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Digital Video Content

I know from past experience, that Apple really is not interested in pretty much anything their users have to say.  They dictate, and we meekly accept whatever they deign to allow us to do.

But at least for the short term, there is a huge problem (from a consumer standpoint, not so much for Apple) with the way they are making video available.

Video on the iTunes store is HUGE!

I was in Vegas on a business trip.  The hotel I stayed at had pay per day Internet, and it was per device and was not WiFi. I brought my Verizon MiFi with me, so opted not to pay the $14 per day for in-room Internet. This was fine for everything except getting a new movie on my iPad for my trip home.  My trip home was going to take 10+ hours, and I would have actually preferred 2 movies, but there was a problem with that.

Video on the iTunes store is HUGE!

I watched Iron Man on the way out, so I decided to get Iron Man 2 for the trip home. There is an Apple store in the Forum Shops at Ceasars, so I went over there with my iPad, connected to their WiFi and bough the movie.  The movie is 4 GB! Actually, I knew that, and had deleted a LOT of content of my iPad to make 4 GB free, and knew that there was no way, my 13 GB iPad was going to be able to hold more than one movie, and that even if it could, I wasn’t going to want to hang out at the Apple store long enough to download 2 movies. As it was, it took over an hour to download the one movie I bought.

In order to make room for the 4 GB movie, I deleted some music and 5 movies I had ripped from my DVD collection and compressed down to ~700 MB.  They looked fantastic on the small iPad screen.  4GB for a ~2 hour movie on an iPad screen is WAY overkill.

But, as I said, Apple doesn’t care. If the movies are big, then people will buy bigger iPads, and over time, the movies will not get any bigger, but memory will come down, so this is only a temporary problem.  But, it IS a problem.  Just not for Apple, so, you know, they really have no reason to fix it.

Except. Except. If the movies were smaller, I would have definitely bought 2, and I might have bought 3 or 4.  I was going to have enough time on my trip home to watch that many. To be fair, I could have bought the SD version, which was only 1.83 GB, and was $5 cheaper, but then, when I got home, I would not have had the HD version to watch on my AppleTV.

Here’s the thing. The iPad only has a resolution of 1024 x 768.  And even at that resolution, the relatively small screen means you can get away with a lower resolution and not really miss anything.

I ripped The Ides of March from DVD at 867×368.  For my Apple TV I used a 2500 kbps bit rate.  Then I ripped it again at the same resolution but at a 921 kbps bit rate for the iPad.  It looks great on the iPad and only takes 704 meg.  Even my 2500 bit rate looks great on my 46″ HDTV and is only 2.3 GB.

It would be great if Apple would offer different size movies for download for one cost, or even allow users to re-encode video they have downloaded to different bit rates.

I don’t see that happening, because, apparently, Apple knows that we don’t really want that.

Categories: Apple, Computer, iPad, Movies, Video
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