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  • The Mac Hardware Report: A Real iPod Video? Not for Me!

    January 5th, 2007

    I want to tell you that I have tried hard to enjoy movies on my 5G iPod. Indeed, when Apple first began to release movie downloads, I culled through the modest list and actually purchased a flick. Nothing special, just “Grosse Pointe Blank,” a 1990’s comedy/adventure with John Cusack that I had enjoyed previously.

    I downloaded my new purchase to the iPod, and spent a few moments evaluating the picture quality for an article, and then put the gadget away.

    Later, when I wanted to check out an iPod/TV interface box, I again took it out and actually watched the film from beginning to end, plus some scattered videos I had accumulated over the previous months. After that I returned the iPod to its case. As days passed into weeks, I listened to my music collection on a pretty regular basis, without returning to videos.

    It is a few months later and I thought about it real carefully. Yes, I had talked about the subject of a real video-oriented iPod with a larger screen and perhaps a touch interface on my tech radio show, The Tech Night Owl LIVE. But I promptly forgot about the subject pretty much as soon as the show concluded.

    On a few occasions, I would take a brief look at a few moments of a video and return to the music. The realization slowly dawned on me that I prefer watching movies on TV and certainly in a movie theater. I have a fairly decent collection of DVDs, and there are certain films that I see more than once, which is why I bought copies in the first place.

    The iPod? Well, I suppose if I were on an airplane and had nothing better to do, I might think otherwise. But I don’t fly all that often; maybe a few times a year at the most in recent years. The frequent fliers in our audience might think otherwise.

    What about in-flight movies? Well, the tiny screen makes it difficult to get immersed in the plot, and, again, I only do it as a distraction when I can’t find anything useful to read. These days, I bring my Bose Quiet Comfort 3 headset with me, so I can use its noise-canceling feature to silence the drone from the engines and try to get a little rest. It sometimes even works.

    So would a larger screen on the iPod make my change my tune? How big can the screen get in a diminutive package? Even if you could turn the iPod on its side, and a widescreen filled the length and breadth of the device, would that be sufficient to attract my interest?

    The Mac rumor sites and the tech pundits have been talking up a true video iPod for quite some time now. It’s even possible Apple will introduce such a device next week, and also announce more partnerships with the movie studios that have so far remained on the sidelines. In fact, I will greet such news with no particular surprise. After all, it is only logical, and Apple has already telegraphed that sort of marketing direction simply by making movie downloads available, and preannouncing the iTV media streaming module.

    I’m not even going to rant about the limitations of current movie downloading schemes, such as the inability to burn a copy onto a DVD and play it on the family DVD player. That shortcoming is so obvious, so blatant in fact, that you wonder about the movie studios and whether they truly believe they’ll somehow fight movie piracy that way. I don’t know what they are drinking and smoking, but they need to get into rehab real fast!

    As for me, I don’t pretend to believe that I expect you to agree with me about the best medium on which to watch a movie, or even a TV show. I realize that lots of you do download your favorite TV episodes, and you sometimes even buy a season pass. Perhaps it makes more sense for TV programming, since it’s limited to about 44 minutes for an hour show, and half that for 30 minutes. At least you don’t have to manually skip past commercials when you see the replay.

    Now I know that many of you will think I am just an old fashioned sort. It is very true that I grew up in the final days of double-features at the local movie theater, and before multiplexes claimed the landscape. But I’m as happy to adopt a new technology as the next person, when it makes sense.

    So do movies on an iPod make sense to you? Do you plan to go out and purchase a model with a larger screen if it comes to pass? Or am I in good company here?

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