Video rentals on the Apple iPod - iVideo

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Video rentals on the Apple iPod - iVideo

Apple iVideoThinkSecret, the guys sued for revealing Apple secrets, is at it again with a rumored Apple video rental service in the works that will allow you to rent videos for download to a video iPod. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is rumored to announce the availability of movie rentals on iTunes at next month’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Although carried on the iTunes site, I wonder if this means they'll call it iVideo? According to ThinkSecret, Apple has agreements with Walt Disney, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros, with others in the works.

Unfortunately, it appears that Hollywood and the movie studios have gotten their way with a strict rental model that forces the video download to expire using DRM (digital rights management). Whether or not the video expires after a certain date or after a certain number of playbacks remains to be seen. I'm not one for expiring content - unless it is heavily discounted - otherwise I'd rather purchase the content outright even if it costs a little more. I should point out that it doesn't cost the movie studios hardly anything to distribute their copyrighted material over IP, so they should be able to heavily discount video rentals that are downloaded. But don't count on $0.99/movie (ala iTunes music) downloads - that's just wishful thinking. (Note: iTunes currently offers TV show downloads and other video content, but currently not movies)

MovieLink offers digital downloads/rentals as well as the ability to purchase and own movies. CinemaNow also offers movie downloads - even HDTV versions, as does MovieBeam. So what Apple is doing is nothing new. What they bring to the table though is the ability for users to easily access digital media all from their online iTunes store. They truly bring a rich user experience that makes it easy to purchase music and "soon" movies. Still, I'm betting that Holywood will still place a high premium on movies and TV shows that will force users to get their video content for free on P2P sites such as Bittorrent, eDonkey, etc. Until Hollywood finally gets it and offers movie & TV downloads for a reasonable price, they will suffer the same Napster effect that finally brought about the inexpensive $0.99 music download (and lower).

I wonder how successful Apple has been with their current video downloads on which offers TV shows for just $1.99? I doubt Hollywood will allow $1.99 for movies - or if they do, you probably only get 30 days to watch the movie.

Also, really Apple should rename iTunes to iMedia or iEntertainment if they're going to expand into video and other content. Hmmm, better go check and see if those domains are taken.

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