Technology Review’s Daniel Turner takes a look at the speculation running up to next week’s Macworld Expo and covers the usual rumors: Intel-based iBooks, Intel-based PowerBooks, new iPod shuffle; you know, the usual rumors. But, one of Turner’s notions is interesting (they’ve got quite an eclectic mix of writers over there, it seems):
Last fall, Apple refreshed its all-in-one iMac line and debuted Front Row, a piece of software that hijacks the usual Mac UI and replaces it with a simple interface — easily visible on a TV screen from the couch — allowing for presentation of photo slideshows, home movies, music, purchased TV show downloads, and movie trailers. The last item is the most interesting: if Front Row can stream movie trailers from Apple’s website, why not whole movies?
“If Front Row can stream movie trailers from Apple’s website, why not whole movies?”
We just tried, for the heck of it, running Front Row on an old 450 MHz Power Mac G4 via a cable modem (approximately 1.5Mbps). We chose a random movie trailer and it streamed very nicely. Very watchable on a rather large LCD. Imagine if Apple somehow jacked up the encoding a bit? Anyway, backing away from the monitor a few feet (like you probably would at least be positioned to relax while watching a movie) helped even more. (Close up, things like a yellow #2 pencil in a medium shot of an actor registered pretty high on the pixelation scale. But, from only a few feet away, it was more than acceptable. Can you guess which trailer we watched?)
Full article here.
What do you think? If Front Row can stream movie trailers from Apple’s website, why not whole movies – after you buy them of course, or – dare we say – subscribe to Apple’s service? Could Apple manage the bandwidth demands and deliver as perfectly smooth an experience as we just had with the trailer we tested? It’s fairly obvious that Front Row 1.0 is a test; a test of many things, but is one of its most important tests for Apple to see how well streaming content works?
[UPDATE: 8:49am ET: See related article: Apple Computer sues Burst after negotiations over iTunes, iPod licenses breakdown – January 06, 2006]
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