Apple’s ‘hobby’ poised to disrupt entire movie rental industry

So far, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has described Apple TV “coyly as a ‘hobby,'” David Zeiler blogs for The Baltimore Sun.

“One thing Apple has proven in recent years is that it often can succeed where others have foundered, such as with the iPod or its chain of retail stores. Solving video over the Internet is exactly the sort of challenge Apple relishes,” Zeiler writes. “Apple now can put its experience as a video vendor to use as it crafts the most user-friendly option for consuming video over the Internet.”

“The move to rentals makes complete sense, and probably was inevitable. In the years Apple has dabbled in offering video downloads, it has learned that fewer people want to own video than do music,” Zeiler writes.

“The deal with Fox shows Apple is serious about getting video right. The content, according to the Financial Times of London, will be new. It will be encoded with Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management software, but it should play on Macs, iPods, iPhones and on a TV via Apple TV. In other words, users will be able to watch the rented video pretty much on a variety of devices, unlike other services that restrict the user to a single device,” Zeiler explains. “Apple is even licensing FairPlay to Fox for use on its DVDs. This will allow the video to be ripped legally to a computer for transfer to a video-capable iPod or iPhone.”

Zeiler writes, “The millions of handheld video-capable devices Apple has sold over the past few years surely supplied a major piece of leverage in securing this deal. In the case of the iPhone and iPod Touch, one could download the content directly to the device through iTunes. What studio wouldn’t want a piece of this action?”

“Apple isn’t far from having a killer video strategy. It has most of the pieces in place already. It just needs to bridge the gaps and then integrate those pieces as only Apple knows how,” Zeiler writes. “Then watch how fast Apple’s ‘hobby’ disrupts the entire movie rental industry.”

Full article – recommended – here.

37 Comments

  1. “but it should play on Macs, iPods, iPhones and on a TV via Apple TV. In other words, users will be able to watch the rented video pretty much on a variety of devices”

    Since I use a Mac, I do not have 1st hand experience, but with iTunes, will it not work on window’s PC’s

  2. Apple’s ‘hobby’ poised to disrupt entire movie rental industry

    Now all what the world needs is more than 1-2 movies a year that are worth a sh*t. Enter Disney/Pixar?? Unless of course Apple can do the video answer to iTMS’s selection, and carry nearly every movie ever made.

    Just hope Apple has the bandwidth ready for when new releases come out…

  3. “In the years Apple has dabbled in offering video downloads, it has learned that fewer people want to own video than do music.”

    Finally, someone who recognizes the situation for what it is.

    No “Apple has failed at…”

    Or “Apple was forced to…”

    They’re simply learning as they go along and that’s why Apple TV was a hobby.

  4. Perhaps the great convergence that has been talked about for years has finally come to fruition thanks to Apple ingenuity and their understanding of the customer’s needs. If they can just overcome the greed of Hollywood perhaps they can make this work !

  5. I am sounding the death-knell for Blockbuster and Netflix. Movie Gallery is already on its way out.

    On another note, Fox has just secured the best way for people to still be interested in buying DVD’s for the time being. Why just spend 25% of the price of a DVD on renting a movie to watch on the go when you can own the move + bonus material + iPod/iPhone/iTouch/”Apple” TV (sorry — posting from a PC — YUK!) hard copy of the movie formated already (no need to download and/or use Handbrake et al to copy to any device). I cannot imagine why other movie studios wouldn’t jump at the chance to be on this bandwagon.

    Plus, you no longer have to produce physical copies to sell at discounted rates to Blockbuster/Netflix — just collect your revenues from Apple on the downloads without the additional expenses.

    Benefits to the customers? No waiting for the mail, driving to the store, or having to choose another title because there are no more copies of the desired move at 9:00pm on a weekend at the rental store.

    I will gladly bump my ISP speed for this…

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