Well what is Apple going to do with iTunes now. With the recent addition of the AppleTV to the product line you have to wonder if Apple will put 720p content into the iTunes music store, Its tough to say and there are a few things that Apple needs to deal with before they can go ahead with it.First of all they have to deal with compatability with their current iPods. I’m not sure if there is quite enough horse power in the current iPods to decode 720p H.264 video so that would make things difficult already. How would Apple decide to display their content on the iTunes music store. One of the key aspects of the iTunes music store is that you just download it and it works. You can play it on your computer and your iPod with no trouble but when you throw this new format into the mix it confuses people. I will know that if I download an AppleTV version it won’t play on my iPod but I don’t think my mother would.
The only thing I could think of is that Apple released the 5.5 gen iPod with a fast enough processor to handle the 720p content and they decided to phase out the older 5 gen iPod. This of course would upseet many users who would like to download content for their iPod, so of course this wouldn’t make sense. Maybe Apple will decide to have two buttons next to everything: High-Res and Low-Res the problem is of course as I mentioned earlier that would confuse some users.
Now that we have absolutly no conclusion about those problems, confusion and video compatabilty, we deal with file sizes. Not only is this going to be an issue for Apple who has to host this content but for customers who have to keep this content on their hard drives. Even though hard drives are getting bigger and bigger, we are also dealing with bigger and bigger file sizes making things difficult for many users. If you do the math a video encoded for the AppleTVs maximum quality at a length of 2 hourse will be about 4GB of video. That is quite a lot. It is about 1/10 of the total size of the AppleTVs hard drive. Not to mention that it would take about about a day to download that big file for most of us in the US with terrible bandwidth.
Let me throw this scenario at you, the iPhone can handle the same video size as your AppleTV, it might be able to we don’t know. You of course because of the high price of the iPhone went with the lower end 4GB version. That means if you wanted to watch a movie on your iPhone and that movie was 2 hours long, that would be all that you could fit onto that iPhone. How would this work, would Apple allow you to download two versions of the video or would that cost extra? will the 720p version cost extra? Will iTunes ever go high-def? These questions will be answered and since the AppleTV was “designed for widescreen televisions” I think we will get answers soon.
I’m am hoping that we will see 720p content in the iTunes music store, but I think that they will be movie rentals and after 5 days iTunes will automatically deauthorize and delete the file unless you tell it that you would like to re-rent the movie. I would assume that the price would be much lower for a rental and iTunes will, for some, become the Netflix replacement.