable and the dock and you can watch it on any size screen.”

    Let’s be honest here, video this size is useless for televsions or full screen display.

  4. very nice. I can see the evolution of real digital age. so ipod video will be alternative way of Tivo for mobile?

    so I expect that I will watch TV news, special stuff as well as TV shows. now TV shows screen qaulity is not really stunning but it will be better soon.

  5. An episode of Lost took 7 minutes to download with earthlink DSL. I’d gladly wait twice as long for a usuable clip.

    Until this happens, I can’t see the point in buying any more videos. I love the idea though… I’m not asking for high def or DVD quality, just give us something usable.

    I know, I know… baby steps!

  6. how does the new iPod deal with video that is larger than 320×240? Does it scale down the material – or does it crop it…realtime? Just wondering since H.264 is very scalable – and no sane person wants to swap video material at 320×240…unless its stuff like a private memo etc.

  7. I’m watching Desperate Housewives full screen on a 19″ LCD monitor and it isn’t as bad as some forks around here make it out to be. It’s very watchable and I bet Apple will up the quality even more after the “test period” transitions into the serious business stage..

  8. Menno, video larger than 320×240 has to be scaled down and saved to 320×240 before transferring to the iPod. You can do this with quicktime pro.

    Full Screen Watcher: Wow, if you think that full screen is acceptable, well then, I guess you are easily impressed. I personally do not like seeing noticeable pixels and fuzz.

  9. I haven’t actually seen Apple’s implementation, but I’ve downloaded plenty of torrent videos at a similar resolution and they played back better than I expected on a 50″ widescreen. It was certainly watchable. I expect Apple’s codec to be cleaner and the audio much improved. It certainly is no HDTV and maybe I’m used to crappy cable reception, but I think for many people this will be just as good as a regular TV experience.

    I’m sure it will improve with processor speeds improve and bandwidth increases, but for a 1.0 release I think Apple has a very compelling architecture. The iPod can process MPEG4 (not h.264) at a better esolution and that’s because h.264 is very processor-intensive. H.264 is also much faster to download and it’s the download speed that concerned SJ the most.

    Be careful what you wish for. High res won’t play reliably on the iPod’s little processor and will take much longer to download and that would ruin the experience, woulddn’t it?

  10. “Sheesh, don’t tell Mr. Long that iPods can play the episodes not just on their screens, but on any other screens, too. Or that iTunes plays the shows without the need for an iPod at all.”

    Yeah, but I just bought a new 65″ HD set with 1080p, and while I think the local ABC affiliate broadcasts at 720i, it’s still positively a lot sharper than the 320×240 on the iTMS downloads…

    Even my TiVo, which down-records to 525 line NTSC, is still higher res, and it holds 240 hours worth of programming.

    Does this mean I would not buy them… Well, no, and in fact, I alredy have bought two episode of lost from last season just t osee what all the hype is about… Not sure I will buy anymore since the show didn’t really get me hooked, but that’s not the point.

    And will this hamper my buying the new iPod? Not at all… I have a nano which has satisfied my needs perfectly (and it has a couel scratches, but hardly noticable)

  11. Wow.. someone actually calling MDN on their sunny-side-up lies of omission! This place gets better all the time.

    Watching 320×240 video at “full screen” or on a TV monitor is going to look bad. I have not seen the iPod do this yet (I don’t think anyone actually has?) but I work with a lot of digital video and even big pieces of hardware that stretch small video to fit large screens do a pretty poor job. You can’t invent data where there was none.

  12. I downloaded and played an episode of “Lost” on the first night just to do the research for my Apple investing. The quality on my 20″ LCD monitor in full screen was acceptable. Certainly, it was no worse than standard TV and probably better. The sound was excellent. It downloaded in less than 10 minutes over a cable modem. For a first iteration it’s “good enough”. How well does WMV do this operation (after you’ve spent an hour downloading software and configuring it)?

  13. Crouching tiger says:

    “If I pay $1.99 for a music video, do I have any way of extracting just the audio out of it for a playlist? If I buy a song I can do what I want with it, why shouldn’t I have the same access to the song playing during a video?!?!”

    1. No. 2. Because you are not buying an AAC audio file, you are buying an MPEG-4 video file. hence the name music VIDEO.

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