Apple Business Entertainment

Euro video iTunes spring launch

the Apple iTunes logoIt seems like an age has passed since Apple started offering music to the masses from their iTunes Music Store. If you’re a European like me, it seems like an even longer time between the launch of the iTunes Music Store and a more international offering, allowing Europeans to buy and download music, too.

The same can also be said of the iTunes Store video offering, which has seen a similar delay between a US launch and an international roll-out:

“Apple is set to launch its online video sales service in Europe this spring with Luxembourg as its base of operations, said Jeannot Krecke, Luxembourg’s economy minister.

It is not clear which European countries will receive the service, but what is clear is that Krecke’s Tuesday comments revealed Apple’s plans.”

However, for me personally, I can’t say I care all that much for the video offering of Apple’s iTunes Store.

Between the limited video size and the relatively high price, I’ll be holding out until a more sensible proposition of commensurate proportions come out of Cupertino.

To be fair to Apple, it’s not their fault but the fault of the movie studios, who’re keen to cripple their product but still charge more for what is effectively less:

“Along with the television shows, you can also buy music videos and short films for $1.99 each; they’re smaller and thus faster to download. The videos are 320 by 240 pixels in size (the same resolution as the new video iPod), so don’t expect to watch DVD-quality presentations.”

Much to my frustration, I wasn’t able to pin down an article I read some months ago hinting of a possible deal between Apple and the BBC which would offer up a large portion of the BBC video library to the world.

What was both refreshing and fair, as well as being entirely expected, was the proposal to ensure that all of the BBC’s video content would remain free to the British public but require a fee for everyone else.

After all, we the British are the ones that have paid for the production of said video content, so it would hardly be fair to charge twice.

“Currently the TV shows are accessible only to United States customers, probably due to licensing agreements. It’s too bad, since first run television shows from the United States would be wildly popular in countries that must normally wait months or years for the shows to air locally. Some BBC shows from the United Kingdom would undoubtedly enjoy a similar popularity in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the BBC aren’t waiting on Apple and have been making their own arrangements with other service providers to allow their content to be got at on-line:

Azureus, the BitTorrent client software developer, has announced its first content distribution partnership. BBC television shows and original productions will be distributed to users of Azureus’ new Zudeo file-sharing service in the United States.”

Similarly, competing British TV stations are keen to join in on the fun:

“[The] Channel 4 head of New Media mention that they were in talks with Apple for something, and being a TV company I’m assuming it was this.”

But there’s no mention of whether Channel 4’s content would be free or subject to a fee. Though I’d imagine it’s the latter rather than the former.

For the viewer, this opens up all kinds of possibilities, some of which side-step the likes of PVR technology all together, which is a talking point in and of itself.

All change, lots to think about .. so stay tuned!

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

4 replies on “Euro video iTunes spring launch”

I, personally, have been waiting with gleeful anticipation for something other than music videos and short films (which can be found on some of the Disney/Pixar DVDs anyway) to be available on the iTunes Store — I doubt very much I’ll be buying scores of feature films or TV shows but for the odd film or programme you wouldn’t normally consider buying on DVD it’ll be handy to be able to snap them up on a whim. Plus, there’s always the freebies …

At the moment, tho’, I still prefer the “buy the CD/DVD and rip it to the hard drive” approach. But, the more secure my hard drives get (mirrors, backups etc.) the more inclined I’ll be to lean towards the fully digital (and less boxes!) approach.

(This comment has taken me over 5 attempts to post — Google/Blogger is shite!)

Hi Tim!

I still like the actual physical product in hand. That’s something I’d miss, and currently miss with my music bought through the iTunes store.

“(This comment has taken me over 5 attempts to post — Google/Blogger is shite!)”

But you persevered, so I suppose I should be flattered…

Hi, thanks for linking to my article. I just wanted to point out to you that itunes video downloads are (and have been since the 5.5 was announced) at a res of 640×480. They look as good as standard SD broadcasts on a TV.

Hi Edward and thanks for posting.

Downloads of video have been available to US customers for some time, yes, along with music videos which are available to the rest of the world, but not the feature films and TV stuff.

It is the rest of the world and specifically Europe in this regard that’s of interest to me.

Thanks again…

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