Apple TV, iTunes, iTunes Store: BusinessWeek’s Wildstrom blows it

Apple Store“Apple’s laudable [Apple TV] effort to simplify video downloads by running everything through iTunes leaves too much good content out in the cold,” Stephen H. Wildstrom reports for BusinessWeek.

“Although the iPod approach to music has come in for criticism, especially from European antitrust regulators, I think it has served consumers well. The iTunes Store is the only online source of purchased iPod music, but this does not limit customers, since nearly anything you can buy online can be gotten from iTunes. And the record companies have effectively forced all online stores to price tracks at 99 cents, just like iTunes,” Wildstrom reports.

Wildstrom reports, “The video world, by contrast, is fragmented into incompatible sources and formats. (I’ll be examining the digital video mess in more detail next week.) The $299 Apple TV set-top box, designed to move video from your computer to your TV, can only play movies and TV shows from iTunes. That adds up to about 400 movies from Disney, Paramount, and Lionsgate and a couple hundred TV series. There are thousands of other shows and movies you can download from other sources, but they haven’t been licensed to Apple, so you can’t get them from iTunes. Unless iTunes becomes a universal source for video, as it is for music, Apple TV’s simplicity and convenience will require unreasonable trade-offs.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Joe Architect” for the heads up.]
Before you examine anything more about digital video next week, Mr. Wildstrom, you should learn what the heck you’re typing about first.

Some hints:
1. iTunes does not equal iTunes Store.
2. Apple TV content does not have to come from Apple’s iTunes Store. (Extra special bonus hints: rip dvds, P2P, video podcasts, home movies, etc.)

We’ll leave it at that for now, Mr. Wildstrom. We wouldn’t want you to strain yourself trying to understand anything beyond the absolute basics.

BusinessWeek and Wildstrom should be as embarrassed as we are for them.


MacDailyNews Note: Apple TV specs:
• Video formats supported: H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): 640 by 480, 30 fps, LC version of Baseline Profile; 320 by 240, 30 fps, Baseline profile up to Level 1.3; 1280 by 720, 24 fps, Progressive Main Profile. MPEG-4: 640 by 480, 30 fps, Simple Profile
• Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps); protected AAC (from iTunes Store); MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps); MP3 VBR; Apple Lossless; AIFF; WAV
• Photo formats supported: JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PNG
• Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz

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  1. I have played with the AppleTV for a few days now. I was suprised that the unit would not play most file formats from the internet (DivX, XviD, YouTube, etc.). I understand that these formats compete with Apple’s iTunes video offerings, so it makes sense. My PS3 is also greatly limited as to the video formats it supports (Sony Pictures).

    I purchased VisualHub to convert almost any format to a compatible file for the AppleTV. It is not a big deal.

    I think the techies with do the same as I did.

  2. This moron doesn’t realize that you can rip your own CDs to listen to on an iPod I’m sure as well. How uninformed idiots like this even get a job in their profession in the first place, muchless stay hired for longer than a week, I’ll never understand.

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong, but rip DVDs? You either already own it, so ripping makes no sense, or if you’re ripping a borrowed DVD using handbrake or another ripper, you’re violating copywrite law. Am I missing something?

  4. RC: “How uninformed idiots like this even get a job in their profession in the first place, muchless stay hired for longer than a week, I’ll never understand.”

    Morons like him, and the vast majority of the so-called journalists out there these days are hired by overpaid morons commonly referred to as Executives. Less than 0.1% of “Executives” actually deserve their jobs, and none of them like informed talented people working for them that can see through their inability to do, well anything.

  5. DasGeek (or anyone with an Apple TV):

    Have you tried watching a downloaded TV show through Apple TV? And, if so, can you try turning on the closed captioning feature of your TV set to see whether or not iTunes passes along the closed-captioning information (normally embedded within the regular TV signal).

    I know that QuickTime does not allow the display of closed captions, but I’m hoping that iTunes passes the information along to the TV set…


  6. jay: “…if you’re ripping a borrowed DVD using handbrake or another ripper, you’re violating copywrite law.”

    Like that has ever stopped anyone thus far? People can download pristine DVD quality films weeks before they are ever released onto DVD to the public… The film studios have been blaming the Academy members for this, but closer inspection indicates that many of the leaks are occurring before review DVDs are sent to academy members, and weeks before release to the general public. So, it’s fairly clear that the leaks are internal… probably disgruntled, underpaid worker-bees who are sick of seeing talentless executives getting paid millions whilst doing nothing.

  7. Well, the Business Week guy has it right on this point: iYunes video downloads look like crap on a big screen HDTV and Apple is doing itself great hard with this first impression of Apple TV.

    Perhaps Apple should have waited until the studios were willing to allow downloadable HD content. Still, this alows Apple to stretch the online system and work out the kinks bfore HD comes…

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