"It's the *pictures* that got small."
All right kids, let's talk some tech, shall we?
As I'm sure you've heard by now, Apple has introduced a new iPod that plays video. Fairly or not, Apple's getting a lot of press over this new Pod. Sure, they're certainly not the first to put video playback on an mp3 player, but since they command about 70% of the market, they get the press...that and Steve Jobs' being the celebrity that he is. Check out this review of the 30 gb model. They seemed pretty happy with the results, video-wise. The new iPod's screen is sharp enough that stuff looks decent on it even if it may suffer when played back on a standard TV (using an adaptor cable) or on a computer. Besides the new video feature, we also get a larger hard drive on the low end model (30gb up from 20) and a skinnier form...oh yeah, they also offer it in black, which floats my boat. Up close, the new Pod is very cool. It looks larger than the old one, but isn't. This is mainly due to the larger display. They also dropped Firewire from the new iPod; USB 2.0 only.
I guess besides the cool fact that the new Pod offers more bang for the same buck, is the question of whether one wants to watch video content on a deveice such as this. I don't have one of these to try (yet) but I can't imagine the experience of watching anything significant on this thing to be a good one. Maybe if you were on a treadmill or something and had this thing right in front of you with a sitcom...that might work. Movies? Sounds pretty silly to me. The other issue is that battery life is limited to 2-3 hours when playing video (14 hours playing music). A portable DVD player or laptop would seem to be a better option for those who spend their lives airborne.
Another bit of interest surrounding this is Apple's move to offer TV show downloads via iTunes, $1.99/show. There isn't much there, just a handful of titles, but it's an interesting first toe in the pool. I could see this business model's attraction...here's an example:
A couple of weeks ago, we had a huge rainstorm and during it, we lost our satlellite TV signal for a bit. Alas it was during Gilmore Girls, a show we normally record with the trusty Tivo. That night we didn't get the episode and would normally have to wait until some unknown point in the future to catch it. Luckily we did get to see it the next day, but I had to go seek it out on the Internet. Sure, I got it but it was a minor pain in the butt and if I could have easily downloaded it from iTunes for $2, I would have done it, no hesitation. Sure, I usually wouldn't do it (that's what the Tivo is for), but for those times when you just have to have it, it would be really nice to do so. So we'll have to see how far this goes. Will people download shows for $2 that they aren't allowed to burn to DVD (annoying limitation, IMO)?
For right now, it makes far more sense to buy a TV show on DVD than download it. Better quality and features make it worth it if the show is important to you. But what if you could download the whole season of a show at high def quality with the same features for the same price? Sure it isn't here today, but it isn't too much of a stretch to see it coming...if the networks and studios are willing to go along.