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Apple + Movies = They don't quite get it (yet?)

September 12, 2006 5 comments

By now, you’ve probably heard – Apple is finally providing DVD resolution full-length movie downloads. Better yet, they have a set-top box arriving in Q1 2007 and it sounds like it’s close to perfect. It’s not going to try to be some crazy media-center that replaces your DVD player and your TiVo and everything else. Instead, or so we hope, it’ll just focus on finally bringing downloadable content into your home theater.

But there are a few gotchas in the picture. The biggest one is so obvious, I can’t believe Apple hasn’t thought of it. Let me break it down, even though you probably already get this. Everyone gets it – but Apple.

  • Most people like to buy or subscribe to music, not rent it. Why? Because you listen to your favorite songs hundreds and thousands of times.
  • Most people like to rent their movies. Why? Because you don’t watch the average movie more than once, and even the above average movie more than a few times. Only an exceptional few really get watched over and over again (Disney, luckily for Apple, happens to generate a ton of these with their children’s movies.)

So where on earth is the humongous-rental-store-in-the-sky that’s open 24/7 for us?

People love pay-per-view because they get instant gratification. People hate pay-per-view because the selection sucks.

People love Netflix because the selection rocks. People hate Netflix because they don’t get instant gratification.

Does it really take a rocket scientist to see what Apple’s pre-announcement today should have been? Apple’s codename iTV should really be the “$299 24/7 gigantic rental store in your living room” device. Hopefully Netflix does it right and then Apple will see the light.

Oh, and what’s up with Dolby Surround in the downloads? Dolby Digital has been around a long time and it’s the de-facto standard. Why go with an ancient surround format?

PS – I know this is shameless, but if anyone from TiVo reads my blog, I’d dearly love to beta test the Series 3. We’d like to get SmugMug working on it. šŸ™‚

EDIT: Wow, what timing. Series 3 is available for purchase today. Already ordered mine. Thanks TiVo!

Categories: business, smugmug
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