Andy Ihnatko: Purchasing movies via Apple’s iTunes Store makes no sense to me

“True, there are many things about life on this massive wetball that I haven’t figured out yet,” Andy Ihnatko writes for MacUser.

“But I’m pleased to say that I’ve got this home movie-watching thing down cold. Most of my movies come through Netflix,” Ihnatko writes.

“And when I like a movie enough to actually buy it, I have all the tools I need to enjoy it relentlessly. Mercilessly, even. A new DVD is handed off to my iMac and the soothing ministration of HandBrake before it ever sees the inside of a DVD player. The app spits out a QuickTime file that’s as close to the original DVD’s image size and quality as makes no difference. Then it goes on a big hard drive with all of the other movies and TV shows I own,” Ihnatko writes.

“I can watch the movie in my office. I can watch it on any machine on my home network, including a box that’s plugged into my big TV in the living room. Most of these big QuickTimes will even play on my iPod without any conversion whatsoever, but I can beat the holdouts into submission with iSquint,” Ihnatko writes. “QuickTime Pro can transcode a new copy for my smartphone, or produce a soundtrack-only edition that I can listen to on my iPod nano during my morning constitutional. With just a small amount of effort, I truly have a ‘Rip Once, Play Anywhere’ solution for video.”

Ihnatko writes, “So thanks for the effort, Apple… but frankly, I’m hard-pressed to spot a gap in my regime that an iTunes Movie Store can truly spackle… online movie purchases — at least as articulated by the iTunes store — still makes no sense to me.”

Much more in the full article here.
Many good points, but Ihnatko’s “small amount of effort” still seems like a lot of work for “Average Joe.” What Apple’s iTunes Store offers above all else is convenience.

Related articles:
Analyst: two major studios seen joining Apple’s iTunes Store – October 10, 2006
Disney’s remarkable 1st week iTunes movies sales should have studios clambering aboard Apple train – September 20, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006
Apple debuts iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006


  1. What I can’t believe is that Andy Ihnatko actually admits in print that he’s stealing copyrighted material! Netflix is not a rent-to-rip service Andy! It’s a rental service and then you buy it via Amazon, Best Buy or whatever your favorite DVD retailer happens to be and then you have the right to rip it to your HD and keep it! Man the balls on this guy!

  2. Unfortunately, iSquint is a very instable app, and has always failed after a few days working. I tried reinstalling, updating, permissions, whatever, it simply stops working afetr a few days. I gave up on it…

  3. ehhm, well, I hardly was able to follow Andy. I bought few movies already on iTunes. The process seems very easy: I see a movie I like, I click buy, I watch it.
    I have it on iPod so I can carry it around with me and watch it on TV, I have it on my computer, I can watch it in the same places as you Andy.

    More than enough for me. Thanks Andy, but I do not have the time you apparently have to go through what it takes me a one-click process.


  4. This article highlights the low Read Comprehension score amongst the MDN readers (or at least the posters). Ihnatko clearly stated that he would rip the movies that he buys. Anytime anyone writes anything remotely anti-Apple, all gloves are off. And they wonder why people call us zealots…

    And BTW, I agree with MDN’s take on this one. The same can be said about music. You can buy CDs and rip them into iTunes. But most people who buy from iTMS do it because they don’t want to deal with that.

  5. Read the damn article!!!!!!!!!11

    “And when I like a movie enough to actually buy it, I have all the tools I need to enjoy it relentlessly.”

    You don’t even have to read the whole thing. Open your eyes! He’s not doing it with his rented movies.

  6. I think what he is saying is he uses Handbrake on the movies that he likes enough to buy, not on the NetFlix movies.

    However, it is still technically not legal to rip a DVD, even if you buy it. That’s why iTunes doesn’t have that feature.

  7. Joe SixPack:

    It’s really not difficult. I use Mac the Ripper and DVD backup all the time. No, it’s not a one click solution but I prefer DVDs b/c I’m a special features and commentary junkie. Plus with rips I can leave a burned copy in an accesible location and not worry that my roommates are going destroy my original. I do the same with CDs.

    Can you burn an iTunes movie to DVD yet? I don’t want my roommates rummaging through my computer and possibly deleting important photos and files.

  8. “What Apple’s iTunes Store offers above all else is convenience.” Yes, but at what cost? The value proposition for movie downloads, for many of us, simply isn’t there. One can buy a DVD offering higher resolution and numerous extras for a price comparable to iTunes or less, and use as one wishes.

    TV offerings, in contrast, are – at $1.99 – an impulse buy. Buy just the episodes you like. (BTW, I’m still waiting for iTunes to carry short lived but well liked series like UC: Under Cover and Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.)

    Finally, I want the next release of iTunes to allow us to “import” videos just as it does with music. I already own two seasons of Due South that I’d love to carry in my laptop.

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